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What do you do when you’re being outmarketed by a giant rival? In HTC’s case, you hire the person who helped build your rival’s brand.

HTC confirmed today that it has brought on former Samsung U.S. marketing head Paul Golden as a consultant, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Golden helped to build and launch Samsung’s Galaxy brand in the U.S., which led it to quickly become the leading Android phone maker. He’ll serve as a consultant to HTC chairwoman and cofounder Cher Wang — so he’ll most likely offer up some pointers on strategy and won’t have a direct role managing HTC’s marketing efforts.

HTC has gone through three separate CMOs over the past few years, which explains its murky marketing efforts. To help bring things on track, Wang, HTC’s largest shareholder, is now taking charge of HTC’s marketing efforts, operations, and customer service, Businessweek reports.

HTC was the leading Android phone maker in the platform’s early years — but as Android matured and Samsung deployed its multi-carrier Galaxy S releases backed by obscene amounts of marketing funds, HTC has been unable to compete. Its One smartphone was last year’s best Android phone but didn’t make a dent in Samsung’s dominant market share.

At this point, HTC needs all the marketing help it can get. Last year it launched a series of ads starring Robert Downey Jr., which had fun with the company’s branding but didn’t do much to sell phones. With its new One M8 smartphone, HTC kicked off an ad campaign with actor Gary Oldman, which simply asks consumers to “Ask the Internet” about HTC’s phones (while Oldman stares on creepily).

While HTC clearly tried to be creative with its most recent ads, they seem a bit too high concept for a company that’s struggling for consumer mindshare. Now that Wang is taking charge and has Samsung’s former brand genius on tap, HTC may finally figure out a way to market its phones effectively.


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