Sony has "fallen blindly in love with its brand" says marketing expert

One of the big problems for Sony is that its brand has been too diluted says one marketing professor

Sony is in a financial world of hurt at the moment and new CEO Kaz Hirai certainly has his hands full. While PlayStation as a brand remains quite strong, Sony's brand itself has taken a hit, according to a recent New York Times article.

The Times' Hiroko Tabuchi slams Sony for an "astonishing lack of ideas" and she pointed out how Sony hasn't turned a profit now since 2008. "The reason is plain: Sony hasn't had a hit product in years," she said.

Looking at the competition, Sony's market value is now one-ninth that of Samsung Electronics, and just one-thirtieth of Apple's. Some former Sony suits don't believe the company will ever return to glory. "It's almost game over at Sony," said Yoshiaki Sakito, a former Sony executive who has worked for Walt Disney, Bain & Company, and Apple. "I don't see how Sony's going to bounce back now."

If Sony ever wants to get back to the days of the Walkman, the company will need to build up stronger branded products. Right now, the firm produces a plethora of devices that overlap or even cannibalize each another while sometimes confusing consumers. It's the polar opposite of Apple, which has created just a few really strong product lines with brands like iPhone, iPod and iPad.

"Sony is an example of what happens when a company falls blindly in love with its brand," said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, according to Business Insider.

Calkins continued, "Sony uses its brand on all sorts of products: televisions, cameras, computers, music players, digital book readers and toys. In a remarkable move, several years back Sony decided to use the brand on a movie studio and on a music label. Sony's high-end products carry the Sony brand. The low-end products carry the Sony brand, too."

The end result is that Sony's brand has lost its meaning; it's been diluted.

More stories

PlayStation will not attend Gamescom 2022

The platform holder also won't have announcements in the Opening Night Live

By Marie Dealessandri

12 live-service games, $300m PC sales, "aggressive" mobile strategy: PlayStation lays out its plans

Platform holder details growth priorities as it expands beyond PlayStation 5

By Marie Dealessandri

Latest comments (6)

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 10 years ago
I agree, and having divided on-line content libraries makes it even worse (though they do appear to be taking steps to fix this). It's absurd that if I bought an Xperia play, I would have to re-buy PSOne games I already bought from PSN in order to play them on that device.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Charlie Moritz Studying Philosophy with Psychology, University of Warwick10 years ago
I don't know if that really hits the actual mark.

In reality the problem that Sony has is that their design has become uninspiring. Their cameras are fantastic (the newest Sony Alpha is amazing!), their Music player sound quality is much higher than an iPod, their ebook readers were streets ahead of the competition but didn't have a strong adoption and their TVs consistently outclass Samsung in terms of contrast levels and screen quality.

What is sincerely lacking in Sony right now is a combination of 2 things.
1) Their design. Look at Sony Bravia TVs and you'll see that they have been the same blocky square design for about 8 years now. On the other hand Samsung edge bezel has been getting thinner and sleeker with every new iteration. People don't just want the best screen quality, they want something that looks damn sexy in their living room!
2) Marketing is generic and uninspiring. Sony used to have great marketing but now their money is being wasted. They need to do a lot more research and have some much smarter people in their Marketing departments.

If they do that they will succeed again. Yes they love their brand but why shouldn't they? Sony has always made fantastic high quality products, far outclassing rivals in terms of pure quality. Now the game has changed and they just need to adapt. Get some fresh minds in to streamline the products and Sony will rock the house again.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tin Katavic Studying MSc-Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee10 years ago
I agree with Charlie on this. I am not sure that if its the matter of too many products but more the lack of "whats so great about this". On this Apple wrote the book. Even the biggest haters of Apple cant deny that they have awesome desing and unique marketing. They may insult the apple fan-bois but you have to respect the company that managed to snare so many.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (6)
Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 10 years ago
In the same vein as what Charlie is saying I believe that Sony have forgotten, got left behind in the definition of what a product is. Sony's attitude is that it builds highly engineered solutions to making something happen not experiences or lifestyles plus the solution the way most modern product developers do.

Not to mention that some of their business model thinking is completely backwards. The idea that Sony are only just producing gaming platforms that from the get go have had the developers in mind is astonishing.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tony Johns10 years ago
And since the PS3 finally had some good games at the start of 2008, it seems like the other factors in SONY like Music and TV are loosing money for them.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Dominic Jakube Student 10 years ago
I think a good case in point is the fact that they have three handhelds the original PSP,the Vita and the Experia play four if you count the PSP GO that are not compatible with oneanother.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.