Interview

Samsung Drives Innovation- Managing Director Samsung West Africa, Idorenyen Enang

Managing Director Samsung West Africa, Idorenyen Enang

Something that attracts you to Idorenyen Enang the helmsman at Samsung West Africa is his smile. The marketing guru and an unrepentant optimist before his appointment at Samsung, was the Commercial Director of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, in charge of both the marketing and sales division.

Idorenyen commenced his career in Elf Nigeria Limited as an Assistant cost controller, from where he joined Guinness Nigeria Plc and had responsibilities for Market Research and Brand Management. Key highlight of his career in Guinness was the launch of Satzenbrau Lager in 1995.

In 1997, he moved to Coca-Cola North Africa Division, Coca-cola Southern & East Africa Division, occupying roles such as Country Marketing Manager, Strategic Planning/Business Development Manager, Executive Assistant to the President and Franchise Manager, East & Central Region.

Fondly referred to as IDY, by friends and colleagues, Idorenyen, is an active member of various professional associations, including Nigerian Institute of Management and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He sits on the Board of various organizations and is a member of Ikoyi club 1938. Idorenyen is a golfer who also loves traveling, watching movies and playing chess. He is also actively involved in various community development programmes.

An experienced Economist and Marketing Practitioner with varies experiences in Marketing, Sales and Operations, Enang holds an MBA in Marketing and a Bsc (Hons) in Economics

He has had various developmental experiences in Brand Management, Strategic Marketing Management, Project Management, Business Strategy & organizational Redesign and Leadership Development.

In this exclusive interview with Kehinde Olesin, IDY sheds light on the challenges, innovation, grey market, Samsung West Africa sales outlook and many more. Excerpts…

New challenges

Challenges make you better, decent and special because your ability to wade through challenges gives you better understanding. It builds your capacity and muscle, and you stand out in your own little cluster. Specifically, though on the question, electronics are still consumer goods, of course in a different category. There isn’t a difference as much but the difference comes in terms of the value. Value in the sense that; I used to sell Coca-Cola, Guinness, Bournvita. You cannot compare the smallest flat panel television which will be in thousands of naira to a case of any of these. The value is very different. I think the first challenge is talking about the business model, the supply chain dynamics of that model and the bigger picture which is being reliant on foreign exchange. In FMCG you rely on foreign exchange not as much as what we are facing now. You know you can and have your ingredients in for six months and then you produce and manufacture and roll it over, and lock deals with some of your good suppliers but that doesn’t work in electronics. This is because we have to come through the ports, the naira value at every given time, upsides, and downsides in the market. So, the challenges are all embracing.

Samsung Innovations

The good news is that it’s a very interesting industry. There is also the mode and technology and Samsung is actually the driver in terms of innovation. Last year globally, we spent about 8 million dollars on innovation. You can imagine what that does to our market, whether it’s on our mobile phones in terms of our smart phones or others. We have sold over 10 million units. In real sense, when you come to televisions, air conditioners, home theatres and even our laptops are of world class. Today we are the first company in the world to launch a solar notebook. We have a solar notebook; no other company has done that. Everybody can say the same thing, but they cannot be different, they cannot be special, they cannot be better than Samsung. So, that’s the challenges with moving the pace of technology. On our televisions alone, we opened the frontiers from LCD to LED from LED to CD, HD and today we are talking about smart televisions, that is, our internet enabled television, which we are going to launch very soon. So every year there is something new in the kitchen and every six month there is something new. For example we have eco mobile technology for our washing machines. It has been adjudged as the best in the world. The eco mobile technology allows a housewife to be the best she can be doing her chores and the same time being a useful mother and also be useful to herself.

More exciting package

Our internet enabled television is ready, I mean the D series. At our last Africa forum we took all our stakeholders, the media the customers and some others to Nairobi and across Africa. We showed them the D series. By the second half of the year it will be ready in this market. We have a particular model called the D403, that particular one is unique because it was specially built for Africa and it has an inbuilt stabilizer. You don’t need UPS and all other things that prevents power surge. It’s the special model built for Africa and it’s really what Samsung is doing now, having inbuilt for Africa products.

Samsung’s interest in Nigeria

You haven’t seen anything at all about Samsung. We are yet to bring out all the best in our stable. I am sure you have seen some flashes but trust me in no time our goal is to paint Nigeria and Africa blue.

