6/14/16

Q&A: How Samsung Embraced Innovation to Become a Global Master of Brand Marketing And earn Cannes' Marketer of the Year honors for 2016 By Noreen O'Leary

 Even Samsung's top marketing executives like Younghee Lee admit it wasn't long ago that consumers thought of the company as "boring and monotonous," a geeked-out marketer working with a little-known ad agency affiliate in an electronics world transformed by sexy brands like Apple. Fast-forward to June 25, almost two decades after she joined the Korean electronics giant, and it will be Lee—a stylish, former L'Oréal and Lancôme exec who now runs Samsung's mobile business—not its engineers to accept Samsung's honors as the Cannes Lions' Creative Marketer of the Year.
With good reason, too. Last year, Samsung took home 27 Lions, contributing to an overall historical total of 74 awards (more than any marketer in the last five years) at a marketing organization being transformed by top nontech practitioners and creative powerhouses including Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Wieden + Kennedy. Those shops were recently added to roster agencies like Leo Burnett, 72andSunny and Cheil Worldwide. Lee, evp, global marketing, mobile communications business, recently spoke with Adweek about the changes underway at a company that has not only toppled Apple as the dominant mobile handset brand, but is also now challenging consumers to use their phones with new connected devices like refrigerators and software services. Here's an edited transcript:

Adweek: How has the Samsung brand evolved from a tech-driven engineering company to a consumer-centric lifestyle brand?

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