Earlier this month, we took a look at the recent Samsung rebranding situation that has occurred in Japan: the OEM’s logo was nowhere to be seen on any of the promotional material for the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, nor could it be found anywhere on the devices themselves. In the weeks that followed, the story was picked up by not only Korean media sources, but the Japanese media as well, not to mention countless tech sites.
While Samsung has only offered commentary to the effect of the name game being a desire to market the “Galaxy” brand, the problem is largely seen to be one of market share in Japan:
Since the original story, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have released, and suffice to say, the rebranding issue is far larger than it initially appeared. First, let’s take a look at the in-store “Galaxy Store” pop-up corners that exists in Japan:
The first image (1) is an example of the prior incarnation of the Galaxy Store. While the Samsung logo wasn’t exactly prominent, it could still be found on all product accessories, and on the Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab S units and such on display. The next picture (2) shows the current design. The colors have been changed, and the new Galaxy logo is everywhere. The third picture (3) shows the product display: at the store this image was taken at (Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku), all prior Samsung products have been removed entirely. The final picture (4) shows the Accessory Corner.
Curiously enough, the only place the Samsung name actually appears is on the unsold old Accessory merchandise. These can be seen in the second picture (2) just below the giant orange “au” logo. One might assume these products are there only because devices like the Note Edge and various Galaxy Gear devices are still being sold by carriers (such as “au”).
Moving on, let’s compare the official cases:
Just for reference purposes, images (1) and (2) show the official Samsung Japan Galaxy Note Edge Flip Wallet; note the Samsung logo is present on both the packaging and the actual accessory itself. The next pair of images (3-4) show the international Galaxy S6 Edge Flip Wallet: note the presence of the Samsung logo on the packaging as well as the accessory. Also note the manufacturing information in picture (3) clearly indicates Samsung.
Images (5-7) show the Japanese Galaxy S6 Edge Flip Wallet. Note the removal of the Samsung logo and redesigned packaging. Image (6) in particular is interesting for it simply lists a “Galaxy Customer Center” for customer support; nothing of Samsung. The final image (7) shows how the actual branding on the case has also been altered.
Finally, let’s move onto packaging:
The left image is shown for reference: the standard Galaxy S6 Edge box with Samsung branding. The right image shows the Japanese Galaxy Note Edge box which, despite the phone itself being devoid of Samsung’s logo, still used the company’s name on the box. The image below is the Japanese Galaxy S6 Edge box, complete with the OEM’s name removed.
Finally, take a look at a video from Samsung Japan’s rebranded YouTube page:
The publisher has been rebranded as “Galaxy Mobile Japan”. Not exactly surprising given the previous topics covered, but still good indication of just how all-inclusive this decision has been. Also worth pointing out: the company’s Facebook page, as well as its Twitter account, also reflect the change.
With this bold new direction, it remains to be seen just what will happen to Samsung’s Japan market share in the coming months. The rebranding, coupled with the release of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, might just be enough to change the tide in the Korean giant’s favor. Bolstering the potential is the appointment of a new COO last week, as well as the fact that no new domestic (Japanese) mobile phones have released in the past few months that might otherwise deter sales. Even the controversial Sony Xperia Z4 has yet to receive a release date.
While the decision to market everything as “Galaxy” in Japan might come across as a shock, consider that Samsung doesn’t have any other mainstream consumer products for sale in the Land of the Rising Sun. No computers, no printers, no televisions, no refrigerators… the Galaxy products are, for all intents and purposes, all it has to offer. With this in mind, it will be quite interesting to see what is to become of the upcoming Galaxy Gear VR, which will actually release in Japan on May 1st.