Business – Sony Ericsson shows off its new colours
Almost eight years back when Japanese consumer electronics company Sony Corporation and Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson forged a partnership to make cell phones, an artist designed the liquid-eye crystal logo of Sony Ericsson on a napkin in a restaurant. It had just one colour — emerald green.
Last month, Sony Ericsson decided to add seven new colours to the logo in keeping with the change in the idea of entertainment and the convergence of devices over these years. The company also adopted the Sony brand message ‘make.believe’ in all consumer communication to reinforce its entertainment credentials and collaboration with the Sony Group.
This global campaign is focusing on India as one of the key regions and supports Sony Ericsson’s new entertainment products -– the Aino, Satio and Yari — which it launched today. A series of strategic marketing campaigns over the next few weeks will launch the realigned visual identity and showcase the start of make.believe at Sony Ericsson, including a ‘spark something’ viral campaign for the new phones. The one-month campaign will start on November 6 and will be seen in TV, print, online, malls and cinema halls.
Fusing communication and entertainment has been at the core of Sony Ericsson’s offering since the start of the joint venture, according to Anil Sethi, President, Sony Ericsson India. He says: “Our realigned brand will play a vital part of our strategy in India to be seen as a communication entertainment brand. Everything that we have done to date has brought us to this point – we created the music phone category in 2005 selling over 100 million Walkman phones and we are now ready to unveil the next chapter in the evolution of the company.”
Sony Ericsson will also expand the appeal of its ‘liquid identity’ logo “by not only adding the new colour variations but also a new ‘liquid energy’ flowing from the logo to make it more playful and visually appealing for the digital arena”.
Even the make.believe has a bigger message than meets the eye, says Sethi. “‘Make” stands for action while ‘Believe’ stands for reality. The dot in between the two words represents the convergence of make and believe,” he adds.
Known best for its Walkman and Cybershot brands, Sony Ericsson also aims to adopt a more open and questioning attitude by inviting greater consumer participation in the brand through a stronger focus on interactive digital and social media channels. “This is where our target audience — the youth — is,” asserts Sethi.
Sony was earlier a marginal player in the global cellphone market with a share of less than 1 per cent in 2000. It was also struggling in this area with losses but wanted to focus more on this area. By August 2001, Sony and Ericsson had finalised the terms of the merger announced in April.
In India, though, research firm IDC figures reveal that Nokia is a leader with almost 57 per cent marketshare. Samsung follows with around 7.7 per cent and LG with 5.4 per cent. Where does that leave Sony Ericsson?
“We do not talk about market share. But consider this. Around 80 per cent of all handsets are priced at Rs 4,000 and below. And most of our handsets are priced at the mid- and high-end bracket — which means, above Rs 4,000. So are we talking about marketshare within this 20 per cent bracket? It’s a meaningless discussion,” counters Sethi. “All that matters,” he says, “is that the youth love our brand”.
Sony Ericsson currently distributes its brand primarily through its 47 “experience” stores (which it plans to expand), Sony Centres and Exclusives (smaller stores), multi-brand outlets like Chroma and “mom and pop” stores. “This strategy is working for us,” says Sethi, “Why tamper with it?”.
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