Samsung’s new ‘inside man’

This article was written by Asina Pornwasin for The Nation. Published 6 July 2010. I were interview by a senior reporter of The Nation. Just want to copy and place it here for my record 🙂

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Giant Korean mobile manufacturer Samsung has created a new staff position in Thailand and appointed an online marketing manager specifically to oversee the local online marketing of its smart phones.

The move follows Samsung’s decision to place additional emphasis on its smart-phone business this year, with the aim of becoming the market leader in Thailand. Its sole strategy for achieving the goal is to involve itself in online communities, which it expects will become the main marketplace for smart phones.

The new position has been accepted by Jakrapong Kongmalai who, until recently, took a major hand in driving the expansion of Southeast Asia’s large online community as Yahoo!’s community manager in the region.

With his three years of experience as a mover and shaker in the six-nation online community of Southeast Asia, Jakrapong, 34, is expected to manoeuvre Samsung’s smart phones into the thinking of all online citizens considering the purchase of a new handset.

He admits that it will not be easy to create brand awareness for Samsung in a huge and borderless community where tough competition is part of the environment.

“My job is to build up an online presence for Samsung mobile that will eventually lead to sales. It is very challenging job because smart-phone users already have their favourite brands. My job is to try to convince them to change their minds, and to favour Samsung smart phones,” Jakrapong said.

The key tools to help him achieve his mission are the popular and powerful social networks, Facebook and Twitter. Already, Samsung Electronics (Thailand) has established a presence at http://www.facebook.com/samsungmobile and twitter.com/samsunglover. It’s Jakrapong’s job to whip up a community within the two sites.

“Marketing in the current era demands that companies should provide as much meaningful information to customers as possible, but without a sales pitch. We become the customer’s friend, always providing help when it is needed,” Jakrapong said. “We don’t restrict ourselves to the social networks. We’re also connected to all kinds of online communities, such as Ning.com and online news agencies. Online communities are borderless and they are connected. This is the key channel through which we can get in touch with our customers.”

There is not much difference between his new position and his former role with Yahoo! Southeast Asia.

He spent an entire three years as an active member of the interconnected online communities of Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. His responsibilities were taking care of three of Yahoo!’s main products. Yahoo Answer (th.answer.yahoo.com) is an online question and answer community platform. Yahoo Groups (asia.group.yahoo.com) is an online community that allows users to create their own groups, and Flickr.com is an online photo-sharing community.

Under Jakrapong’s management, the three communities have not only been successful over the past three years, but he claims they have also grown by 300 per cent per year in that time.

Jakrapong also worked previously at Thailand Yellowpages (Yellowpages.co.th) and Manager Online (Manager.co.th). He has also developed two successful online communities of his own: Singtip.com, a social network for Thais living in Singapore, and Aussietip.com, a similar social network for Thais living in Australia.

Using his years of experience in international online communities, Jakrapong is confident he will now be able to build the brand image of Samsung mobile in the minds of Thai consumers.

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