With new phone due, Samsung dials down on safety message

Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:16pm EDT
 
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By Se Young Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - After the damaging recall of its fire-prone Note 7 smartphone, you could be forgiven for thinking Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS: Quote) would make a song and dance about battery safety in its new flagship phones, due to be launched in the United States on Wednesday.

But in the run-up to the launch, crucial to the South Korean technology giant winning back consumer confidence, its marketing effort so far makes little mention of safety.

"If you talk about safety, it presupposes a rationale for why, unconsciously, and they know this; and they also know the media will pick up that narrative," said Los Angeles-based Eric Schiffer, a brand strategy expert and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants.

"Highlighting the safety issue at this point will cause the other narrative to be recycled, so they have elected to suppress and hope."

Samsung declined to comment ahead of the launch.

To be sure, Samsung announced a comprehensive safety plan after concluding in January that faulty batteries from two suppliers caused some Note 7s to catch fire.

It now has an eight-point safety check protocol that includes x-raying the batteries. And, at the design level, phones have more room to properly house the battery. Such steps have been reflected in the S8's development, the company says.

Executives have said there will be no repeat of the Note 7 debacle, and one person familiar with the matter told Reuters the S8 launch was pushed back to ensure it is safe to use.   Continued...

 
People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Samsung logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.     REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo