Sony Corporation and Mobile Marketing Strategy

Overview Of Sony Corporation

Brief History

The Sony name was created by combining “SONUS” with the original Latin for “SONIC” meaning sound, with “SONNY” demoting small size or a youthful boy. The name was chosen for its simple pronunciation that is the same in any language.

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Initially, the company was founded in 1946 as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K which translates to Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering corporations in English. The company was established in Nihombashi, Tokyo with a start-up capital of 190,000 years for research and manufacture of telecommunications and measuring equipment.

In February 1947, the company head office and was recollected to Shinagawa, Tokyo. In October of the same year, the company successfully commercialized and started the sales of power megaphones.

The company was finally named Sony in 1958. One of the company’s founders – Akio Morita chose such name “because had not existed anywhere else before”1. In December of the same year, the company was listed on the Tokyo stock exchange (TSE).

Sony Corporation of America (SONAM) was established in 1960. In October 2001, Sony Corporation established Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. Sonny has undergone several mergers and acquisitions since it was established. Recently, on April 22, 2008, Sony announced that it will “acquire Gracenote, Inc. for 260 million dollars”2.

Organizational context

Sony corporation is divided on various categories or groups headed by presidents in charge. The organization in headed by the Representative Corporate Officer (CEO) Howard Stringer who is also the chairman. He succeeded Nobuyuki Idei in June 2005. The other divisions (groups) include:

  1. Sony financial Holdings Group
  2. Entertainment Business Group
  3. Game Business Group
  4. Sony Ericsson Mobile communications
  5. Consumer products Group
  6. Semiconductor and Component Group

Sony International Operations

Sony Corporation holds international operations all over the globe operating through subsidiary corporations. However, the most important are: Sony America (SONAM) and Sony China.

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Sony Corporation of America is located in the New York City. Sony Corporation of America is a Sony’s U.S division headquartered in Tokyo. Sony’s principal U.S. business includes Sony Electronics Inc, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc, Sony computer Entertainment America Inc. Also it holds 50% interest in Sony BMG music entertainment. It is one of the largest recording music companies in the world.

Sony’s considered sales in the United States for the fiscal year which actually ended on March were 18.9 billion dollars. “In the final three months of 2007 company’s profits rose more than on 25 percent. This was caused by robust sales of televisions and computer games”3 Sony China was established in October 1996 in Beijing by Sony corporation to manage and corporate Sony business operations in China.

In 2005 Sony set up the China design Engineering Group for development functions.By June 2007 Sony had seven manufacturing sites and employed approximately 35,000 people in China.

There are some other phenomena worth mentioning about Sony: it built 254 Million dollar television factory in Britain which “became the television factory in Britain and represents the company’s technology research center for Europe”4

Growth and development

Sony Corporation had an encouraging experience in growth and development, especially in terms of products and area of operation. Sony’s early products included reel – to reel tape-recorded and transistor radius. In 1968 the company introduced aperture grille cathode, ray tube televisions and, later, computer monitors

Also, they introduced: Betamax video cassette recording, walkman, Betacam floppy disks, MS home based computer, comp at Disk Discman, optical disco, Sony-Ericson mobiles etc. On September 10 of 2007, Sony unveiled Rolly (Sony) on an egg-shaped digital robotic music player. Sony has rapidly grown and thus there is a Sony outlet in every part of the world.

Sony‘s Marketing Strategy

Sony’s primary weakness lays in its complacency to take advantage of emerging markets. Sony tries to take advantage of merging markets. The company had failed to capitalize on the development of the flat-screen television market. However, Sony needs to step up its innovation, especially in the electronics division, using its size and diversity to take risks that other companies cannot afford. Sony should take the advantage of new technological opportunities as they emerge.

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In this regard, an effective marketing strategy is essential; so that the products of the Company are sold well. Being an international corporation, sonny’s marketing strategy includes having sales offices across Europe, Asia, America, and other parts of the world. These offices serve as a branch office in charge of its sales. The staff in these offices liaison with the head office in Tokyo to ensure that there is enough distribution of products to sales offices. Marketing of the company’s product is “done” marketing.

