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Volume 24 No. 176
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Samsung's Brell Claims Best Marketing Becomes Engaging Content To Consumers

Samsung Chief Engagement Officer Werner Brell kicked off the ’17 Stadium Sports Marketing Symposium by saying that marketing in its best and purest form ceases to be advertising and instead becomes content that is deeply engaging to a consumer. The former Red Bull and MTV Networks marketer opened the event by detailing how the electronics giant seeks to become a storyteller with its audience. “The perfect ad at the right time in the right place isn’t really an ad but engaging content,” Brell said. “The idea is to go from a monologue to a dialogue, and that’s hard because it means giving up control. But it also grants you permission to become integrated with the daily lives of your customers.” Among the specific tactics that Brell and Samsung have employed of late is shifting its sports marketing priorities somewhat away from large league-level partnerships to athlete-based relationships such as the one it holds with The Players' Tribune and Seahawks CB Richard Sherman. “[A league deal] had its place when we came back into this [mobile] market a few years ago, and it helped build awareness that we were back in a big way,” Brell said. “It did a great job for us. But now that everybody knows us, how do we become relevant in the culture?” Also critical to the company is developing an effective social media team that represents the youngest talent in the company. “Your social team should be the youngest team in the company,” he said. “They know what’s in, what’s coming, and what will die soon.”

GO BEYOND THE BASICS: Brell also stressed the need, particularly in technology, to go far beyond outlining product features to detailing how those features will benefit users’ lives. “What does your brand stand for? Your product stand for? What is your human truth?” he said. “Technology can make our lives better, but you have to explain those benefits and how it helps goals get achieved.”

* Brell said he was unconcerned by the rising level of athlete advocacy on political and social issues, a trend that includes Sherman among many others. “Everyone has the right to express themselves, and that’s how we view it. Authenticity comes from giving up control, and letting Richard be who he is.”

* On favored social media platforms: “We use them all, but it’s all based on different objectives for each.”

* On the career aspirations of young adults: “30 percent of Generation Z aspires to be a YouTube video creator as their dream job. No longer are they dreaming of being CEO of Samsung.”

* Brell never referred to chief smartphone competitor Apple by name, calling it only the “other phone company” or the “different smartphone.”