'Tabbing': A new language in the world of gizmos

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | December 14, 2010
The Samsung Galaxy Tablet has entered the Indian market with the positioning, 'Start Tabbing'. A look at what 'tabbing' means, and the roadmap ahead for the brand, in a category that is just about finding its feet in the country.

Some call it a multimedia device; others think it is a gizmo or a gaming console; some see it as a mobile phone with high-speed broadband; while another bunch compares it to the Amazon Kindle - an e-book reader. But no matter what is being said about it, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet is here in India, and from the looks of it, is here to stay.

In a nutshell, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet is powered by Android Operating System 2.2, and is a tablet device that combines mobile telephony with a whole host of applications on the go. It offers consumers PC-like Web browsing and multimedia content on a seven-inch display. Thus, users can e-mail, make voice/video calls, SMS/MMS, use social network sites and maps for navigation, play games, while also having access to a vast library of books and publications through its e-reader application. Users can wirelessly sync to their DLNA compatible-TV or computers to stream movies, share photos and music files or view documents on the large monitor.

The Samsung Tab is priced at Rs 38,000, and was launched in India on November 10. It has tied up with various leading telecom operators, including Airtel, Aircel, Reliance Mobile, Tata Docomo and Vodafone for data services.

'Categorically' different?

The tablet category in India (some may use terms such as the multimedia device category instead), is at a nascent stage. Over the last few years, there has been an explosion in the convergence of mobile platforms with applications and Web browsing - mobile phones are getting into areas dominated by laptops, while smart-phones have evolved as a different species. And the tablet, with its myriad offerings, takes this convergence ten notches higher.

Currently, the other players in this category include Apple iPad, Dell Streak and OlivePad, while other devices such as the Kindle are also vying for consumer attention. However, these e-book readers are not direct competitors to tablets.

Most of these brands have made use of print advertising in their communication, and were fully unleashed in India only recently (they were being imported until then). So, things are as nascent as they can get.

What Samsung claims to be its advantage over the rest is that it possesses the DNA of a mobile phone, which most other players don't have thus far. According to Ranjit Singh Yadav, country head, Samsung Mobile and IT, the tablet market in India should boast of sales to the tune of 750,000 units in a year's time, that is, by November-December, 2011.

The word 'tablet' is a word-play on how small and sleek the device truly is; and yet, offers the world in a nutshell.

Who's keeping 'tabs'?

The tablet is meant for the evolved consumer who wants more out of his technological devices, that too, while he is on the move, anytime, anywhere. "The Samsung tablet allows you to do more than what a traditional phone does," says Trivikram Thakore, general manager, marketing, HHP Division, Samsung India.

Hence, the brand's communication task isn't simple -- with too many things to say, it is important that the consumer isn't left feeling confused or indifferent.

To begin with, Samsung is targeting people who are tech-savvy, the "been there, done that" variety with short attention spans, who are constantly looking for something new. This would typically mean a person who is living a hectic life; does things with a flair; who likes to push boundaries; and likes everything on the move. Such a person typically multi-tasks effortlessly, and as a result, is bombarded with devices that offer him help with this multi-tasking. Thus, he probably uses a mix of devices for his needs.

The tab hopes to eliminate the need for multiple devices, with the positioning plank of not just helping its consumer do more, but to also "live more" by carrying his world wherever he goes.

"This aspect of living more is what we have labelled as 'Tabbing'," explains Thakore of Samsung, which explains the punchline, 'Start Tabbing'.

Crafted by agency, Leo Burnett India, 'tabbing' is a communication language or lexicon, with anyone who 'tabs' being given the term 'tabber'. The whole point is to generate curiosity amongst consumers on the tabbing phenomenon and to get them to think, "Am I a tabber?"

Samir Gangahar, executive director, Leo Burnett, remarks, "With cutting-edge technology, the Samsung Galaxy Tab targets the young, upwardly mobile guys, with its 'tabbing' language and culture." However, the Samsung tab doesn't restrict itself to the youth alone. Being a versatile device, it also targets senior-level professionals, and upmarket teenagers.

Tablet advertising

A print campaign has been unleashed in leading dailies with the core message, "I carry my world wherever I go" -- a statement that gives two cues at the same time, that of offering myriad things in one device, and of offering them on the move.

"This is akin to big bags that women like to shove everything important in, and carry with them everywhere," quips Thakore.

Further, the tab lends itself to sharing photos, videos and other items as well. So, it is not just a device in isolation, but is completely connected -- that is another message being brought forth in print.

A digital campaign created by Solutions Digitas makes use of the usual banner advertising across key sites, search engine optimization, as well as the creation of fan pages on Facebook for information dissemination and interaction with consumers.

In fact, during the pre-launch phase, Samsung allowed interested consumers to "experience" the tab digitally through a microsite on the Samsung website, where they could see a demonstration of the product online before buying it.

Experiential marketing at the point of purchase is also being leveraged. Selective outdoor media has been employed as well, for building curiosity around the Samsung Galaxy Tab. A TVC, on-air presently, has been created by a Korean agency called Africa, and is a showcase of sorts with situations in which the Tab acts like a "friend in need".

The current campaign would run till the end of January 2011, and may be followed by some on-ground activities.

Globally, Samsung's tablets have made use of different taglines, but each conveys a similar thought. In the US, for instance, the brand is all about "opening up a world of possibilities".

"This product and the category as a whole emanate from a direct consumer need to be more connected," says Yadav of Samsung. "Our primary task is to build awareness and curiosity, dispelling myths about what the Tab can and cannot do. We hope to be evangelisers in this category, with our communication."

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