Table of Contents
Get the Sony Style
Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its music, motion picture, television, computer entertainment, and online businesses make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. On the current Interbrand scoreboard which ranks the top 100 global brands, Sony takes up rank 28. This means that the brand Sony has a value of almost 11 billion dollars. Sony’s principal U.S. businesses include Sony Electronics Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., and a fifty percent interest in Sony BMG Music Entertainment, one of the largest recorded music companies in the world. Sony is headquartered in Tokyo but has 928 consolidated subsidiaries worldwide. The company places a lot of emphasis on innovation and technical advancement. The first breakthrough innovation Sony landed was the Walkman, which has become a synonym in itself. With the Vaio notebook which was developed with the co-brand Intel, Sony tries to achieve its goal of playing a significant role in various sectors. Its latest technological invention is the Bravia high-definition (HD) flat screen television that has a better picture quality than the old PAL system. Sony always strives for technical advancement and tries to take the lead in many significant electronics and entertainment sectors. (sony.com, 2006)
This paper wants to investigate how Sony manages to stay a global player, how it manages its brands and how it markets them in general (marketing strategies) as well as in particular (advertising). Since Sony has so many diverse brands and products it must have a unifying overall marketing strategy. The paper furthermore wants to explore what strategy that is and what the future trends in marketing are that the company might pursue. In order to look into all these issues the paper is divided into four main sections: market analysis, brand management, marketing strategies and advertising. The first section will give a brief overview of the market situation, forecasts and Sony’s global performance. The second one will give an overview on the brands and products managed as well as what market segments they target. The third section will explore Sony’s marketing strategies more in detail and giving examples illustrating their effectiveness. The last section evaluates one bad advertising campaign and then illustrating how to make it better by creating a campaign after the MECCAS model.
The phenomenal growth in the consumer electronics industry over the past few years can mainly be attributed to the emergence of a new phenomenon called convergence, as the online magazine for digital imaging ´Let’s Go Digital` pointed out in this years March issue. Because companies cannot really come up with entirely new products anymore, they increase their market share by inventing products combining features that were formerly only available in separate products. This is what is called convergence. The confluence and merging of separated markets of digital-based audio, video and information technology. It removes entry barriers across the market and industry boundaries. This convergence of technology has resulted in a greater demand for consumer devices that offer multiple functions. The revolutionary digital technology as well as the emergence of mobile telecommunications technology has also greatly contributed to the increase of global sales in the consumer electronics industry. Forecasts project that sales will still be growing and that in 2008 they will have increased by 65% over 2002. Hereby the biggest part of the market is taken up by the Asia Pacific region, closely followed by Europe. Japanese companies like Sony have captured the consumer electronics market. In a recent international survey measuring the health of the world’s most famous consumer electronics brands Sony is listed as the most popular brand. (Peters, 2006)
In 2003 Sony introduced ´Transformation 60`, a series of fundamental reforms to the Sony Group. The program consisted of two strategies: Clarifying operational structure and concentrating technology and resources for growth as well as fundamentally reforming operational profit structure. The latter point was about reducing fixed costs while the former one was about introducing convergence into the electronics, entertainment and financial business. Through integrating assets in pictures, music and game the entertainment sector will become better linked to the electronics one which strengthens Sony in its aim to become a global media content company. (sony.com: press release, 2003)
As we have seen from the above mentioned, Sony could defend and even strengthen its position in the global consumer electronics market through defining gaps in the market and acting accordingly. At an early stage Sony took measures of reform in order to stay competitive and increase its sales. It takes good market analysis in order to first of all detect new markets and then also to put effective measures into practice. Sony successfully mastered this task.
Sony has a very broad product portfolio encompassing the games, music, movies and electronics sectors. The company puts its emphasis on the entertainment industry and wants to be as diverse and exhaustive in its line and category extensions as possible. Sony established a lot of well-known brands, only take for example play station, Bravia or the Walkman. Together with Intel as a co-brand Sony created Vaio notebooks. With Carl Zeiss as ingredient brand it produces compact digital cameras. The joint ventures with Ericsson and BMG gave Sony the opportunity to expand into the mobile phones and music market. (sony.com)
Although Sony in general targets people with an appreciation for high quality and technological innovation, more recent strategies reveal that especially in the games and partly also electronics market Sony tries to attract more younger people with a sense for style. With its mascot AIBO the robot dog it can be argued that Sony laid the groundwork for a new more stylish image. However, AIBO I would argue plays more on the technological image of innovation than on stylishness. More obvious is the image change in Sony’s marketing strategies for its play station. As I will explain later more in detail, in its advertising campaigns and promotion activities for play station the younger late teenage till late twenties target group is appealed to. The same is true in the electronics sector.
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- Anonymous, 2006, Get the Sony Style - a case study on Sony`s marketing, branding and advertising strategies, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/55665