Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 disaster continues to make headlines, in the wake of the company announcing it will cease production of the dangerous phablet. Yes, the Galaxy Note7 is dead, but the fact raises an important question: what does this mean for the future of the Galaxy Note brand?
Contrary to what some people might think, Samsung’s biggest problem right now isn’t actually losing billions, but the huge blow it took to its reputation. So will consumers be able to trust Samsung products from now on, most importantly future Galaxy Note products? It’s quite a delicate matter to consider.
Right now we’re in the middle of a giant which hunt, where major tech news outlets are throwing rocks at Samsung for being a lousy company that allowed products as dangerous as the Galaxy Note7 to go on the market. But, let’s face it all this hype will probably blow off in a few months, once the sensational wears off.
In the meanwhile Samsung needs to get at the bottom of the problem, figuring out once and for all what is it that made the phones go up in flames. Having a solid explanation to offer for why the handsets overheated, should be Samsung’s first step towards regaining customers’ trust.
Next, there’s the issue of what Samsung is supposed to do with the Note brand and everyone has an opinion on the matter. Well if you ask me, the handset maker could try putting off the launch of a new Galaxy Note phone for a few years, or re-brand whole lineup, giving it a new, squeaky clean name. But there’s another – very drastic – alternative which involves basically killing off the entire brand. It’s a route the company might take if it wants to set some healthy limits between the Note and the S phone lines. But why would it want that?
There’s no doubt the Galaxy Note7 disaster will have repercussions on existing Samsung products and even upcoming models from different lines. For the time being the Korean tech giant, it’s doing its best to keep its other Galaxy premium line away from the scandal. But it’s not easy.
You see the average consumers just think of Samsung premium smartphones as “Galaxy” handsets, they don’t really differentiate between the S Galaxy and Note lineups. Samsung is well aware of that, so it has been sending messages to Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge owners to remind them their phones are safe and should not be returned.
This jumbled up perception might become a negative influencing factor when people go out to buy a new Samsung smartphone or upgrade from the S6 or lower. In a few years, all people will remember is that Samsung released a faulty Galaxy phone at some point, which means the stigma will be inherited by the whole Galaxy lineup. Consumers will keep away from Galaxy phones, just to be on the safe side of things.
There are some who believe that in order to keep the premium Galaxy S brand from sinking alongside the Note one, Samsung should just kill off the Galaxy Note brand altogether and focus on the S family.
For example, the Korean Herald run an article saying Vice Chief of the Korea-Insight Institute, Kim Duk-jin believes Samsung will be better off without the Galaxy Note. He claims the brand will always be a reminder of the huge blunder that happened in 2016.
For its part, the Korean tech giant is trying its best to keep its customers from leaving. The company announced it is now offering $100 credit to Galaxy Note7 users willing to return their phablet and opt to get another Galaxy phone (like the Galaxy S7) in return.
By contrast, those who have had it with Samsung and wish to migrate to another smartphone brand are to be awarded only $25 when they dispense of the faulty phone. Samsung hopes this offer will be enough to keep disillusioned Note7 users hooked to its products. And it might be.
You see, Samsung has an important thing going for it – its products have become so deeply ingrained in the everyday life of its users, some of them might have quite a hard time making the transition to another, unfamiliar brand. We’re not talking pure brand loyalty, but the force of habit is a powerful energy at play in the human psyche.
All in all, it’s still remains to be seen whether Samsung will go so far as to kill off a lineup that has proved to be very popular with consumers over the years or if it will choose to bet on customer’s capacity to forgive and forget. I’m voting for the latter, since I don’t really believe obliterating the Galaxy Note brand from existence, will magically restore consumer fealty. Samsung needs to find another way to keep the Galaxy S name clean while pushing to redeem its phablet lineup.