West Africa sales outlook

The West Africa coast line  is what we call Trade Liberalisation, when that happens when you provide a hawk strategy, your intent to provide service at a proper field and in doing that the supply chain dynamics have to work well to enable the backing work well with the fronting. What I am saying in essence is that the value at stake in Africa alone of which West Africa to a large extent is a big business made and all. The West Africa region is key and there is no multi-national that does not know that to have a definite presence in West Africa you have to take Nigeria into cognition. Ivory Coast used to be a very big market. I remember the days I was in Coke; there were a lot of businesses operating in Ivory Coast. Also, a lot of regional offices were there too, but unfortunately the wars have ravaged that country as people have migrated out of Ivory Coast. Now with the economic challenge in Nigeria, the biggest market now is in Ghana because as they are migrating out of Ivory Coast, businesses are going into Ghana. Electronics market is huge but Nigeria is still the biggest market in West Africa and my responsibility is primarily in Nigeria. We have the other secondary market which we call the tier market. These include, Ghana, Cameroon, as the second tier. Sadly Cote d’Ivoire is out of the league and then we have Togo, Benin our French speaking West African countries. Actually as a business in Africa, Samsung just started last year. We have our regional office in South Africa. We have our revenue of over a billion dollars in terms of what we have done in 2010.

Grey market

The issue of fake or substandard Samsung phones getting into the market is not the responsibility of Samsung that is why we have the customs. We have fake campaigns that we have done in  countries like Zambia and Ghana. More importantly, outside the fake campaigns, we also have a warranty. So if you buy a Samsung product whether it’s a mobile phone or a television, whatever you buy has 12 months warranty in this country. Now, if you go to Dubai and buy a Samsung product and gets bad in Nigeria and you take it to your service centre we will not touch it. That alone will make people understand that it’s an international brand. The terms of operations and the service you get has to be instituted in the country. We have a good service infrastructure and there are rules of engagement, we have a serious warranty. We have a 0800 Samsung number where you can call in for our service team.

Social media

We have a site, and last year we won the award of the most business site. For our mobile business, we are actually very active and we are going to meet a lot more. If you go to facebook, you would actually find the Samsung mobile on it.

Samsung’s brand ambassadors

If you are looking out for brand in this industry that has style it is Samsung. There is no single brand that has the style, the design, the innovation, our premium value and the character itself Samsung. Look at the artiste we signed on as our ambassador. He is endeared towards the youth and a big population that has a style. If am going to tell a youth that Samsung is about style, I will show what style is.. That is why we are using what is the best way to show the style. The ambassador of Nigeria in UK is the face of Nigeria in UK. So the face of style  is not Samsung but Banky W. Again, with Samsung which brings the Sam and Sung comical series you don’t have that balance only with Banky W and that is where Sasha comes in. The reality, is human being brings out the message, so there is a message about Samsung Mobile. Samsung Mobile needs to come out so people will understand that Samsung is not only about TV, other things are in the market. So if great care is not taken mobile gets lost. We realized that the link between Samsung and mobile is not as strong as people think about television and other appliances. So we need some distillation that creates relevance and differentiation so Samsung Mobile is driving the pedestal of affinity with Sasha and just to be able to bring out Samsung Mobile.

Samsung consumers’ focus

Samsung Real Dreams has affected many Nigerians a great deal. I think what Samsung has done over the time is not shout over the roof tops. People that are really serious about initiatives like this do not make noise. Right away, there are some of our distributors and partners that Samsung took for health check in top hospitals in the world. In the last one year real dreams partnering with Lagos business school is setting up an engineering academy which we are about to put in place. Samsung real dreams involve students and people who desire to be professionals in their desired field, but don’t have the finance to do such. In Africa we have a Samsung Engineering Academy in Nairobi and its coming to Nigeria. In terms of community service there are so many things we are putting in. There are also some Nigerians who have been taken to work in Samsung University in Korea, one of such person is coming back this year, and he has worked in Korea for 18 months. There are 2 of our distributors that have facilities where they actually assemble air conditioners, televisions, refrigerators and offer job employments.

Nigeria advertising outlook

It’s growing but there is still a lot more to be done. I was elected in the World Federation Advertisers as a Vice President for Africa months ago. Today, when you look at the field of advertising, I think Nigeria has made some good strives. Everything is about self regulation which has started happening here in Nigeria. There are a lot of things that we are doing but which we have not being enforcing but where the world is, is where we are. We have actually done some tips and bounds but it’s the last part of it, the enforcement which is what is coming to the fore now. You find out that once you have a good regulation and everybody is on what should be and what shouldn’t be and then there is self regulation from the inside, the practise will get a lot easier. The final thing in advertising is to make it a standing profession. I am part of the industry I don’t have anywhere to run to.

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