SHENZHEN – Huawei is looking to introduce more consumers to its brand as it ramps up competition against premium rivals Apple and Samsung.
On Tuesday, Huawei Consumer Business Group CMO Glory Zhang said consumer awareness of the brand is on the rise, but still has a way to go to catch up with Apple and Samsung. Despite an increase of 11 percentage points from 2014 to 2015, Huawei’s brand awareness currently stands at 76 percent globally, compared with 98 percent for Samsung and 93 percent for Apple, she said.
Zhang also said increasing consumer familiarity with Huawei products will be important for Huawei going forward. Though it rapidly increased consumer familiarity from 49 percent in 2014 to 61 percent in 2015, Zhang said the company still lags behind Samsung’s 93 percent and Apple’s 85 percent ratings.
According to Zhang, a lack of awareness and familiarity with Huawei’s brand and products are two of the main barriers cited by consumers who did not plan to buy a Huawei device. Among that group, 35 percent said they didn’t know enough about Huawei products, while an additional 32 percent said they haven’t experienced a Huawei device.
Rather than campaigning for individual devices, Zhang said the company is looking to promote its brand as a whole to bring Huawei to life for consumers. Zhang said Huawei this year “really serious” about buildings its brand and telling consumers more about its “company truth.”
Zhang said part of the brand plan will include new marketing initiatives that have been revamped to be more playful and flexible, but declined to give further specifics. When pressed on Huawei’s specific plan to raise awareness in the United States market, Zhang said only it was a question of timing.
Huawei’s focus on branding comes as it looks to become a more formidable player in the global premium smartphone market. According to Zhang, the percentage of mid- to high-end devices sold by Huawei grew from 18 percent in 2014 to 31 percent in 2015.
On Monday, Huawei’s rotating CEO Eric Xu said the company is hoping to turn itself into the first Chinese high-end consumer brand within a decade or less.
“Up until now, China has not yet produced a high-end consumer brand,” Xu said. “Therefore we want to take that as a mission, and hopefully in the next five to ten years we can do that.”