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Consumer Perception of Sony Brand

Methodology Used By Sony For Consumer Perception

Study of Consumer Perception of Sony Brand

Within the context of Sony Corporation, branding is very significant part for the success of the organization and for retaining its customers. Branding helps in enhancing the image of the company and brings prosperity, it also creates a perception of high quality and improves and enhances the image of the company regarding the quality of the product. This research focuses on the concept of building the brand image and its importance for the growth of business of Sony. It also focuses on the past performances and what went wrong in the past years which resulted in the decreasing brand value of the company (Corporate Strategy meeting, 2012).

This study sought to evaluate the consumer perception regarding the brand image of Sony Corporation.

This paper presents research on consumer perception on brand image of Sony Corporation. The data analysis is presented in accordance with a careful sampling outline of 100 respondents through questionnaires. The paper concludes by recommendations and suggestions for further improvement of branding management in the Sony Corporation.

1. INTRODUCTION

Branding is an important exercise for organization in today’s world. It has become very important for a company to establish its own brand image in order to exist in the market for long run and building a strong relationship with the customers. Almost all multinational companies now have a different brand management department, as they have understood the significance of brands therefore proper strategies and tactics should be used to build a brand image of an organization (Coupland, 2005).

The branded products did not arrive in the market suddenly; there was a transform from simple products to branded products. This reform gained its popularity in middle of 20th century, when the companies felt the requirement to differentiate its products from its competitors. The companies wanted their products to be known for its quality and name so that they could easily attract customers and distinguish from other products, Companies like Unilever, Procter and Gamble in 1950 started developing its brand value through proper management; as they noticed that they needed to differentiate their products from the rest of the competitors (Kalafut, Low and Robinson, 1997). To give a product an identity was the responsibility of the brand manager. Thus the companies realized that it was important to understand the consumers and target them, that it to do brand proposition that did not only offer functional value but also the emotional value. Through branding they could win the trust of the customers and by which they could charge high premium on the branded products. In the year 1950 to 1960, many companies like Lipton, Kraft and Tide managed to establish their brands through outstanding marketing, creating an example of branding for the companies worldwide. This was all possible due to their better understanding of customers and getting the perfect brand mix. Branding is not only about logo or price; it includes all the P’s of marketing that is promotion, packaging etc (Aakar and Jacobson, 1987).

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1.1.1 Brand

A brand is the image or idea of a particular service or product, that consumers unite with, by identifying the design, name, logo or slogan of the company or firm who owns the image or idea. A brand can also be defined as a design, name or symbol that identifies one or more than one product and it is something that is bought by the consumers (Ambler, 2003). A brand is set of hope and relations evoked from experience with a product or company. Furthermore, it is all about how consumers feel and think about what the product or company can deliver across the board. Buying a branded product represents the personality and lifestyle of the consumers. Now a day’s brands as become a l prestige for people. Therefore organizations should be careful in building a brand as it represents the lifestyle and personality of the consumers (Dahlhoff , Rao and Agrawal, 2004).

The basic difference between a product and a brand is as follows:

Branding includes lot of elements, not only an logo of the price of the product, but there are various other aspects that has to be kept in mind or implement during the branding of the product. The tangible parts that are included in branding of a product for an organizations are: banners that shows the product and its tag line, logo etc; business cards should be prepared in such a ways which promotes the brand and represents the brand; mailing labels should also promote the brand; newsletter, snail mail, emails that includes the brand logo and signature; product tags’ portraits and avatars of the branded product; enclosure cards; doing advertisement of the product and the company, blog badges and handouts for in person events (Fournier, 1998). The components of brands are the logo, design, tag line and are packaging style. It is called branding, when set of activities are done to build a brand. In building of a brand, continuous marketing has to be done so that the position of brand keeps on increasing or at least stays stable. There are different ways, process and strategies used for building a brand by different organization according to the circumstances and the consumer perception with which they are dealing (Gutman and Reynolds, 1988).

1.1.2 Leading brands

The brand which has the maximum percentage sales in a particular product area is known as leading brand. Examples of leading brands are: Sony, Coca- cola, Microsoft etc. The leading brands enjoy a good market share, and there is always a consumer perception that the leading brands provide best products, which helps the company in increasing its profit.

Some of the general features of leading brands are:

The main objectives of a strong and leading brand it to deliver or convey the message to its potential customers clearly without any misinterpretation, motivating people to buy the products or use the services, to maintain and enhance the trust level of the consumers for the brand (Elliott and Ritson, 1999).

