Samsung courts UK groups to review product strategy

Korean electronics giant Samsung is reviewing its global product design strategy and is likely to appoint UK design groups for the job, Design Week can exclusively reveal.

Executives at Samsung held meetings with three design teams at its Seoul headquarters last week. Enterprise IG, Seymour Powell and The Partners – which is pitching in collaboration with Prospect – were all in the running. It is understood that this was the first round of a paid process, with the groups set to return to Korea next week for further presentations.

The consultancies have been briefed to look at the design principles of Samsung’s consumer electronics products, examining how a consistent strategy might underpin its portfolio. It is thought the project will focus on product design, rather than the company’s corporate identity.

A consultancy appointment is expected to be made next month. Given the range of skills offered by the three consultancies that pitched, there is a real possibility that more than one group may be chosen to handle different aspects of the work, according to one industry insider.

Paul D’Eath at Samsung Design Europe in London is understood to be handling the process from the UK, though he was not available for comment as Design Week went to press. Enterprise IG and The Partners declined to comment.

It is thought that Seymour Powell’s Foresight team, which specialises in future-facing brand development, is leading the consultancy’s pitch. Seymour Powell director Dick Powell already acts as an external consultant to Samsung, but was away travelling at the time of writing.

In 2004, Samsung appointed WPP, parent company to both Enterprise IG and The Partners, to handle its global advertising and media buying. WPP set up a dedicated unit, Team Samsung, to manage the work, which included input from Landor Associates. Enterprise IG global chief executive Simon Bolton – then head of ad agency JWT UK & Ireland –

worked directly with WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell on the successful Samsung pitch.

Team Samsung accounted for $410m (£216m) in billings for WPP in 2004, but Samsung withdrew a sizeable chunk of advertising responsibilities from the team only a year later.



SAMSUNG

• European product design centre, Samsung Design Europe, is based in London

• Global sales were $140bn (£74bn) in 2005

• 230 000 employees worldwide

• Second round of pitch presentations next week; appointments expected early December

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