Dahua New Marketing Head Hired From Hanwha / Samsung

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 04, 2017

Dahua is bad at marketing.

And they are finally taking a step to correct that, hiring Janet Fenner, who joins after 6+ years at Samsung / Hanwha to head Dahua's North American marketing team.

Dahua is a tough marketing job but so too was Hanwha, as they deal with downgrading away from the Samsung brand.

In this note, we examine Dahua's historical marketing problems, how Fenner might help, and the challenges to come for Dahua.

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Comments (43)

Boudinot, the content manager you cite, can only do so much in her role. And Dahua's English illiteracy, your oft cited problem, has been resolved. It is just that they need more than that for strategy and leadership.

Pardon my overcite.

This was a big loss for us and a really good move for Dahua as she brings a lot of experience and connections as you mentioned above. She was pivotal in our recent changes and actually has a lot of sales experience that can also help her in her future role.

I hope they just do not treat her right and we can steal her back hahaha!!!

I know this is a minor thing, but their datasheets are finally not laugh worthy. I'm unsure who to thank for that, but it's nice to have somewhat professional looking info to share with clients.

Dude...I hate to say it, but the Engrish is still strong with the product descriptions... I'm having a hell of a time editing them for SavvyTech's OEM versions.

Wrong division, Robert- you're still working with China if you're on the OEM side.

Yeah, but the datasheets from the websites are still pretty Engrished up.

Robert, what undisclosed Dahua USA is saying is that is not Dahua USA's fault.

To summarize:

Dahua China - not that good at English

Dahua USA - good at English

That's been one of the weirder things about Dahua's immigration here, they consider Dahua USA completely separate from Dahua Hangzhou, as if they're different companies. Sure, legally speaking they're separate entities, but you're all still Dahua.

Apple Shenzhen is still Apple. You're not absolved of your sins or reputation because you filed a new LLC or S Corp in another land.

Well shouldn't Dahua China divest themselves of a task they are not proficient at to the branch that can actually command the English language?

Doesn't Dahua USA's hiring pattern suggest that they were attempting to correct this? Or that all just an illusion?

Moreover, if you're going to hire people specifically for PR and marketing, shouldn't you make full use of them to improve your faltering image? Shouldn't you put them at the forefront and let their abilities drive your direction rather than force them into your mundane and patently ineffective machinations?

Would it really be hard for Dahua USA to step up and say "hey, we're here for a reason, let us have some self-determination and the tools to make us presentable to the western audience!"?

Dahua USA needs to start acting like an American company with American workers who know their worth, stand up for themselves, go over the heads of this convoluted corporate bureaucracy and push toward a direction that works better than whatever short-sighted "keeping up with Hikvision plan" they have going on.

They could divest or they could let Americans distribute the product in America. Only this industry allows this kind of non-sense. Samsung isn't competing with Best Buy to sell their TVs... Yet Samsung has proper marketing material.

Yes, Dahua Hangzhou should not try to be English, but you can hire proper English speaking humans to proof all of your marketing & web presence without opening shop in America.

What I found more interesting than China vs USA Marketing is their insistence that they're two totally separate companies. They are only fooling themselves and people who just entered this industry last week. If they wanted to appear American maybe they should've partnered with an American.

Well shouldn't Dahua China divest themselves of a task they are not proficient at to the branch that can actually command the English language?

Related: Does Dahua Not Have a Single English-As-a-First Language Employee?

Would it really be hard for Dahua USA to step up and say "hey, we're here for a reason, let us have some self-determination and the tools to make us presentable to the western audience!"?

The problem is likely that Dahua USA is responsible for selling branded product, not OEMed. To that end, your company is almost as much of a competitor as Hikvision. Ergo, Dahua USA team has little motivation to help you. If I am wrong Dahua people, let me know.

In our first hand experience you are correct. Not only will they not help you, they'll sell to your customers.

Ding, ding, ding, you a winner.

To be completely honest I've found that marketing in this industry is incredibly hard. When you get one new feature and you can use that as a selling point- the entire industry gets this new feature! (see: Starlight, 120dB WDR, P2P etc)

It's really weird how other industries operate compared to the CCTV industry(it's not even CCTV anymore, it's OCTV now) . It's like we're always 5-10 years behind conventional photography(my background), and we even coined our own terms for things that already had names! Iris vs Aperture...

CCTV is a weird beast.

When you get one new feature and you can use that as a selling point- the entire industry gets this new feature!

I agree with you about this as a general issue.

However, Dahua has the second largest revenue of any video surveillance manufacturer, at ~$2 billion.

If a $2 billion manufacturer, with more than twice the revenue of Axis, cannot find meaningful differentiation (outside of hey the Chinese government gave us a lot of projects), that is their fault.

Aperture is the measurement of the iris opening.

Aperture is the measurement of the iris opening.

True, and so "auto-aperture" might be slightly more descriptive than "auto-iris".

Their big 2016 push was pitching themselves as a 'California treasure' which was bizarre for a Chinese manufacturer to do...

Define "bizarre".

Dahua did a full on marketing campaign around being a 'California Treasure'. It ran in various trade magazines, etc.

Hikvision had that one image on their about page.

Dahua went much further with their fake American efforts by doing the full marketing campaign and they did it months after Hikvision was called out for a much more limited version and Hikvision removed it.

That is bizarre but, in fairness, for Dahua that is just normal.