1.2 Benefits of Branding For an Organization

Branding is very useful for the organization has it provides lot of advantages to the company and its management. The main advantage of branding for the organization is that customers do not easily forget the brand, the name or logo and its stays in the mind of the potential customers as well as the people who did not buy the product. Even if a person is unaware about a particular product then also it will buy that product if the brand is familiar to him or her, as branding helps in building loyalty between the brand and the customers (Fahey, Srivastava and Shervani, 1998). Therefore it can be said that recognition and loyalty is the significant advantage of the branding of the products.

The other advantage is that it enhances the image of the company and brings prosperity. A strong brand helps the company to appear big then it is in reality. It gives the customers a perception that it is a huge company with huge business and with the capability of spending money on promotions and advertisement. To win the loyalty of the customers it is important for the management to ensure that the company is to stay for a long period of time, then only the trust of consumers can be won and that is possible by enhancing the image size of the company (Srull, 1984).
A strong brand also creates a perception of high quality that is it enhances the image of quality of products in the mind of the consumers. For instant an experiment was done by the experts, two similar products were kept and were asked whose quality was better, most of the respondents assumed that the branded product was of superior quality, hence it can be said that there is perception among the customers that the strong brands always have high quality than the other products. Thus it improves and enhances the image of the company regarding the quality of the product (Aaker, 1997).

Branding creates an image in the mind of customers in terms of experience and reliability. It is easier for the customers to rely on the branded products then simple normal products. Most people believe that a company with strong brand would never compromise its quality for some mere profit, thus branding helps in creating image of experience and reliability in the eyes of the consumers. Once the company establishes a strong brand it always has an option of linking itself to other products, thus after creating a strong brand, a company can try investing in other line of products, as consumer would still trust the brand and buy other line products too (Kotler, Philip, Ang, Leong and Tan,1999). By just putting the name of the same brand on any other service will make the customer buy the product of it has trust on that brand. For example Sony Corporation deals with various kind of product line that television sets to video players, motion picture, camcorders; consoles etc. has people buy their products on the brand name of Sony Corporation. Thus branding helps the organizations in introducing the multiple products (Dobscha and Mick, 1998).

1.3 Background of the organization

Sony Corporation is a Japanese conglomerate and public multinational company headquartered in Mianto- ku in Tokyo, Japan. It was founded on 7th May 1946 and the founder of Sony is Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, Sony is operated worldwide and has 162,700 employees as per 2012. It provides services in the field of banking, insurance, credit finance, advertising agency and financial services. In Sony the present chairman of the board is Sir Howard Stringer, the current president and CEO is Kazuo Hirai and vice chairman is Ryoji Chunachi (Thompson, Pollio and Locander, 1994). It is one of the leading companies in terms of electronic products. Sony had also focused on games, music, entertainment , for instant Sony picture entertainment for motion pictures, Sony computer entertainment for games, Sony financial holding for financial services, Sony music entertainment for music and fir music publishing they introduced Sony/ ATV music publishing (Epstein and Westbrook, 2001).

Sony has been a market leader in terms of innovation; it was the first company to build Walkman in the year 1979 and played a pivotal role in the development of CD, DVD, Super Audio CD technologies and Blu-ray Disc. In present it deals with various products like Sony Tablet, headphones, mobiles, series of PlayStation, Laptops as VAIO notebooks which are popular products worldwide. It also has a good television product range such as NEX, HDTV, SLT, digital camera Cyber-shot, DSLR Cameras, LCD, BRAVIA 3D, LCD high definition etc (Green and Srinivasan, 1978).

The reason behind the strong branding since its foundation is due to its quality, marketing strategies, brand image and innovative products. Due to this factor, the Sony became a strong brand. Samsung and Apple are giving tough competition to the Sony in recent times in matters of innovative products. Every year Sony is losing its market share due to the economic crisis, tough competition and many other reasons (Whitlark, 1995). Therefore it has become important for Sony to change its strategies in order to gain back its position in the market. The trends and needs of customers are changing very quickly thus it has become very important for Sony to cope up with the changes, as its competitors like Apple and Samsung have understood the changing style of the consumer behavior and have adopted themselves according the changing business environment. To regain its position in the market, Sony has to go through a complete brand revival and adopt new and different marketing and brand strategies (Deltenre and Arnaus, 2009).

