Samsung Vs Apple: The Battle of Smartphone Brand Marketing

There are two kinds of people in the smartphone era – those that have an iPhone and those that have other smartphones (read: Samsung). Of course, there are many other smartphone brands out there but Apple and Samsung often rule the charts. So, how did the world of smartphones become a duel of Samsung Vs Apple? What did these two brands do differently that they are always one step ahead in the market? 

Curious much? We’ll tell you. We love comparing such competitive brands because from such competition arise some of the most valuable marketing lessons. From the game plan of these brands to the ads they create, everything has something to tell marketers and other brands aspiring to make a difference in a competitive world. 

Are you ready to dive into the Samsung Vs Apple dispute to grasp a few marketing ideas? Let’s begin! 

How It All Started 

If we have to talk about “firsts” Apple takes the lead. The first smartphone from Apple, the original iPhone from 2007, created a buzz in the world of communication devices. Samsung’s first smartphone, the Samsung GT-I7500 Galaxy came only in 2009. 

If you have to compare the smartphone market share, back in 2009, Apple was at 16.1% and Samsung a mere 3.3%. The figures have changed over the years with Apple at 18% and Samsung at 23.4% in the first quarter of 2022. These changes indicate two things:

  • Samsung has made a tremendous amount of progress in the smartphone market 
  • And Apple has managed to remain nearly consistent despite the rapidly-growing competition. 

So, both these brands are worth evaluating if you are looking for branding and marketing inspiration. 

One thing you will notice in the Samsung Vs Apple comparison is that both these brands have very different approaches when it comes to marketing. They are both in leagues of their own. Given the differences in the business model and the target audience segment, the campaigns have also been very different. Let’s look at the marketing strategies of Apple and Samsung. 

Apple Marketing Strategies 

We have a whole blog on the strategies that have helped Apple become an icon in branding and building brand image. You’ll find it right here. But for now, let’s quickly look at a few things that Apple does differently when compared to Samsung. 

It’s always been about consistency 

Apple has continued to firmly hold on to its branding and marketing designs over the years. Have you ever seen two Apple ads and thought that they do not look similar? Probably not. Apple continues to be an example of maintaining consistency in branding. 

Apple’s packaging designs are great examples of this. We’ll show you how. 

This is the packaging design of the original iPhone from 2007

And this is a packaging box from recent times. 

Can you instantly tell that they are all from Apple? The boxes have been getting slimmer. But Apple retains its clutter-free minimalistic design. 

Now let’s look at some of the packaging designs from Samsung. Notice the visible lack of consistency in design. 

Samsung has smartphones in the premium segment and some models in the budget segment as well. But then when you cannot find a strong visual connection between them all, it is hard to make an impact. 

On the other hand, when you create a design and consistently deliver it to your audience for more than a decade, how can they forget your brand? And because of this, even from far, most customers can easily spot an iPhone box at a store filled with many other smartphone models. 

Kimp Tip: Consistent-looking packaging designs make it easier for customers to remember your brand. So, even if you have many product lines, customers will instantly recognize your brand on a crowded supermarket shelf. 

Want to create packaging that accurately represents your brand? Choose a Kimp Graphics subscription. 

Always believe in your brand values 

One stark difference between Apple and Samsung is that Apple has clearly defined values for its brand. Apple has always been about delivering quality over quantity, and about consistently delivering products that are “reliable”. And with all of its product lines, the brand has continued to hold on to these values. That’s why iPhones are still preferred over other phones when you have to choose a dependable primary phone. 

This has only been possible because of marketing designs that accurately resonate with the brand values. And product designs that deliver what they promise. 

A good example of this is all those images we see floating on the internet about celebrities endorsing other brands and then posting the respective Tweets from an iPhone. 

Why, even Samsung employees have been called out for posting their Samsung promotional Tweets from an iPhone. 

Samsung took the burn so badly that after the above Tweet, the Samsung Mobile Nigeria account was deleted.

What do we infer from this? People quickly point out such follies only because Apple has fans while most other brands including Samsung have customers. This is possible when you clearly define your brand’s personality and values and take measured steps toward conveying them to your customers. 

When you steadily build a strong brand, your customers/fans take your brand forward. And promote your brand in ways you did not predict. 

Need help aligning your branding and marketing designs with your brand’s personality? Book a call with the Kimp team now. 

Samsung Marketing Strategies 

Samsung has its own set of benefits in marketing and that’s why it has quickly risen to be a brand that rules the smartphone segment. If you look at the 4 Ps of marketing, Samsung has all four of them –

  • A great mix of products
  • Diversity in pricing 
  • A good amount of promotion across channels 
  • And you can buy Samsung smartphones from several places both online and offline 

Here are a couple of things the brand does to stay ahead of the curve. 

Strength in social media 

Social media is one area where Samsung is way ahead of Apple. You will find hardly any posts on Apple’s main Twitter page (though it actively does share content on Apple Music and other pages). And Apple’s Instagram page only shows the photos captured on iPhones. On the other hand, Samsung has a very active social media presence. 

From product announcements to building anticipation before product releases, the brand uses its social media pages in many ways. 

Samsung finds creative ways to market its products. There is no doubt there! 

Kimp Tip: Scrolling through the social media pages of Samsung Mobile you will see that the brand uses illustrations quite often. Illustrations are great to convey your message in a personalized way. 

So, want to create illustrations and illustrated videos to promote your brand and engage your audience? A Kimp Graphics + Video subscription is just what you need. 