The company has its executives in various parts of the world. As part of its marketing strategy and in keeping the customers, Sony provides after-sales services for a period of 1-2 years (guarantee) of their products. In order to reach every part and everyone, Sony has branch offices or outlets in various parts of the world where their company’s products are sold.

Sony finished the 2007 year well. It highlighted how the company has strategically positioned itself to capture market share with an expanded product portfolio. According to Dick Komiyama, president of Sony, “their target remains to become one of the top three players in the industry”.

Outlook and future

Sony Corporation has grown widely since its inception in recently the corporation “announced its plan to double annual production of liquid crystal display (LCD), television to four million this year in its Slovak factory”5.

The company further plans to enter into a joint venture with Samsung Electronics Co., S.LCD Corporation in South Korea to spend roughly 1.9 billion to boost its liquid crystal display and panel production. Sony has also announced that “its United States department has signed a merger agreement with Gracenote Inc, based in California U.S.A. The transaction is anticipated to be effected in late May subject to certain regulatory and other approvals”6.

Conclusion

Sony Eriksson Mobile launched by the company in 2001 has hit the market and is one of the most liked handsets in the world. In 2007, over 100 million handsets were sold. This translated to an 18 percent increase in sales on a yearly basis. The handset carried market share, especially in the last quarter.

Sonny Ericsson estimates the 2007 global handset market as being over 1.1 billion units in line with previous forecasts. On this basis, the company believes it has grown by 2 percentage points to reach approximately 9 % for 2007 as compared to 2006.

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Sony Eriksson has launched new web phones. The company has sites or offices in Europe, Japan, China, India, and America.

It is impossible to ignore the important recent event-related greatly to Sony’s mobile marketing strategies in Japan. This week, WWJ Company held negotiations with Sony Ericsson in order to improve the design process that, actually, animates the ultrafashionable handset industry of Japan. The key issues under discussion were:

  1. Product planning;
  2. Development for overseas;
  3. Design peculiarities of the Japanese market;
  4. New technologies (removable memory and swivel cameras).

It might be said that Sony Ericsson is one of the leading Japanese factories. It is necessary to mention that one of the key challenges for nowadays marketers is the problematic issue of that customers became more demanding than earlier because they can get information about all products easily and compare them. This makes the sphere of product sales very competitive because modern customers can buy “from anyone at any time, anywhere and has access to nearly unlimited information at all times to support them throughout the buying process”. As a result, Corporations, like Sony, must learn to adjust to such situations with the view to increase their businesses.

To follow these trends, Sony implemented such marketing strategies as:

  1. Monitoring of the marketing’s evolvement in response to the modern customer;
  2. Company does the requisite balance between selling and servicing to ensure optimal return on investment;
  3. Company creating, promotes, builds, and maintains customer’s trust through such issues as proper privacy and also data protection measures;
  4. The company provides case studies, examples, and researches from the mobile marketing situation in the whole Asian region.

References

Keshvani, N., & Tickle, S. (2001). Online News: The Changing Digital Mediascape. 99+.

Kodama, M. (2005). Technological Innovation through Networked Strategic Communities: A Study on a High-Tech Company in Japan. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 70(1), 22+.

The Mobile World. (2002). The Futurist, 36, 11.

Mooney, S. (2000). 5,110 Days in Tokyo and Everything’s Hunky-Dory: The Marketer’s Guide to Advertising in Japan. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.

Odagiri, H. (1992). Growth through Competition, Competition through Growth: Strategic Management and the Economy in Japan. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Reaping the Benefit of Mobile Marketing. (2007). The Birmingham Post (England), p. 20.

Simonin, B. L. (1999). Transfer of Marketing Know-How in International Strategic Alliances: An Empirical Investigation of the Role and Antecedents of Knowledge Ambiguity. Journal of International Business Studies, 30(3), 463+.

Thompson, H. (1999). Theory and Practice of Construction Export Marketing. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29(1), 139.

Foonotes

  1. Sony history, 2002.
  2. Mac Daily News, 2008.
  3. New York Times, 1991.
  4. Reuters, 2008.
  5. Jiji Press, 2008.
  6. Ibid.
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