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1.4 Scope of the report
The aim of this report is to develop an IMC plan for Sony Blu-way Disc Home Theatre System in Pakistan. The report compiles of the overall IMC mix and focuses on one print media and one support media i.e. magazines and billboards. The target market of Sony is selected and then positioning strategy is defined. The rest of the report focuses on the response hierarchy model to develop objectives and prepare a prototype of both mediums that will help Sony achieve its identified objectives. All information presented in the report is achieved from articles, books, internet websites and financial company reports.
Sony- About the Company 2
Sony Corporation was founded on 7th May 1946 in Japan. It is one of largest multinational media corporations having variety of businesses. The headquarters are located in Tokyo Japan. Sony is one of the leading manufacturers of electronics, video, communications, video game consoles, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. The product range varies from televisions to microphones to media players. (Sony Corporation, 2009, Pulse)
Sony started off with Japans first tape recorder in the 1950s with their latest production being in 2008 of a unique speaker system, "Sountina." The one-meter-tall speaker emits high quality, natural-sounding audio in 360 degrees from the organic vibrating tube. (Sony Corporation, 2010, Sony Corp. Info)
Sony has around 180,500 employees and revenue of ¥7.730 trillion / $79.618 billion. Over the years Sony has produced standards of floppy disk, compact disk, blu-ray disk, etc.
Sony has a range of home theatre systems each one of them having its own features. The BDV-E800W Blu-ray Discâ„¢ Home Theatre System supports the latest HD audio codecs and virtual 7.1ch surround Sound, for crystal-clear cinematic audio. In addition, the XrossMediaBarâ„¢ interface provides intuitive access to settings and content. It is an extremely high quality product with an expensive price. It is rated as 4.75 out of 5 according to an expert rating. (IDG Communications, 2010, Sony BDV-E800W Home Theatre System)
2.3 Competitive Analysis
Sony's main competitors in Blu-ray home theatre systems are LG HB954WA and Panasonic SCBT207W with having a price lesser than them but reviews have shown Sony having a better rating than its competitors. The design and styling is compared to be impressive and elegant as compared to others. Sony has been investing a lot of money for advertising to keep its position and name valuable in the eyes of the consumers. (Videopro, 2009, Blu-ray Home Theatre Systems).
2.4 Market Segmentation & Target Market
As the products are marketed in Pakistan, the target market would consist of several niche markets and many other market segments. The markets would include the elite class society who have a high income and can afford the product for luxury, middle-aged business personnel who are young and enjoy music and high quality pictures, average-income earners who would purchase the product to enjoy status-quo and young graduates who are working in the corporate sector.
As, Sony has intended to sell the new Blu-ray Disc Home Theatre System it should focus on those target markets where the product would be successful and efforts/resources would be least wasted. So, according to the geographic, demographic, socioeconomic, psychographic and behavior a niche market of high-income earners will be targeted. This is illustrated further in Table 2.1 as follows.
Location: Bigger cities such as Islamabad, Karachi, Faisalabad, Peshawar & Lahore where the majority of high-income earners could be found
Age: 22-55 yrs
Lifestyle: Contemporary, status conscious & tech-savvy
Awareness and intentions: Aware, interested, intending to buy
City Size: 900-4000 km square
Education: Graduates, Business personnel.
Hobbies: Music, TV lovers
Involvement: Special effort
Gender: Male, female
Entertainment: Movies, Youth Magazines
Outlet type: Authorized Sony retails
Marital Status: Never married, married, separated, divorced.
Benefits sought: quality, value for money, after-sale-service, 5-year warranty
Life stage: Youth, collegiate, adult, senior.
Income: RS 80,000- 400,000
(Source: Belch & Belch 2008)
Positioning Strategy- Perceptual Map 3
Product positioning enables a business to create a customer-focused plan determining why the product should be purchased by the target market (Kotler 2002). Perceptual mapping is a method of evaluating the position of a product in relation to other products in the market (Hall et al. 2004).
