As a person that is often chastised by his wife for watching too much TV (I know you men out there can empathize), it was a pleasure, no…a privilege to blog about Sony Electronics’ transition to flat panel TVs.
The discussion was kicked off by Mike Fasulo, CMO of Sony Electronics. Chris Fawcett from Sony and Brad Brinegar of McKinney (Sony’s agency) also joined the discussion.
Mike provided background on Sony’s historical success with engineering of Trinitron and other great products.
The challenge: Sony was late to market with LCD TVs and, as a result, had to partner with Samsung to manufacture these products. So how do you regain market leadership when you’re asking a sizable price premium to the current leader, for products you make on the same production line as one of your competitors?
Sony segmented the market and keyed in on consumers with 2 critical behaviors: those who pay high prices and are early adopters. Sony called these people Techno-socialites.
There are 3 key stages to the consumer electronics buying process:
- Crave – consumers have high interest in purchasing the product. After this stage, consumers wait to buy.
- Worry – because of the complexity of the decision making process, consumers feel angst. After the “worry” phase, consumers buy.
- Enjoy – consumers are happy with their product
Sony’s goal was to minimize the worry in order to keep the consumer from dropping out of the buying process. Even after consumers purchase products, they give up very easily if they take the product home and can’t figure out how to make it work. Confusion also delays the consumer decision making process and leaves them vulnerable to competitive products.
Sales reps in retailers have very poor understanding of the features and attributes of LCD TVs, so Sony realized that they could not rely heavily on retailers to drive their points of differentiation. Therefore, the team’s marketing objective was to make it simple: send consumers to the store already knowing they want to buy a Sony.
Capitalizing on women’s desire for style and men’s desire for picture quality, Sony launched a campaign against the idea that the Sony LCD TV is a way to make both sexes happy. “The world’s first TV for both men and women.” They employed a 360 degree marketing campaign and skewed their media buying to award shows and other media that Techno-socialites tend to watch.
Subsequent to the launch of the new campaign, market share for Sony leapt from 12 to 33.
Taking the men/women concept a step further, Sony partnered with Tivo to choose their own ending to commercials. Some endings appeal to men, and others to women. A very creative concept.