Pretty And Functional: The Z Flip Phone
An interview with Soyeon Jang, Executive Vice President of Brand Marketing, Samsung Electronics
The ‘Z Flip 3’ contributed to Samsung Electronics’ mobile sales of 100 trillion won last year. That’s ust under $84 billion in US$. The exact number has not been disclosed, but it is estimated that more than 10 million units were sold last year in the industry. The Z Flip 3 showed how stylish a smartphone can be to those who are tired of the one-size-fits-all design. Basically, it is thanks to the well-made foldable technology, but it is also a victory for brand marketing that reads consumers' longing for a pretty phone.
We met with Samsung Electronics' Brand Marketing Group 1 Manager Jang Ji-yeon and heard the story behind the marketing.
What did you pay most attention to in marketing the Z Flip brand?
In addition to the innovative technology of foldable, we tried to focus on the stylish design and the consumer experience that only the Z Flip can provide. This is because we wanted to convey the meaning of innovation to consumers rather than technological innovation itself.
What is the meaning for consumers?
“Why do I have to fold it?” seems to be the most frequently asked question. It is difficult to exchange a few words with the person who asks like that if you only talk about technology. If we focus on 'what consumers can do with their handsets' rather than 'what terminals can do', we can talk more. For example, you can put it on a table and take pictures from various angles and make a video call, ‘you can pay with the cover screen without opening it’, ‘you can fold it and put it in your pocket’, etc. It shows what you can actually do. It focused on promoting the consumer experience provided by innovative technology, and consumers responded enthusiastically.
Foldable phones require technological innovation in materials and methods so that the display can be folded. In addition, other hardware components such as batteries and hinges should be optimized for foldable development. The Z Flip development team also worked hard to develop foldable-specific features such as 'Flex Mode'. He is said to have worked with various partners such as Google to optimize and build an ecosystem such as apps and accessories optimized for foldables. To make technological innovation useful for consumers.
Z-Flip skips the second generation and goes to Z-Flip 3.
With the release of the Z Fold 3, the product name was unified to emphasize that the Flip is also a 3rd-generation foldable phone. It is also part of the brand marketing strategy (which shows that there has been a remarkable innovation compared to the first generation).
The Z Flip 3 was selected as the Best Invention of 2021 by Time magazine.
In the smartphone trend of increasing screen size, it provided portability and a new experience while maintaining the advantage of a large screen. Since the foldable technology itself is an outstanding innovation, it may have been rather natural to focus on the technology of the terminal. However, in marketing, we tried to focus on what kind of experience the technology provides to consumers, not innovation for the sake of innovation. I am glad that it seems to have been linked to the evaluation of Time magazine as 'the first mainstream phone with a foldable display’.
From a marketing perspective, what is the most competitive edge of Z Flip?
Unlike other monolithic smartphones, it has an iconic design that draws attention. The moment you see it, it makes you want to experience it at least once. Once you experience folding, it becomes a habit, and you will never be able to go back to it.
Are you sure about the success of the Z Flip 3?
When it was first introduced to internal employees, the response was explosive. When doing an internal survey, there are cases where the color or design preferred by each generation is different. However, the Z Flip 3 was well received by all employees of all ages and genders. Of course, I was confident that it would be successful in the market as well.
What was the most memorable reaction?
The MZ generation created a new trend by decorating their smartphones in various ways that even the people in charge could not think of and sharing them on social media. Looking at it, it made me reconsider what kind of smartphone consumers really want. As it is the device we spend the most time with, I realized that it should be the means that resembles me the most and best expresses me. I am proud that the Z Flip has become such an item.
Source: Jeong Se-hee from The JoongAng