Sony, the stumble of a giant
In my last blog I wrote about the demise of Sony, once the world’s greatest brand. A decline that was visible just by visiting their stores and the complete lack of “buzz”, from a customer viewpoint, as well as a lack of sexy new products, in comparison with Apple.
Yesterday Sony confirmed its slide with a forecast annual loss this year of nearly US$3 billion. In the article referenced below three interesting points stand out:
a) The recently replaced CEO had a penchant and reputation for costs cutting, c.f. innovation;
b) The company has lost the innovative flair that they demonstrated with the Walkman and Play Station; and
c) The company is racked by internal structural problems.
It will be interesting to watch and see if the new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, a 51-year old Sony veteran moves immediately and is able to remedy these potentially deadly issues, and if he does, if it will be sufficient to resurrect this once great company.
The Sony story is again one of a company who lost its focus on the customer and what its brands (products) and overall brand – the Sony name, mean to its customers, while a competitor, picking up on many of Sony’s former virtues effectively took its place on the “brand positioning diagram”.
My learning from Sony then is: always understand what your brand is or needs to be in the eyes of the customers and let nothing distract you from this. Focus the entire company on this and the rest will come right. If you truly understand, connect with and focus on that brand, all other things being equal, you are more likely to enjoy long term success.