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Brand With A Legacy
‘As a brand we need to ensure that the money is well spent for the sustainable development of the society in which we operate’
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Sony is not just a household name in consumer durables – it is a brand that stands for innovation and quality. It is perhaps, not surprising then that both analysts and the jury for BW Businessworld’s rankings of the Most Respected Companies of 2018, put Sony India in the lead. Established in 1946 with an initial capital of just 190,000 Yen (roughly Rs 119,500 or $1,685) and 20 employees, the Japanese technology giant has today grown into a colossus, with more than 117,300 employees and a market capital of $65.36 billion.
“Sony has been omnipresent across different product categories for decades,” says Hanish Bhatia, Senior Analyst, Devices & Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research. “Indian consumers have seen the transformation of electronics products through the eyes of Sony – from the days of audio cassette players, VCP/VCRs to 4K OLED TVs. It has been deep-rooted in the daily lifestyle of Indian consumers, be it television, gaming consoles, cameras, speakers, and many other products,” says Bhatia, adding, “It enjoys a great reputation, especially in the mass market audio/video product category.” The strength of the brand seems to override its performance in numbers. Even after Sony lost considerable presence in the Indian smartphone market, experts vouch for the legacy of the brand. “Although Sony could not keep up with the rapid evolution of the smartphone industry, there is a nostalgic factor attached with the Sony brand,” says Bhatia.
Richard Rothman, MD, OpenMind Opportunity Consultancy says, “Sony is respected as a legacy brand that is synonymous with Japanese quality electronics. Until about 20 years ago, Sony was also a brand that was synonymous with innovation. Over several decades beginning in the 1950s, it developed trendsetting products such as the transistor radio, Walkman and Playstation.” Rothman says even though, that Sony had failed to develop “successful new category-leading products”, making it a “somewhat stodgy brand.”
Sony India sees its business in India picking up pace after having slowed down in the past few years.
The company is proud of its ethical practices and believes that they make Sony one of the best places to work in. Says Sanjay Bhatnagar, National Head - HR, CSR, Admin. & Facilities, Compliances, Sony India, “2018 has been a successful year for Sony India, especially with the launch of some of the finest premium products in key categories. Driving an integrated business and marketing strategy, our premium products across categories have contributed about 20-25 per cent to the overall revenue.”
Leaders at Sony believe in pursuing an “employee first” approach. “We encourage our employees to take pride in what the brand stands for and believe in the Sony values which have helped us form a very solid foundation.” Even in the domain of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Sony India’s aim is to make a real difference to society through employee participation.
“As a brand we need to ensure that the money is well spent for the sustainable development of the society in which we operate. Sony started its CSR activities from FY14 focussing on areas such as education, environment conservation, animal conservation, old age care, employment for the handicapped, nurturing urban needy children, providing shelters, rehabilitation of the specially-abled community, village development and heritage protection,” says Bhatnagar.
Sony’s Hole-in-the-Wall initiative provides learning stations with Sony televisions and laptops to bring basic education to children through content produced by Sony Global Education. It attracts children across India from communities left behind in India’s growth story.