Samsung could learn a thing or two from Huawei’s Ultimate Design sub-brand
Huawei has been on a roll lately after all of its troubles. The US led the way in ensuring that Huawei’s access to advanced technologies was cut. It also leaned on its allies to similarly restrict the company’s access to semiconductor technologies. However, the company has come out swinging in the face of adversity.
The company quietly launched the Huawei Mate 60 Pro last month with reports suggesting that a breakthrough in advanced semiconductor technology enables the device to offer 5G-level download speeds. Huawei would be hoping that this device starts turning things around for the company in the high-end segment.
Huawei has also launched a new sub-brand called Ultimate Design. It’s going to launch new ultra-high-end smartphones under this moniker. These devices will be a cut above Huawei’s normal flagship phones, so the company has decided to give them their own designator, though this is not the first time it has done something like this.
Huawei says that the Ultimate Design phones will use top-notch materials, powerful specs, and ultimate craftsmanship to provide a true ultra-high-end experience. The Huawei Mate 60 RS Ultimate Design is the first device to be released under this brand. The company was previously launching these devices under the Porsche Design moniker but has now decided to make its own sub-brand.
The Chinese tech giant is no stranger to sub-brands. It previously owned the Honor sub-brand under which entry-level, mid-range, and premium mid-range devices were launched. Huawei sold off the Honor sub-brand in November 2020 to a state-owned company controlled by the municipal government of Shenzhen.
We’ve also seen other Chinese OEMs rely on sub-brands to organize their lineups. They primarily use their main brand for high-end phones and launch secondary brands for mass-market devices. Huawei is going against the grain here a bit by focusing entirely on the best of the best with the Ultimate Design brand.
Samsung has never been a fan of sub-brands. It prefers sticking with the singular Galaxy brand for its devices. All of its devices, whether entry-level or foldables, are launched with the Galaxy moniker. Samsung has created several lines under the Galaxy brand, such as the Galaxy A, Galaxy S, Galaxy Z, but they’re all grouped together under that singular brand.
We’ve recently discussed how it seems that we are back to the days when Samsung used to flood the market with devices in all price segments. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy FE lineup seems like an attempt at device spam. As the footprint of its offerings continues to increase, the question arises, should Samsung create a sub-brand as well?
Given the immense brand equity behind Galaxy, it would make sense for Samsung to retain it for high-end devices, such as the Galaxy S flagships and the Galaxy Z foldables. However, isn’t the Galaxy brand being diluted by an entire range of “Fan Edition” smartphones, tablets, and earbuds that exist ostensibly for reasons that include getting rid of excess component inventory?
The same could also be said for the countless mass-market devices in the Galaxy A and Galaxy M series. By launching a sub-brand that focuses on these segments, Samsung could adopt a two-pronged approach to the market. The Galaxy brand would ultimately become synonymous with top-of-the-line flagships and foldables while the sub-brand would be focused on making the most of the opportunities that exist in the entry-level and mid-range segments.
The pace at which Samsung is launching new devices now seems to suggest that it just wants to have products in every segment, regardless of whether it appears that we’re approaching device spam territory again. A customers who sees a $150 Galaxy device and a $1,000 Galaxy device will never feel that this is a high-end only brand. On the other hand, that’s the generation perception with iPhones, since Apple has made the conscious choice of never offering mid-range phones, thereby solidifying the perception that iPhones are high-end devices.
As the company looks for innovative ways to expand its dominance over the global smartphone market, perhaps launching a sub-brand should be one of the moves it considers. Some of its rivals have enjoyed incredible success with it. This would enable it to pivot and establish the Galaxy brand as premium-only, even more so now that it wants to lead the way on foldable phones.