The Change in Brand Strategy for Business Success
Sony is a household brand name that has always been associated with consumer electronics. In the last 20 years Sony became the byword for quality and innovation in the home consumer electronics market. Sony was the flagship brand of Japanese electronics technology.
We all have probably had Sony products and innovations in our lives at some point, whether that was a Trinitron TV, a Sony Walkman, or a Sony Playstation console. In the era of the 1980’s to early 2000’s Sony led the way with product quality and innovation.
Such a strategy was a recipe for success. Sony led the way and won the hearts, minds and dollars of consumers worldwide. However by 2005 things had started going wrong for Sony. This well tried and repeated marketing, product and branding strategy was no longer working.
The world had moved on to a new era of technology collaboration and integration where content was increasingly becoming the focus instead of the platform or device. Meanwhile mobile and social media was converging with traditional consumer electronics. Sony was becoming sidelined in the new paradigm of internet driven seamless devices such as mobile phones.
Sony has posted 4 consecutive years of losses since 2007 and now predicts a 220 billion yen ($3 billion) loss in 2011. The new incoming CEO, Kazuo Hirai, noted that Sony missed the change in the technology drivers as well as consumer expectation to one of “user experience”.
What is “user experience”? Hirai understands well that consumers now are less brand loyal than ever to actual products. Instead the average consumer is expecting an emotionally positive and sensually rich experience regardless of the platform or device they use. Sony needs to be able to create a brand that can consistently repeat such an experience using a variety on non Sony content across the Sony platform of electronics and software.
The Sony experience is also relevant to many businesses in today’s information age. The generation X and Y demographics are certainly brand aware but are less brand loyal than they are “experience loyal” than any other generation before them. The generations who follow in the future are more likely to be just as so, or more so.
We know that early life experiences shape our reality. If one looks at the technology and stimulus now being exposed to our children then we can see the unconscious expectations being nurtured in their young minds. We live in an age of rich sensual experiences.
Those businesses that would capture the hearts, minds and dollars of the current and future generations will need to revisit their own marketing, product and brand strategies to survive and thrive in coming years. Collaboration and user experience are now king.
Businesses will still need to differentiate their experience from that of competitors or else rely on shaky strategies like pricing which has been shown in the recent post GFC era to be a weary and tired way of attracting an ever more demanding and price critical consumers.
The advent of secure technology allows online shopping to be a safe experience for consumers. Given the search engine capability for consumers to view a vast range of product content online, for prices below that of shop front retailers, price point strategies are going the way of dinosaurs for many businesses.
The survivors of the changing face of retail know that they must gear their business to consistent and excellent customer service to create the possibility of evoking a customer experience based brand. There must be a positive stimulus of the senses and emotions of customers when they make contact with your business for if not then someone will be doing that to your detriment.
Sony realizes that the era of being just a great purveyor of hardware products is over. The job Sony now has is changing direction and creating a “Sony experience” in customers based on the collaboration and harmony of content and technology.
In the face of these changes one now finds that retailers are using the very technology influencing the lives of their consumers in order to bring them back into the brick and mortar shops. For instance the current generation of Apple and HTC technology phones all leave a “wireless fingerprint” of their owners as they carry their phones about in the community.
Shopping centres are gradually trialing and installing tracking technology that can map the path taken by any consumer via detecting and mapping their path as captured from their wireless phone signals. This technology is capturing consumer behavior in a way that allows for significant trends to be stored and analysed.
Retailers are for the first time able to capture accurate data about the number of people entering their store, the number of repeat visits, and traffic dynamics across a day or a week, or during a marketing campaign. Technology is also enabling retailers to reach out to the passing customer with phone SMS alerts about in-store specials as the person comes into proximity of the actual shop front.
Phone applications which enable such retailer to consumer connections are becoming available as a form of digital loyalty cards and replace their physical card equivalent in a consistent and targeted way. Such enabling technology will allow such retailers to adjust promotions, displays, and marketing campaigns in real time and take advantage of changing street traffic movements.
The conscious business owner understands that business opportunities lie in the advent of any change in a business environment. In terms of Australian online shopping trends, the mass media and business community reaction has centered around the fear based messages of loss of business to online retailers.
An informed examination of current technologies reveals that the conscious business owner can adapt and work these changing technologies to their own advantage. This also allows them to again differentiate from their competitors and to move their brand towards what Sony has termed the “user experience”.
Where are you at in your conscious business evolution? Are you relying on products, strategies and thinking that the world has passed on from, just as Sony did for most of the last decade?
Do you know how to create that emotional experience with your customers and how to align your people to your products and services so that the principles of the emotional brand and strategy can start to take shape?
In the new era, business begins and ends with the emotional and business intelligence of your leaders and key staff. Contact us to assist you in your conscious business evolution.
Become Conscious and Undertake Your Extended Disc® Assessment!
Any business that would aspire to become a truly conscious business needs to become conscious about how its leaders and teams constellate together in areas of their “flow” and also their resistance.
An Extended DISC profile is a valuable tool for self-realisation in the workplace. The Extended DISC profiling system is in use in over 50 countries worldwide and is now becoming part of the essential CV data any serious professional would present to a potential employer.
As I outlined in the January 2012 newsletter and my related article Extended DISC® Profiling, the value of this tool for the sole operator, the leader, the team, and the executive requesting coaching, cannot be under-estimated.
Get started in 2012 with raising your own consciousness and understand what is your work behavioural profile and style, and how that flows into other areas of your life and mindset.
Richard Boyd is an accredited Extended Disc consultant, Executive Coach, Business Consultant, Public Speaker, and author. Richard is known as “The Body Mind of Business” due to his ongoing work in assisting businesses in raising the potential of their human capital and in creating conscious business outcomes.
If your business could do with some Emotional Intelligence training, business coaching, obtain an Extended Disc Profile, or executive coaching then contact us and let’s discuss how we can assist you in your conscious business evolution.
Have a conscious business month!
Director, Corporate Energetics