The Strive of Sony Corporation to Win in the Headphone Market
One of my favorite brands have always been Sony and their headphones are considered as one of the best headphone in the world. However, Sony has been competing in the battle of thrones for best headphone along with Bose,JBL,and so forth for a long history. Bose,etc.these companies offer good quality headphones that are similar, but yet distinguished and urging the other to keep differentiating their own products (Elliott,2017). With this kind of monopolistic competition among Sony and other companies, Bose is known as the most competitive enemy for Sony even though reputation of Sony have already preceded the company itself and others.
What makes Sony so famous and basically everyone have heard about them is that Sony company spend heavily on advertising every year (figure1). In addition, apart from electronic equipment, Sony also focus on filming and digital games, therefore, Sony has already earned a big fame worldwide. It is suggested in the one study that “the large advertising budget reflects on the heavy competition in the electronic industry and when the competition in the industry is as high, the company need to pay deeper attention to their own promotion and marketing”(Pratap,2018, para.17). It is also believed in the same study that Sony’s promoting strategy has played a vital role in helping Sony overcome the majority of competitive stress (Pratap,2018). Besides, thanks to globalization, customers can purchase Sony’s products worldwide at the local stores and even online. In the age of social media, through digital marketing, Sony makes very good use of social medias to targets their clients and to engage them, which brings Sony a large amount of loyal customers (Pratap,2018). Compared to Sony, Bose corporation follows low key advertising policy, which is an opportunity for Sony to make a bigger name in the headphone market, and it is said that “Bose the company reinvest 100% of their profits into their innovation and development”(Bhasin,2019, para.14). The reason why Bose stays competitive is that they strive to innovate and always be the pioneer of atypical features. Even though Sony sometimes needs to “borrow idea” from other companies, but they can always take those ideas into next level and win over combining their superior sound system and high quality audio.
Take noise canceling headphone as an example, noise canceling wireless headphones have become very prevalent in the headphone market these days. In 2016, Bose had launched a unique noise canceling headphone called QuiteControl 30. What makes it so popular is the great feature of noise canceling and easy-carrying. In that year, Bose was trending and all headphone topics talking about was Bose. It certainly did a number on Sony. As Sony annual report of 2017 shows, the sale of home entertainment & sound segment, which included headphone category, decreased 10.4% year-on-year (Consolidated Financial Results of Sony,2017). It was no doubt that Bose’ s noise canceling feature was a great threat to Sony company. In June of 2017, Sony came up with a brand-new headphone called Sony WH-1000XM2 with the same feature of blocking ambient noise. Instead of starting a new trend or continuing to make original headphone, Sony jumped on the train of noise canceling headphone and made their own noise canceling headphone more competitive. Unlike Bose’s QuiteControl headphone, Sony decided to make the headphone over-the-ear form and much more heavier,bigger, in the meanwhile Sony still owns the best sound quality among all the brand. Sony realized that the apple of Bose’ s eye was not unbeaten because of Bose’s initial design of QuiteControl as in-ear form and light. In-ear form means ambient noise is not completely blocked and due to the lightweight design of it, Bose’s headphone has shorter battery life compared to Sony’s new headphone. According to Sony annual report of 2018, the sale of home entertainment & sound segment rose about 18% year-on-year (Consolidated Financial Results of Sony,2018). It is obvious that customers had chosen Sony over Bose because they both have headphone with the same feature while the sound quality of Sony’s step up. By changing of marketing products strategy continuously, Sony deliver its marketing objectives, which is to increase sale of Sony and deliver value to Sony customers and its partners (UKEssays, 2018). By adjusting the products strategy, it is how Sony marketers develop new products and modify their existing offering so that they have value for their customers, clients, partners and the society at large with the aim of maintaining competitive advantages as well as achieving of a sustainable differential advantage in the changed environment (Elliott, 2017).
The example above shows that when Sony encounters an innovation threat from other companies, they can prove itself outstanding to the world in terms of sound quality and design then turn the table by combining noise canceling, which makes the sound quality even more important to customers. However, strong competitor like Bose is very innovative and creative, on the flip side, Sony can be very innovative by adopting other companies’ innovation A into innovation A+ or even come up with their own innovation B based on innovation A. Bose and Sony both are aiming at high-end market by using high-tech electronic components and maintaining their brand a premium image, in other words, they are having similar expensive pricing as well as customers with high expectation toward headphones, so it is not avoidable that they became competitors. Nevertheless, other headphones brand like JBL, they are more likely to attract more customers by their relatively low prices (figure2). Therefore, JBL can still directly influence even though they are actually having two different group of customers in the market. If Sony wants to compete with JBL, it means they have to give up using their most-proud-of sound quality, which will be an unwise option and unlikely to happen.
By promoting heavily and precisely as well as maintaining their superiority—high quality audio, Sony keeps stepping up among other companies and being the top headphone industry in the world.By using its strength and nicely taking the opportunities, Sony keeps holding high place in the market of headphone. By building health relationship with customers and motivating their own employees, Sony keeps loyal customers and internal workplace harmonious. All in all, we can learn from Sony’s promoting and marketing strategy about how they respond to their weakness, threat and how they keep their advantages and seize the opportunity when other companies cannot.
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