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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.

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James Brightman avatar
James Brightman: James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.
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