Posts Tagged ‘Sony’

A much more global World Cup

June 24, 2010

Watching the World Cup football in the wee small hours, I have been struck by something (other than the horrific refereeing and those damn horns): the tournament sponsors.

This Cup may go down as the real turning point in the global economy where emerging market brands (i.e. those from non-First World nations) stepped out into the public eye. Look at the list of official FIFA partners and sponsors (the ones exciting me are in green):
– Adidas (Germany)
– Coca-Cola (US)
– Emirates (UAE)
– Hyundai-Kia (South Korea)
– Sony (Japan)
– Visa (US)
– Budweiser (US-Belgium-Brazil)
– Castrol (UK – it’s BP-owned)
– Continental (Germany – auto parts and tyres)
– McDonalds (US)
MTN (South Africa – telecoms)
Mahindra Satyam (India – IT and consulting)
Seara (Brazil – foodstuffs)
Yingli Solar (China – solar/energy)

This contrasts very markedly with the list from just 4 years ago: Adidas, Budweiser, Avaya, Coca-Cola, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, Emirates, Fujifilm, Gillette, Hyundai, MasterCard, McDonald’s, Philips, Toshiba, and Yahoo!.

The BRICS firms (well, actually BICS) have stood up in joining the Emirates on the scrolling billboards etc. Building powerful, recognised brands will be the next important step for firms from these emerging giants.

Of course, hosting the tournament is a big rite of passage also (Brazil’s up next), and brands can piggyback on this opportunity. Disappointingly the local South African sponsors (beyond MTN – they are listed on the FIFA link) have not been particularly interesting or international in their focus.

I’m sure we’ll see more familiar brands come Brazil 2014 – Havaianas anyone?


But I’ve already paid!! Sony innovates around willingness to pay

March 31, 2010

In teaching business strategy I spend a bit of time discussing the thorny issue (for firms and scholars) of willingness to pay.  A huge challenge for firms is successfully offering a product or service that customers are willing to pay for, and at a price that allows the firm to make a profit.  There are numerous dimensions in terms of product attributes that customers might consider, and all within a context of competing products and services, and inevitable spending constraints.

One possibility I hadn’t thought about much until today is the issue of a firm’s capacity to alter the product itself post-transaction.  I do live in the vain hope of added benefits (flight upgrades, additions of secret superstar acts to concert line-ups, or a hidden track on a CD), but I wouldn’t expect a firm to actively remove a feature I had already paid for.

Sony have done just that. This week they dropped a bombshell, announcing that they were removing a feature of their Playstation 3 gaming console, namely the scope to run other operating systems through the console. Their rationale is that this will prevent game hacking, but this is not like a patch fixing a software shortcoming, but rather the wholesale removal of functionality.

I am curious as to the legality of altering a product offering ex post, and also to the likely damage to the firm’s reputation in terms of the customer perception of their product offerings.

If I can’t be sure I can keep what I paid for, surely what I’m willing to pay for this gamble will fall?

Thanks to Rui for bringing the announcement to my attention.