When I came to India in February 2009, the mood was sombre and the consumer sentiment at a low. I remember dealers in Delhi and Mumbai telling me then that the LCD customers were going for a size smaller than they normally would, given the uncertain economic situation. I realised then that in this market situation we needed to be proactive—we had to think of a strategy that could give our consumers a reason compelling enough to come out and buy.
At that time, Samsung was getting ready to launch LED TVs in global markets, and so I told my team, "Let's do a big launch for LED TV in India." We launched the LED TV with a lot of fanfare—we advertised heavily, held dealer meets, created huge displays for LED TVS at dealer counters. I wanted the market to feel the excitement of the LED launch and I think we succeeded in creating the buzz. We followed it up with an aggressive slew of innovative and leading technology product launches—Full High Definition LED TVS, touch screen phones, netbooks/notebooks. Our thrust on the touch screen segment, too, worked: we are the market leader in that segment in India today. That was the marketing side… the visible side of the company.
Within the company, we focussed on better risk management and operational efficiency, while improving our market sensing and forecasting ability so as to efficiently manage our supplies in the market. And we didn't hold back on investments in R and D marketing and new product development.
However, through all this, one of my most important priorities was to keep the employee morale high. We decided to let each business head share with all the employees their unit's performance during our employee meet…We wanted the employees to feel secure, confident and involved—and I think the employee meets made a lot of difference. I used the employee meets to share our business goals and best practices and at the same time engage and motivate our employees.
Our organisation has done very well this year, in spite of the slowdown, because of the responsiveness and ownership of our employees. As we move towards 2010, I go with the confidence that learnings from this year will certainly help us move ahead faster even as we see signs of the economy picking up and the markets reviving.
— Jung Soo Shin, 55, is the President and CEO, South West Asia, Samsung