PRODUCT INNOVATION: Samsung, LG, Thermocool Flex Cooling Technology Muscles
IN today’s technologically inclined world, Samsung, LG and Thermocool, makers of household electrical appliances are leaving no stone unturned in unearthing mind-blowing refrigerator brands with the aim of outwitting one another. With the advancement in technology, consumers are beginning to demand more from technological devices like smartphones, computers, tablets and other electronic gadgets that have elevated human interface capabilities.
Before the advent of technology, the Nigerian consumers of refrigerator had hinged their brand choice largely on the durability, affordability and market reach of brands. That trend has gone with the wind as the design, hi-tech offering, state-of-the-art feature and other breakaway brand solution apparatuses have become the unique selling point for modern-day brand owners. Product innovation has become a vehicle of demonstrating brand innovation, differentiation and consumer insight.
Brand analysts have termed the ensuing brand war within the refrigerator segment of the household appliances as a three-horse race. Those who have not been able to match the technological firepower of LG, Samsung and Thermocool must have missed Jack Trout’s marketing homily that brands who fail to differentiate would inevitably die. Evidently, it is instructive that brands can only survive in today’s hyper-competitive and technologically woven environment only by accentuating its advantageous difference. And from all indications in the refrigerator market, it seems the die is cast.
Marketing gimmicks notwithstanding, LG, Samsung and Thermocool are in the race for garnering a sizable volume of market share within the refrigerator segment of the Nigerian market. Samsung Electronics West Africa was first to sound the alarm of technologically-driven refrigerator when it unveiled its new Bottom Mounted Freezer refrigerator which is powered with a Digital Inverter Compressor.
This new refrigerator, which cooling speed is automatically adjusted when temperature fluctuates, produces reliable energy efficiency and strengthens durability. The Digital Inverter Compressor abandons the “on/off” approach in favour of an “always on” style of temperature management. The compressor in Samsung fridges is constantly monitoring internal temperature, gradually slowing or speeding up as needed in order to maintain equilibrium.
In a sharp reaction to Samsung’s Bottom Mounted Freezer USP, Haier Thermocool, a subsidiary of PZ rolled out its range of refrigerator that efficiently tapped into the infrastructural deficit of low power supply in Nigeria. Apart from the incessant power supply and electrical outages that have become a source of concern for the government, stakeholders and consumers, the incidence of low power voltage has also limited the business possibilities of refrigerator owners in Nigeria. Hence, it did not come as a big surprise that Haier Thermocool has decided to plug into this hole with the ultimate aim of revving its brand equity and relevance in the Nigerian refrigerator segment of the market. It must also be stated that the three year warrantee services compressors designed for low voltage condition and colour options is capable of endearing the brand to discerning consumers.
Also, LG has been quick to incorporate voice commands in the markets. Leading the way in voice command technology, LG Electronics has once more demonstrated that it is committed to introducing progressive technological products that delights as well as address the peculiar needs of its teeming consumers.
However, competition in voice command technology is fierce worldwide, especially in mobile phones with other alternative voice activated personal assistant field brands well ingrained in the public’s awareness.
Speaking with The Guardian on behalf of their respective companies about some of their brand strategies, representatives of LG, Samsung and Haier Thermocool outlined their product road map and ideational framework in the highly competitive Nigerian market.
Product Manager, Refrigerators, Samsung Electronics, West Africa, Mr Manmohan Chandroth, stated that, “at Samsung, we pride ourselves on always thinking ahead to what consumers will need, and our new Bottom Mounted Freezer Refrigerator thoughtfully delivers on providing real solutions with unprecedented technology, durability and design.”
He added: “In addition to small temperature changes that come from frequent door openings, we also thought about situations in which a home’s electricity supply may be unstable with spikes and power cuts. This will damage a refrigerator over time. And if it breaks, it causes a huge amount of stress and takes significant time, money and effort to fix or replace.”
Marketing Director, Thermocool Engineering Company, Vikramjeet Singh, also explained that their marketing strategies are skewed towards consumer need and marketing research.
“We believe that as the market keeps changing, consumer needs also keeps changing. We need to give the best to consumers all the time. One of the major needs the new product will be solving is the issue of power because it is one of the major concerns we have in Nigeria. The Nigerian consumers need appliances that can withstand the low voltage supply,” he said.
He reiterated that with the cost of electricity, petrol and the need for faster cooling, new features are being incorporated into these products.
“By introducing Haier Thermocool refrigerator, we are bringing in global expertise to the products. At the same time, we keep in mind that the product has to be designed for the Nigerian consumer and specifically perform under the conditions in the Nigerian environment. Before the introduction of any new product, we do proper testing, free sample to consumers and get their feedback on the brand,” he added.
Commenting on the achievement of LG Electronics in the Nigerian market, the General Manager, Home Appliance Division, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Mr. Hyunwoo Jung, said: “Today’s busy consumers need appliances that help to make their lives easier and more convenient. With a strong commitment to excellence and technological innovation, we will continue to bring home appliances to market that enrich peoples’ lives.
“This topical feat is an attestation to the fact that worldwide, more and more consumers are discovering the many benefits of the LG Door-In-Door refrigerators.