The Sony Blu-ray disc home theatre system is positioned in a unique niche market that is particularly for contemporary individuals who are status conscious with a distinct high earning. The product incorporates the latest technology that allows viewers to watch movies, pictures and play games at an incomparable high definition quality. Sony also has a high-quality brand image hence consumers will prefer buying its products over competitors since it is targeted at status conscious buyers. Hence, the product's positing is based on positioning by product attributes/benefits and by price/quality. This is explained below by the help of a perceptual map that is focused on the current positing strategy of Sony i.e. positioning by price/quality, where cost is considered secondary to quality and benefits achieved from using the brand (Belch & Belch 2008)!
Figure 3.1 below draws the perceptual map for Sony Blu-ray disc home theatre systems.
NOTE: Direct Blu-ray Home Theatre Competitors
Basic Home Theatre Competitors
Response Hierarchy 4
4.1 Information Processing Model
Information processing model is most likely the best possible response hierarchy model for the promotion of Sony Blu-ray Disc home theatre system. This model works best since it enables consumers to retain information and knowledge that will be used to make a purchase based on a long-term recall. This is vital to Sony as competitors keep advertising for similar products and if an ad fails to grab the viewer's attention in the long run, the entire campaign would lose its soul. As Sony is aiming to sell an expensive product, it is natural that consumers will evaluate and comprehend deeper and would like to seek as much as possible information for the product. Strong competitors and their lower prices enforce Sony to incorporate a calm and detailed hierarchy model, thus the product belongs to the information processing model in this case (Belch & Belch 2008).
Figure 4.1 illustrates an information processing model.
Information Processing Model
(Source: Belch & Belch 2008)
As shown in figure 4.1, the information processing model allows potential buyers to go through a series of stages. At first, potential customers are exposed to the product and are presented with various specifications of the home theatre systems through advertisements. This would grab their attention and thereby increase their interest in the product. They would then be thoughtful about the product and comprehend/contrast Sony's and the competitor's ads. This would then yield the customers to develop positive feelings for the product and generate a strong feel to make a purchase. Now, viewers are able to recall the advertisement and product as the ads were able to make its way into their minds and has stayed in their memory for a long period of time. Finally, potential customers will be purchasing Sony home theatres since they have gone through detailed stages to come this far- thus the campaign is successful!
Table 4.1, below illustrates the types of advertising/promotion mediums that may be used at different stages of the information processing model.
Magazines, Billboards, Official Website, Television
Demos, Online Videos
Discounts, Prize coupons
Magazines, Billboards, T.V
Point of Sale Display
Foote, Cone & Belding Grid 5
The Foote, Cone and Belding (FCB) planning model explains the four important advertising planning strategies i.e. informative, affective, habit formation and satisfaction. The information processing model of the response hierarchy will be evaluated in this model (Belch & Belch 2008).
The FCB planning model is illustrated below in figure 5.1.
1. Informative (thinker)
Car, house, furnishings, new products
Model: Learn - Feel - Do (economic)
Test: Recall, Diagnostics
Media: Long copy format
Creative: Specific Information, Demonstration
2. Affective (feeler)
Jewelry, cosmetics, fashion, apparel, motorcycles
Model: Feel - Learn - Do (psychological)
Test: Attitude change, emotional arousal
Media: Large space, Image specials
Creative: Executional impact
3. Habit Formation (doer)
Food, household items
Model: Do - Learn - Feel (responsive)
Media: Small space ads, 10 second ads, POS
4. Self-satisfaction (reactor)
Cigarettes, liquor, candy
Model: Do - Feel - Learn (social)
Media: Billboards, newspapers, POS
(Source: Belch and Belch 2008)
Sony Blu-ray disc home theatre system will fall into quadrant 1 that is based on informative strategy. Since, the product is expensive and highly involving thus rational thinking and economic considerations will be taken into account by buyers. The information processing model discussed earlier is most appropriate for such an item where potential buyers need to think and comprehend all that is around them before making their decision. It is also outlined that Sony will have to define all the product specifications in its advertisements to spread knowledge about the product and its attributes. This will justify the consumer's purchase for such an expensive item. However, certain individuals might just buy a home theatre as a status symbol and would not think rationally but rather emotionally. This is not in line with our earlier response hierarchy model and the FCB matrix has identified a problem for the advertising team! Thus, advertisements may need to be more executional and creative than as thought before. Hence, it is concluded that not all advertisements will result in a sequel and systematic manner as explained by the informational processing model earlier (Belch & Belch 2008).
