Samsung Never Should Have Abandoned HWH PR’s 12-Step QC plan


One of the major reasons why HWH PR remained the PR agency of record for Samsung for 17 years was because we established a 12-step quality control check for every new major product introduction. You can laugh all you want, but it worked. Even if Korea had already introduced the “so-called Innovation” to the marketplace in Asia, HWH put it through its 12-step check list in the United States.

 I will even go so far as to say that one of our check list points would have revealed a faulty battery or whatever else ails the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 long before it came to market. You can ask Steve Panosian who is still at Samsung after all these years. He may not remember all that I am saying here, but he was very involved in helping HWH achieve Editors’ Choice Awards for each new flat panel TV being introduced in the marketplace.

 We weren’t geniuses; we just used common sense. It was just made very clear to us that in order to be in good standing with Samsung Korea, HWH had to do everything in our power to get two things accomplished – a record breaking number of reviews year after year, and the highest marks possible for each new innovative product.

 HWH actually had a 12-step plan that we created and religiously followed. One of the steps involved our close posse of advisors who got to test each new product before it was released to the public. The testers were editors at tech magazines, tech buffs, and tech hobbyists. They were all anxious to be the first to try these new innovations so they agreed to carefully check out each feature, even if it meant ripping the product apart.

 Time after time, one of these advisors would find something wrong and I was the one who had to go back and tell Samsung their new baby wasn’t as pretty as they thought. My name was on the door of the agency, so I was elected to deliver the news. It was never a pretty sight. I would watch a committee of five or six Samsung Korean executives stare at me with such venom that I would want to bolt from the room. The defiance in me would never allow me to do that. I was there for a bigger reason and I was going to see it though.

 It always worked out. Each time I tried to picture it as a game. They would get pissed at me, questioned my sanity, ask me 20 trick questions, talk to each other in Korean so I was left out of the conversation, and then finally smile. They figured out what went wrong, respectfully asked HWH to make sure the problem never leaked out to the public, fixed and fine-tuned the unit, and then officially sent the product out for a public review.

 That was one of the 12-steps HWH insisted on. The entire course of action worked so well, Samsung officially established a Quality Control department in the United States, headed by IS Hur and his direct report JH Ahn. We worked so closely together that we regarded ourselves as the dream team. Their mission was to tweak the product to excellence. Our responsibility was to make sure Samsung got those damn awards.

 Next installment — Peter Weedfald arrives to shake things up.

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