Btw, and related, I just noticed Dahua's top differentiator at ASIS was personality:

It is truly hard to understand what manufacturer would lead with 'personality'.

The "personality" lead seems to be some cultural issue brought from overseas. I have seen this multiple times on product coming from asia. Maybe this is an effective marketing approach in their home country/continent.

For example, Asus makes some powerhouse laptops with dedicated video cards and has overall a really good product line. I noticed the marketing on many of their boxes said "Heartwarming" and other completely irrelevant emotional sentiments on the box. I doubt anyone is buying a 2.5" thick i7 quad laptop with SLI GTX980m video cards, dual SSDs in RAID 0, and the cooling system that looks like it was stolen off a stealth bomber fuselage because it is heartwarming.

#3, I agree with you that Asian companies are much more likely to market themselves with terms like 'personality' and 'heartwarming' that are ineffective, at least in North America.

However, in Dahua's case, the 'personality' marketing was done a few months ago, after Dahua hired many American marketing people, which implies either (1) the American marketing people made the mistake or (2) that was forced by Chinese management over the American marketing people's objections.

You know- about the California treasure thing... a large amount of Chinese immigrants also traveled to California in search of gold. It almost makes sense on some weird meta-level... and it kind of parallels what the relationships are like today between American companies and Chinese companies. Maybe it's actually really clever?

...and it kind of parallels what the relationships are like today between American companies and Chinese companies.

You're saying they are 'gold-diggers'?

Lol, no I'm not saying that, although everyone appears to worship money these days. It's just two segregated groups trying to cash in on a trend that has already peaked and is starting to crash, receding to make way for the next trend-wave to hit (home auto, AI, IoT).

As long as Janet isn't hamstrung by Chinese management, there will be a notable difference coming from Dahua. She's sharp and creative which is what Dahua needs.

Dahua apparently has challenges but even IPVM.COM hasn't noted them as being so marketing braindead as to lie about dumping a well known brand name.

Dahua apparently has challenges but even IPVM.COM hasn't noted them as being so marketing braindead as to lie about dumping a well known brand name.

You think Hanwha holding on to the Samsung name to the bitter end is brain dead marketing?

Imagine if they had changed the plate to say Hanwha on day one?

Btw, they still say "Samsung" today.

Btw, they still say "Samsung" today.

Technically, the new 2017 products will no longer say Samsung. They will say Wisenet.

This is described here: Samsung Brand 'Phasing' Out For Hanhwa Techwin

They will say Wisenet.

Which is a brand associated with Samsung and thereby seeking to transfer as much goodwill as possible. Not brain dead marketing at all.

'Brain dead' is not my term. Using Wisenet is mitigating the harm, for sure but people are going to see 'Hanwha Techwin' a lot more than Wisenet, so keeping Wisenet helps but only to a certain extent.

Brain dead' is not my term.

Sorry, didn't mean to imply it was.

...people are going to see "Hanwha Techwin" a lot more than Wisenet...

Though not on the cameras themselves, even the 2017s.

Though not on the cameras themselves, even the 2017s.

Yes, but they are going to see it on their booths, their business cards, their brochures, their website, etc., etc. Because of that, overall, people are going to see more of 'Hanwha' than 'WiseNet'.

The end-user is always the last to know :)

The question that nobody seems to be asking is was she stolen from Hanwha and why or was she pushed out of Hanwah and why, why did this happen? Was there an issue at Hanwha, did they not value her, do they no longer value what she brings to the table? Did Dahua dangle a large carrot? Does Hanwha not pay well? I'm just having fun here...

The question that nobody seems to be asking is was she stolen from Hanwha and why or was she pushed out of Hanwah and why, why did this happen?

Would You Take A Job At Hanwha?

why did this happen?

From what we have heard, she resigned from Hanwha on Friday and started at Dahua on Tuesday, which means it was her decision. I won't speculate about internal Hanwha matters.

However, in terms of going to Dahua, I see the upside. Now she goes in as the season veteran to a struggling team. Plus Dahua enjoys burning money on marketing.

If Dahua's marketing / brand improves, she gets credit. If Dahua still continues to struggle, most will conclude that Dahua's fault as a company.

Marketing for Dahua would be so much easier than Hanwha. People know who Dahua us now, noone has a clue who Hanwha is.

Marketing has always been Dahua's weakest point. If I were marketing director, my first task would be to completely remove all of the ridiculous engrish in their website and documentation, especially their manuals. Its going to be a big task for sure.

They also need to change their logo so people dont get confused with Ahua. Walking around trade show floor looking for Dahua....

Marketing for Dahua would be so much easier than Hanwha. People know who Dahua us now, noone has a clue who Hanwha is.

Sean, my gut feel is the Dahua is harder. Two thoughts:

(1) When a company makes so many marketing mistakes, it is a reflection of upper management being clueless / incompetent, not just marketing being bad. Has upper management learned from their mistakes or will they have the same negative impact on Fenner? I don't know but I think this is the risk.

(2) Our soon to be released favorability statistics shows Dahua having notably lower overall favorability than Hanwha. I do agree that 'Dahua' is more well known than 'Hanwha' but negativity towards Dahua is higher than Hanwha. Hanwha's main vice is the Samsung brand loss, Dahua has their overall dysfunctionality plus the cyber security hit to deal with.

Hiring a right person is not the key. The key is whether Dahua will let the person do his or her job.

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