IMC Objectives 6
IMC objectives will be developed according to the response hierarchy model i.e. first achieving lower level objectives and then moving to higher level ones such as presentation, attention, comprehension, yielding, retention and then finally behavior. These will be accompanied by the communication effects pyramid, where the initial objectives are stated at bottom of the pyramid and slowly proceeding to higher ones. Simply put, the communication effects pyramid would determine the actual benefits in set pattern and in a certain time frame (Belch & Belch 2008).
Time period 1 year (1 July 2009 to 31 June 2010)
Presentation/Exposure: Reaching out to maximum number of people in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad & Karachi. Making heavy income earners aware of the home theatre system through elite lifestyle magazines and others forms of print media, T.V, internet etc. Time period is first 3 months (July-September).
Attention: Identifying the features and benefits of the product in such a way they are catch and grasp at least the attention of 70-75% of the target audience. This could be done through demonstrating demos on the company's website to spread the knowledge about the product. Time period is 1 month (October)
Comprehension: Developing techniques in the promotional methods that provide a competitive edge, so consumers can see the difference than what other competitors are offering. The focus here would be to attain 45-55% of the target audience. This maybe done through online testimonials, pop=ups, etc. Time period is 2 months (November-December)
Yielding: Sony would give away discount cars and coupons to allow customers to perceive the product and the company in a positive way. Here the target would be to gain 40% of the target market. Time period is 2 months (January-February)
Retention: .At this stage, advertisements on magazines, billboards or television may serve as a reminder about the products effectiveness and the consumers correct decision for buying it. The target market should be captured around 25-35%. Time period is 2 months (March-April)
Behavior: Customers should be forced to feel in a way where they feel the need to buy the product. Point of sale displays would aid greatly at this stage. The aim of this should be that at least 10-15% of the target market steps forward to purchase Sony blu-ray disc home theatre systems. This will be observed in the last 1 month of the plan- May-June.
Below is Figure 6.1, which shows the communication effects period for Sony Blu-ray disc home theatre systems.
(Source: Belch & Belch 2008)
IMC Mix 7
The IMC mix consists of six different elements, each of them having its unique features. There are advantages and disadvantages for every element but to make profits and keep the company running, these elements need to be used. They are linked to one another and are one kind of advertising. For Sony home theatre, all of the elements must be used except for personal selling as this would be more costly and time consuming.
Advertising is effective in such a way that the masses get to know about the product. TV commercials can be aired on family channels about Sony home theatre especially after cricket breaks as the majority of the population is crazy about the sport.
Sales promotion, e-marketing, direct marketing and public relations are considered a type of advertising.
Sales promotion assists in increasing the target audience through marketing of their products by giving incentives or adding value.
Direct marketing can be used to contact the loyal consumers directly through mail, telephone, internet, etc. Each of them is linked and knit together to one another.
Internet marketing or advertising through the internet not only helps to save cost but also reach consumers all over the globe.
Publicity: Having excellent public relations helps to keep the company in a good shape in the eyes of the consumers as well as the competitors. This gives and edge to the company over other organizations.
7.2 Creating a synergy
The best way of integrating the IMC elements is by using Information processing model which has three stages being cognitive, affective and behavioural. In the first stage, presentation, attention and comprehension are the processes which Sony focuses on its each advertisement whether on the TV or the print and support media. Sony always tries to grasp the consumer attention by creating unique advertisements and giving them awareness and knowledge about the product in the comprehension process.
The second stage through which the consumer passes is the affective stage which has the yielding and retention process in which the consumer starts to like the product the information given by the advertisement retains in the consumers mind.
