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It's still a Sony

It's still a Sony

The consumer electronics giant aims for $1 billion by 2009.

While "it's a Sony" may have given way to the LGs and Samsungs of the world on Indian television, the company, like the rest of the world, seems to still be very much focussed on India. It is after all the third-largest market for Sony in the Asia Pacific Region after Japan and China. Masaru Tamagawa, Managing Director, Sony India, believes that India is also the most challenging market in the region. "To meet this challenge, we decided to change our strategy to become more aggressive and customer focussed." Other than the traditional categories of televisions and hi-fi music systems, Sony India offers consumers contemporary, fun and youthful categories such as LCD televisions, MP3 players, Digital still cameras, DVD handycams, notebooks and gaming consoles (Sony PlayStation), among other things.

Sony's Tamagawa: Playing it right with right products to capture Indian market 
To strengthen distribution and the after-sales network, Sony has 250 large to small format franchised stores to cater to the Sony brand equity. These are the Sony World, Sony Exclusive and Sony Digital Kiosks stores. These, says Tamagawa, "have expanded their role steadily to go beyond just selling, to providing the Indian consumer with a truly 'International and solutions driven Shopping Experience', through world-class ambience, customer facilitation and clearly differentiated product presentation."

In addition to this, Sony has begun leveraging its association with other Sony companies like Sony Pictures, Sony BMG Music and Sony Entertainment Television to bring innovative promotions for consumers; the most recent example is the tie-up for Spider-Man 3 in which the movie was distributed by Sony Pictures, Sony BMG Music owned the rights to the soundtrack and Sony Entertainment Television provided fierce on-air promotional support for the film. "We constantly undertake such activities to enhance the interest levels of the consumer and motivate the dealer," explains Tamagawa.

Sony is also focussed on introducing its latest technologies in the Indian market-from High Definition to Blu-ray-and the easy accessibility of these technologies through the expansion of the company's retail network. "Sony is also currently in the process of kicking off a multi-pronged plan for brand building and on-ground activities to get closer to their target audiences," says Tamagawa.

He adds that this could involve media and direct marketing initiatives, product demonstrations, road shows, exhibitions and local-level promos such as gaming competitions, and contests, among other activities.

In 2006, Sony claims to have grabbed a market share of just over 15 per cent in the Indian consumer electronics market, and tripled its turnover to Rs 2,300 crore over the last three years.

Sony as a group in India includes Sony Entertainment Television, Sony Pictures, Sony BMG Music, Sony Ericsson and Sony India (consumer electronics) which, put together, is targeting a turnover of $2 billion (Rs 8,200 crore), while Sony India as an individual company has set itself a target of $1 billion (Rs 4,100 crore) by 2009.

The billion-dollar question, though, is: Can Sony ever hope to achieve the recall that in-your-face brands such as LG and Samsung have achieved? Tamagawa prefers not to take that question head-on. "At Sony we believe in letting our products do the talking." Now, if only more consumers were listening.

Published on: Aug 31, 2007, 5:18 AM IST
Posted by: AtMigration, Aug 31, 2007, 5:18 AM IST