Porsche is a brand and the 911 model has retained its iconic look for decades. The same holds true for the curvy shape of Coca-Cola’s classic bottle design. Don’t look for iPhones in the future to change the overall shape and visual esthetics in the future. While Apple’s iPhone brand grows, one of Samsung’s brands is dying.
Just months ago I devoted both time and digital ink to drooling over Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7. What wasn’t to like? Note 7 was beautifully crafted and luxuriously appointed. It had an iris scanner for added security, the best smartphone screen that money could buy, a camera that bested the iPhone, and though it didn’t run Android’s latest, Nougat, this new Note was considered the best ever and took over as Samsung’s flagship device.
Political fortunes ebb and flow during a campaign, but major brands are supposed to remain for many years and stand tall as a symbol that heralds the value baked into an electronic product. Unfortunately, the years of effort and expense that Samsung devoted to cultivate the Galaxy Note’s brand has gone up in flames.
Literally. With flames.
For whatever the reason, a number of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 models have caught fire or exploded in a highly public disaster for the company. And owners. To be fair, the number is not a large number relative to the two million or so Note 7’s that have been shipped to customers– perhaps in the dozens– but the flames have been sufficient in number to bring forth bad press, viral videos and photos, a recall by Samsung and various cell phone carriers, and a ban from certain airlines. Even replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7s with batteries from different sources from the original batteries have also caught fire, and that has led to numerous investigations.
What’s the problem? What’s the solution? And what about Samsung’s Galaxy Note brand?
First, the problem isn’t really known but investigators are going beyond the batteries themselves. Perhaps there is another hardware problem in the devices. Perhaps it’s a software issue. An investigation may yield an answer and a solution, but meanwhile the brand suffers.
Just how bad is the Galaxy Note disaster?
I suspect Samsung may end up killing the Note brand altogether, partly because the company did not do a good job of handling the bad press, the viral videos, and certainly hasn’t found the cause and can’t have a fix until it does. Is Galaxy Note 7 dead? Perhaps. Brands that have suffered calamitous fates in the past have risen from the ashes and perform better than ever. Audi. Tylenol. Coke.
Even a few iPhones catch fire every year, though not in the number and frequency of Samsung’s recent Note fiasco. Who wants to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note now, especially since replacement phones have already begun to explode and catch fire. Maybe Samsung’s testing is not as diligent as Apple. After all, the company rushes more products to market more frequently than Apple. Maybe it’s just bad karma. What goes around, comes around, and Samsung doesn’t seem to mind taking liberties with truth and intellectual property that belongs to others if it suits the corporate suits.
Whatever it is, I think Galaxy Note is a dead brand.