The last is the behavioral stage in which the consumer makes the mind of purchasing the product. It may not be instant but the information perceived will make the consumer to purchase it in the future.
Promotional Mediums 8
8.1 Print Media
According to the theory print media is classified into two major groups i.e. newspapers and magazines (Belch & belch 2008). In this case, magazines are considered a better source of advertising. There are certain reasons for selecting magazines, the target market for Sony home entertainment theatre ranges from the age of 22-55 years and the people interested in buying such a product have a income level above Rs. 80,000/month. These people are more interested in magazines like Us, Times, Fashion, She, Posh and Aurora. The other reason for selecting magazines is these magazines are distributed in all the major cities of Pakistan and most of the population of the target market is residing in these major cities including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad.
8.2 Support Media
Billboards are considered to be a part of traditional support media, as it has been there from ancient times (Belch & Belch 2008). Billboards have a unique tendency to attract people because they encounter them several times a day and they remember what they see every day (Bastern 2007). For Sony Home Theatre billboards would be very appealing for the customers if these billboards are located on the main highways including Motorway, Islamabad highway, GT road and other newly built avenues because these highways and avenues handle most of the traffic streams every day. Another favorable location for these billboards is the super markets in the heart of the main cities.
8.3 Advantages of Magazines & Billboards
Although magazines have comparatively much smaller coverage but it will enable Sony to reach its specific target market conveniently. In magazines ads can be placed at a certain part or article of relevance this can increase the effectiveness of the ad to a great extent, like placing the home entertainment ad along with the showbiz news can be effective. Other advantages include the longer span of life compared to other print media. They are read several times and are often kept for references are exchanged among friends or family which also attracts some potential customers. These magazine ads are much cheaper. Loyalty is another advantage, the readers of these magazines are generally loyal and the keep on purchasing it again and again so it is assured that the target market is getting the required message (Long K 2007).
As Sony Home Theatre Blu-Ray is a new products in the market the well reputed magazine like Aurora, Times and Posh will have a complete description of the product and accessories along with it. These magazines will communicate the value offered by Sony to its target audience. As the target audience of the product is huge and is further categorized different magazines are selected to attract these customers.
Billboards are very cost effective.
They are also targeted towards a huge potential market.
Due to the repeated exposure they will also help Sony in brand awareness and brand recognition.
The concise messages on these billboards are more attractive.
It reaches to all people even if they are not interested in the product.
These boards are placed according to the products location (Tendick R 2007).
The billboards of Sony home theatre will be placed in super market and main highways, it will draw the attentions of consumers. In order to reach the customers in all the main cities these billboards will be place on GT road, Motorways and Islamabad highway and some main markets like Anarkali, Jinnah market, Gulberg and Clifton. In the Pakistani market Sony is amongst the most trustworthy brand. So according to the information processing model, these ads will gain the attention of the consumers and will speed up the rest of the process.
8.4 Disadvantages of Magazines & Billboards
The audience of magazines is less as compared to other medium, so the brand awareness is lesser.
In regards to the format and placement flexibility is limited.
In order to advertise in magazines like Aurora & Times, the ad needs to be prepared months before it needs to be published.
Costs go higher with specific requirements about the placement of ads.
Marketing is all about the right thing at the right time. If there is any delay in the making of ad or its publication, it can cost Sony a huge amount of money because the competitor will never wait. Some of the potential customers might not be reached because of this medium.
It takes a lot of creativity and time to make them.
Billboards not only target to a specific segment they address masses so it must be suitable for all.
In many cities it is very hard to find billboards and they are rented for a longer period of time.
The maximum time spent on watching it is 10 second or even less.
The size of the board might hinder the creativity of the ads.
If there is any hindrance in creativity of the ad or the message is not completely delivered because of the size of the billboard the product can be badly affected. And even if people are aware of the Home Theater they will be encouraged to adopt the product. If these billboards fail to encourage customers it will be a waste.
