Earlier this year, Samsung was awarded the title Marketer of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Considering how ubiquitous the company has become over the past several years, this might not come as much of a surprise, but even Samsung executives will admit that it wasn’t long ago when consumers were calling the company “boring and monotonous.”

So how did Samsung turn things around?

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In a recent interview with Adweek, marketing head Younghee Lee explains that she has done her best since joining Samsung in 2007 to help the company tell its story in a way that will be appreciated by consumers.

“Our mission should be for the everyday users, not technology for the sake of technology,” says Lee. “All the great technology we have had to be translated to consumer language. We’ve done a lot of research to understand what consumers want and need. That is at the core of our marketing.”

But it’s impossible to discuss Samsung’s success as a creative marketer without bringing up Apple: the company that changed the way the mobile industry operated.

Here’s what Lee said when asked how Samsung managed to overtake Apple as the industry’s worldwide leading smartphone manufacturer:

We always relentlessly pursue what we think is right in technology. Our communications program is no different. If we think it is right, we pursue it relentlessly. In North America, we were aggressive with our marketing toward competitors—we went at them head on. If you think about the “Fanboy” and “Wall Hugger” (Galaxy S) campaigns and the approach we took there, we tried to be flexible, relevant and bold.

In other words, attacking Apple (and developing a great deal of respect for Apple’s success) played a major part in Samsung’s creative renaissance.

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