Aim to create a sensation 

If you compare Samsung Vs Apple ads, you might see that most of Apple’s ads are mellow, and to the point. Samsung on the other hand often shows off its adventurous streak. From roasting Apple to challenging the common smartphone norms, the brand has its own style of creating content that people talk about. 

First, let’s talk about celebrity endorsements. Though Apple does partner with celebrities now and then, Samsung does it on a bigger scale. Not to forget the viral Oscar selfie featuring a Samsung phone, (and celebrities of course!)

Or this unusual campaign below. You will not guess what’s being promoted until the end. And that’s creativity at its best. 

Kimp Tip: When you have to create experiences or conduct promotional events as these big brands do, then be sure that you go full swing in establishing your brand designs. Print banners to flyers that communicate your message, signage that conveys the idea – there are many ways to provide a wholesome experience. 

A Kimp Graphics subscription takes care of all of these promotional print designs for your brand, plus the digital designs for social media promotions as well.  

When Samsung and Apple Collide Head-to-head – Ambush Marketing at Its Best 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard of the Samsung Vs Apple patent disputes

Well, these disputes actually grabbed more eyeballs and made the brands a little more popular. We’re not going to get into that. Anyway, when there are two brands headbutting in one industry, every marketing plan, and every campaign should be executed with caution. One small misstep and your audience will go to your competitor. 

All is fair in love and marketing warfare! Rivalry in the industry can be helpful in keeping brands on their toes, always looking for creative ways to stay a step ahead. But how exactly do you use it in marketing? Enter ambush marketing. Big brands that have been head-to-head for the “market-leader” position are known to adopt this strategy now and then. 

One thing we admire about Apple and Samsung is that they never shy away from taking a dig at each other. Samsung does it more often but then, truth be told, all these campaigns act out in favor of both brands. We’ll give you a few examples. 

When Samsung introduced a big phone

During a press conference, Steve Jobs, when questioned about bigger phones from rival brands, commented that big phones can help but “no one’s going to buy that”. Right at that moment, Samsung used this remark in one of its campaigns for the Galaxy Note 4. 

That’s what a good understanding of your competitors and a brilliant copy can do! 

In the hindsight, both these brands are now getting roasted since their phones are getting bigger with every release. And we all have seen the memes floating by. 

Leaving the dispute behind, we love the brilliance in the simplicity of this ad. The color scheme is in line with the colors used across all campaigns for promoting the Galaxy Note 4. And the handwriting style fonts connect with the idea that the S-pen was the USP of the Galaxy Note series. Despite the additional layer in the copy, the overall design still stays true to the brand and that’s one thing to remember when you create ads. 

Kimp Tip: When you create ads for ambush marketing, both your brand and the competitor should have made a strong visual connection with your audience. 

Just by using the logo colors or symbols and other cues, your customers should be able to recall both brands. And thus the meaning of the ad. Only then will your ad make an impact. In the above example, people who know nothing about the rivalry between the brands and about Steve Jobs’ remarks will not make any meaning out of the ad. 

Want to create a strong visual identity for your brand? Book a call with the Kimp team today. 

When Apple spoke about copying ideas 

Not one to miss out on all the fun, Apple created a print ad indirectly referring to the case of Samsung allegedly copying Apple’s ideas. This ad came out right when the patent war was still on. 

The above ad wins because of two reasons:

  • It talks about Apple going towards a greener approach. And ideas like these when advertised can truly strengthen your brand image. 
  • The clean layout and signature font instantly connects with the rest of the marketing designs that Apple uses. 

Kimp Tip: The above ad works because the core idea is great. But in terms of design, this one is a good example of keeping it simple and still making an impact. There is a brilliant hierarchy in this design and overall it appears well-balanced. The chunky bold font for the message in focus immediately draws your attention. The greenery, pollution-free clear blue skies, and the solar panels are enough visual cues to tell you that this is an ad that talks about sustainability. 

Similarly, when your design is straightforward and filled with visual representations of the idea, you can be sure that your customers will grasp the message within the first few seconds. 

Want to create such simple impactful ads for your brand? The Kimp team is here to help. 

Samsung Vs Apple – So Who Wins the Battle of Marketing? 

Truth be told, when you have to compare the volume of marketing efforts that the brands handle, Samsung has a slight edge over Apple. We also saw that Samsung has a bigger market share in the smartphone segment. But the brand value of Apple is 947 billion USD while that of Samsung is only 107.28 billion USD. Apple also stands ahead when it comes to revenue. Here are a couple of reasons for this difference. 

  • Apple has a more clearly defined brand messaging. And it has remained nearly the same over the years. 
  • Samsung smartphones are all over the place. There is a pretty diverse demographics that the brand caters to. But Apple on the other hand sticks with targeted marketing and wins at it. 
  • Apple is the epitome of a strong brand image. It is not enough to create a strong brand identity. You need your marketing designs like ads, branding designs like logo, packaging, and others to be coherent and visually relatable. People might mock Apple for not modifying its designs too much but most Apple users love the consistency the brand maintains. 

In short, in terms of marketing, both these brands do equally well. And they continue to be trendsetters in smartphone marketing. 

Create Competitive Marketing Strategies With Designs by Kimp

Want to face your industry rivals like a pro? And make heads turn like Samsung and Apple do, then sign up for an unlimited design subscription and take your marketing designs to the next level.

Register now for your free 7-day trial.