8.5 Objectives Achieved Through Magazines & Billboards
Print media and support will enable Sony to present the product to the target market and gain their attention. These magazines will provide all the information to them and the billboards will help gain their attention and help in the retention process encouraging customers to comprehend the product. Sony is the first company to introduce Blu-Ray home theater in Pakistan so it has a competitive advantage in Pakistan's market. Once the news has spread special discount offers will be made for the customer. Billboards placed on the roads and super markets will remind the customer that they need to buy the product and they will move towards purchasing the product.
8.6 Creative Strategy
8.6.1 Print Media (Magazines)
The advertisement made of the Sony Home Theatre for the magazine is made in a simple but elegant way, the way Sony always wants to promote its products by giving their customers a lifetime experience. Informational appeal is used in the advertisement by telling the consumers about the product and mentioning the new features in the home theatre system. The price is also mentioned showing the limited time offer so that consumers know that the product is being sold at the price for only specific time duration. The wording used "entertaining the future" has a deep meaning inside it and would amaze the audience creating a need to purchase the product. The colors are kept simple, just black and white but the image used for the product is extremely appealing. The execution technique being used is the straightforward presentation of product information.
8.6.2 Support Media (Billboards)
The billboard advertisement has the emotional appeal by using the celebrity Criss Angel who does various stunts and magic tricks. This shows that Sony's home theatre has the same magic effects if the consumer purchases it. The advertisement is made in a very eye catchy way because usually people are driving and seeing the billboards so they have less time to read and remember the information written on it thus this advertisement has just the slogan " Make. Believe" which can force the consumer to love the product and purchase it in the near future. The picture displayed on the advertisement of the product is exceptionally good using the imagery tactic for the execution of the ad.
All the relevant theories of integrated marketing communications and explanation about the Sony Home Theatre system have been well elucidated and intact in ways which create all the expected rationalism. The understanding of Sony Home theatre as a product with new and unique features is being promoted in Pakistan to a certain target market has been well organized with all the stages through information processing model. Further focusing on creating awareness and secondly the promotional technique to be used has been well explained. So the logic of consistency is well maintained and aligns with crux of the assignment.
Sony home theatre should not only be advertising their products on the one single print media instead multiple mediums of communication to the consumers must be used. Budget should be allocated in the research department as the number of consumers is increasing and their requirements are varying. Sony should open more display centers such as in cities like Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, etc where there is tendency of having potential customers. Since competitors are growing day by day, Sony has to look for competitive advantage through creativity and innovation.
List of References
Belch, G & Belch, M (2008). Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communication Perspective (Seventh Edition). McGraw Hill Australia Pty ltd.
Hall, Dave., Jones. & Raffo. (2004). Business Studies. (Third Edition). China: Causeway Press Ltd.
IDG Communications, 2010, Good Gear Guide: Sony BDV-E800W Home Theatre System Review, date accessed: 2 January 2010, <http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/review/home_entertainment/sony/bdv-e800w/331422>[online]
Kotler, Philip. (2002). Marketing Management. (Eleventh Edition). India: Pearson Prentice Hall Inc.
Long, A 2007, Advertising In Magazines - The Advantages Of Using This Print Media 04 Dec., p.10, date accessed: 5 January 2010, <http://www.isavesmart.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=336&Itemid=307> [online]
Sony Corporation, 2009, Pulse: Sony Online Magazine, date accessed: 5 January 2010, <http://content.sony.com.au/homepage/pulse/issue23/pulse_viewer.html> [online]
Sony Corporation, 2010, Sony Global: Product & Technology Milestones - Home Audio, date accessed: 2 January 2010, <http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/CorporateInfo/History/sonyhistory-a.html> [online]
Tendick, R 2007, The Many Benefits of Billboard Advertising, 31 Jul., p.12, date accessed: 5 January 2010, < http://searchwarp.com/swa238593.htm>. Videopro, 2009, Blu-ray Home Theatre Systems: Compare Blu-ray Home Theatre Systems on Sale¸ date accessed: 2 January 2010, <http://www.videopro.com.au/cf-63--blu-ray-home-theatre-systems.> [online]
Magazine- Print Ad