This paper will investigate the universally recognised brand Sony Bravia and their recent development in new technology and how it is strengthening the brand’s position in the market place. This issue relates to the matters discussed in the three journal articles by Slater, S, Narver, J (March/April 1994), Keller, KL (1993) and Doyle, P (1990). These topics will be supported by additional evidence, discussing and evaluating the key themes and theories that could potentially be applied to the brand Sony Bravia.
In recent months, Sony Bravia has introduced 3D and internet television devices into the market. These new technologies have only recently become available to the general public since early 2010 due to the huge success of 3D films in cinemas worldwide. The new products have been promoted to the public through a highly effective marketing campaign, advertising the products on popular internet services such as the social networking site ‘Facebook’ and the online broadcasting webpage ‘Youtube’. The consumer’s are able to interact directly with the internet service, being in control of their entertainment choice(s). This has been massively enlarged through on-demand media and catch-up services including ‘BBC iPlayer’ and ‘4OD’.
In order for a universal organisation “to achieve superior performance” (Slater and Narver, 1994) they must “develop and sustain competitive advantage” (Slater and Narver, 1994). Sony has been widely recognised for delivering quality products since 1946 and is often the first choice for professionals and typical consumers. They have built a reputation for providing high quality products and are often seen as the leaders of technological advances and development. Sony can use this reputation as a competitive advantage over its rivals in the marketplace when releasing such products.
Sony Bravia products are priced at the higher end of the market, offering superior value to its consumers. “Superior value requires that the seller identifies and understands the principle competitors’ short-term strengths and weaknesses and long-term capabilities and strategies” (Slater and Narver, 1994). Sony, unlike other well recognised consumer electronics companies, offer an extended renewable warranty service called ‘Xtend Warranty’. This lasts up to 5 years (Sony, 2002). In comparison, the similar leading brand ‘Samsung’ only offer a 12 month warranty on their television sets (Samsung, 1995). This shows that Sony have explored their competitors weaknesses, providing an enhanced service contract and an exceptional after sales service. This service best compliments their high product quality. Sony offers a superior value product range within their service package. Further improvements to the service could be considered by the brand to further strengthen their stance against their competitors in the future.
The release of new technology such as 3D television and Internet television appears to be at the forefront of Sony’s recent marketing campaign. The organisation is offering a combination of the two technologies entwined into one television set. In order “to deliver superior service, businesses must understand what their customers expect, for exceeding those expectations is the basis of enduring customer loyalty” (Slater and Narver, 1994). Sony can apply this theory with the offering of two technologies combined into one television set, they can further meet customer expectation by involving more technology into their products such as an internet browser or storage capabilities to further meet these opportunities. By exceeding the customer’s needs/desires better than that of the competitors, customer loyalty will increase. “One of the great benefits of having satisfied customers is that they tell others of their experiences, further enhancing sales.” (Jobber and Fahey, 2006). This can be associated with the fact that Sony Bravia Televisions are offering such a service with their products they will inevitably receive positive comments through word of mouth which will in turn earn them greater revenue.
As a brand Sony is universally recognised and in terms of brand equity Sony is valued very high. With a history of trading in the UK dating back to 1968 (Sony, 2002) it has developed a very strong brand identity and appears to have large consumer loyalty within the market. “The Sony Bravia High Definition TV has stolen the march on the Apple iPhone as the most-wanted gadget this Christmas, according to a survey of over 3,500 people conducted by consumer electronics reviews website CNET.co.uk” (CBS Interactive, 2010) This article confirms the strength of the Sony brand in relation to one of their most vital competitors ‘Apple’. The reasoning behind the towering consumer awareness for this product was due to the popularity established from the recently publicised television advertising campaign. By introducing this form of promotion, the consumers became familiar with the product and what it has to offer, gaining it high popularity during the festive season – of which is a key time in the retail industry. “Building customer- based brand equity requires the creation of a familiar brand that has favourable, strong, and unique brand associations.”(Keller, 1993) Keller defines the exact strategy adopted by Sony. This strategy was used to attempt to increase their revenue streams by constantly supporting the strong brand image they hold. Further enhancements on this campaign would make it more appealing to the audience this continuing to increase the company’s annual intake and overall brand image.
The awareness of a brand correlates to the customer’s capability to recognise and recall a brand as shown in Appendix 1. This involves both the association and perception of the consumer in relation to the brand. By providing a clear and detailed knowledge base of the brand Sony through various advertising campaigns, the consumers are made aware of the high quality product range, recognising the brand universally.
Although the creation of an effective advertising campaign has favoured Sony and their sales, understanding the consumer needs and desires is still at the top of their agenda, being an element they continually review. As Doyle (1990) quotes “quality and service, rather than advertising is the best way of creating such brands”. The service provided is an essential part of guaranteeing return in business from both the new and existing customers. Sony could strengthen the brand equity by continuing to invest in popular advertising campaigns. These appear extremely effective in reminding the general public of how great the brand is whilst at the same time informing them of the superior quality products that Sony as an organisation has to offer. “Successful brands are valuable because they can create a stream of future earnings” (Doyle, 1990). If Sony applied this theory to their marketing structure they would inevitably increase their annual intake.
In conclusion, the three related journal articles offer various different themes and theories of which can be applied to Sony’s overall business model. They compliment the brands business model in a positive way, improving their market share within the consumer electronics industry, further increasing their annual sales revenue. Although the organisation already has an excellent aftercare service for their consumers, it could adapt the different journal article author’s theories to their current methods, broadening the service and meeting every possible need/desire of the customer(s).
An encouraging word of mouth from loyal customers and the publication of the positive reviews Sony Bravia receive from their consumers will attract a new, diverse range of consumer and recall any previous customers to the range of products available. With the ability to create almost instant popularity and a mass awareness of the current product range and their aftercare service and warranty, the organisation can continue to release new and improved products from their current knowledge and brand awareness previously created.
Bibliography and References
Jobber, D and Fahy, J (2006) Foundations of Marketing, McGraw-Hill Education: Berkshire.
Doyle, P (1990) ‘Building successful brands: The Strategic Options’, Journal of Consumer Marketing, 7, 2 Spring, Pages 5 – 20.
Keller, K.L (1993) ‘Conceptualizing, Measuring and Managing Customer-Based Brand Equity’, Journal of Marketing, 57, January, Pages 1 – 22.
Slater, S and Narver, J (1994) ‘Market Orientation, Customer Value, and Superior Performance’, Business Horizons, March-April, Pages 22 – 29.
CBS Interactive (2010) Press Release [online] Available at: http://www.cbsinteractive.co.uk/press/releases/0,10000069,10000298,00.htm (Accessed on: 22.04.2010).
Samsung (1995) Warranty Information [online] Available at: http://www.samsung.com/uk/support/warranty/warrantyInformation.do?page=POLICY.WARRANTY (Accessed on: 22.04.2010).
Sony (2002) Financial Services from Sony [online] Available at: http://www.sony.co.uk/article/id/1205831224328 (Accessed on 22.04.2010).
Sony (2002) The History of the Sony Corporation [online] Available at: http://www.sony.co.uk/article/id/1060176719725 (Accessed on 21.04.2010).
Appendix 1 – Dimensions of brand knowledge