The brand image of Sony started decreasing in 2006 as it slipped from the position 18th to 26th in terms of brand value. There were many reasons behind losing brand image, for instant Samsung had captured all the opportunities in the digital market in terms of technology, which affected the business of Sony. Sony was no longer able to produce innovative and new products and was under huge pressure to compete with the competitors like Samsung mainly since digital products became the major stream (Keller, Kevin and Lehm, Ann, Donald, 2003).

1.4 Rationale of the Research

Brands helps in many aspects like attracting and developing relationship with its clients, retaining its customers, and maintaining long and strong relationship with its clients. In order to induce good relationship with the customers, it is important to create a brand image of the company. Therefore, the research highlights the significance of the branding of a company in the context of Sony Corporation, to know the brand image of Sony from customer’s point of view and identifying the current brand image of Sony. To understand the concepts regarding the past performance of the Sony Corporation and the concept of branding in the minds of consumers, the research was conducted. The research revolves around analyzing the brand image of Sony and to identify the gap between the brand identity and brand image of the Sony Corporation. This research also aims in finding out the suggestions and recommendations by the experts and customer, so that those suggestion could be analyzed and be beneficial for the explaining of the branding strategies of Sony Corporations.

1.5 Significance of the Research

This study will be help companies to understand the value of branding and also guide Sony in understanding in its branding strategies. This study will also be useful to the instructors and students who are interested in studying and analyzing the strategies implemented and different branding methods for enhancing the image of the company. Moreover, this research will provide recommendations on how to improve the brand image of Sony in accordance to different respective fields. It will also serve as a future reference for researchers on the subjects of consumer perception of Sony brand. This research would prove a breakthrough for the people who want to do research and the students who are studying branding of companies and organizations for them this research would prove as a learning resource.

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1.6 Aim of the Research

The foremost aim of the research report is to know the customer perception about the brand image of Sony Corporation. This research is also done to understand the brand value and its drawbacks in the branding strategy of the Sony Corporation.

1.7 Objectives of the Research

To recognize the concept and importance of branding in context with Sony:This research also focuses on studying the concept of branding. It includes in detail study about the various aspects related to the branding such as brand identity, brand image, how to build a brand etc. Branding is a continuous exercise and it takes years to develop a brand. There are numerous stages in brand development. This research identifies the components which made Sony a Brand. Further, it involves study of significance of branding in different areas of business such as in increasing revenue, improving customer satisfaction and meeting their expectations. In order to achieve this objective secondary data about branding (views and researches on the topic) is conducted.

1.8 Research Questions

a) What is the importance of branding in an organisation Sony Corporation?

b) What is the consumer perception of customers about Sony Corporation?

c) What are the improvements Sony Corporation can make for enhancement of the brand image?

1.9 The Structure of the Dissertation

The dissertation structure comprises of the following:

After the front page, Abstract is given which is the summary of the dissertation. Then the table of content and table of figures is given which shows the complete index of the research and gives an idea about the topics and figures covered in the dissertation, after that acknowledgement is given by the researcher. After that the first part is the introduction, which consists of the basic information about brand, leading brands and the background about the organization Sony Corporation. It also includes the significance of the project to the researchers and students and the aim and objectives of the project to know the importance of the brand image of an organization in context with Sony.

The Literature review is a description of what has been published or available on a subject by credited researchers and scholars, it is kind of a composition of the views of different authors and scholars about the related topic. In this the literature review has been done to have an understanding about the brands and branding, to know how brands act as an business asset, to know about the different techniques used for good brand management. The review has also been done to know the background and history of the Sony Corporation. To have an understanding about the brand image of Sony and about its decreasing brand value, to understand the process of consumer perception and their behavior and to have a knowledge about the consumer perception regarding the brands. There has been also a brief review about the reasons behind the decreasing brand value and image of the Sony Corporation.

Research methodology, is the section where you provide reasons for choosing particular methods of research and what are the different tools and ways used in the research project.
The final part of the research will briefly define the result of this study, that is the finding and analysis of data which involves a number of directly connected processes which are performed with the purpose of abbreviating the collected data and arranging these in a manner that they justify the research objectives. The findings and data analysis is where you give the data created during the course of research and evaluate them. In this project it is done in brief on the basis of qualitative data.

In Conclusion and recommendations we include results of our research project and new ideas, it also includes a indication on doing the research learning and also recognize ways in which youmight take the effort further as added research or investigation, in this research report the conclusion and recommendation is drawn in the end in which you sum up your result and signify conclusions from them, perhaps in relation to findings and research literature.

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