Prasun Kumar, Head - Marketing, Sony Ericsson, talks about what differentiates Sony Ericsson’s products and campaigns from the rest in the market

Offering a more engaging music experience has been the core strength of Sony Ericsson in its strategy to woo more consumers towards its handsets. Taking forward the legacy of ‘Walkman’ phones, the company has recently launched its new offering, ‘Live with Walkman’ – an Android smartphone in the Indian market. Backed by an integrated campaign that includes mediums like TV, print, BTL, digital and out-of-home, as the company says, the product offers an innovative music experience in a more engaging and wholesome way than its predecessors like W8 and Mix Walkman. 4Ps B&M speaks to Prasun Kumar to discuss the marketing plans for this product. With more than 15 years of experience, Kumar has worked with Capital, McCann Erickson, Madison Media, General Motors and Levi’s. Before moving to Sony Ericsson in January last year, he was the Director - Brand and Marcom at MTS and was credited with the successful launch of MTS in India by positioning it as a modern data brand. At Sony Ericsson, Kumar is focused on making Sony Ericsson one of the most preferred brands of the Indian consumer while staying true to the core strengths of the handset maker.

Sony Ericsson’s products stress a lot on entertainment; mainly music. Does that make any difference in the way you judge the performance of your campaigns that showcase such products?
We keep our campaigns relevant trying to make a strong connect with the TG. At the same time, they should meet the ultimate objective. There are many parameters to evaluate a campaign. There are hardcore marketing parameters including brand parameters, media parameters, business parameters to judge a performance of any campaign. We look at all these parameters when it comes to evaluating the performance of any campaign that we do. The fundamental job of any campaign is to help sell more and work towards establishing the proposition of the brand in the mind of the consumer in a differentiated manner.

Your latest offering Live With Walkman is a smartphone, but from its positioning, it sounds more of music. What is the thought that went behind crafting such a campaign for this offering?
As a brand, Sony Ericsson is known for communication and entertainment. Over the years, through our products and various propositions we have always differentiated ourselves on that. While our smartphones are as good as any other smartphones in the market, they offer the consumer that extra bit in terms of proposition. A lot of this differentiators come from our Sony legacy. We have had a very successful range of walkman phones in the past that stands for differentiated music experience. Live with Walkman is an extension of that proposition. Apart from the smartphone features, it also offers a wholesome music experience. That’s what our campaign explains. The idea of doing this campaign came from the fact that music is generic to entertainment and to the mobile phone category. We wanted to give a wholesome experience to the user. Consumers over a period of time have moved on from just listening to music to doing much more with their music and getting a much better experience. So our entire communication talks about how music completely immerses the user into the overall experience rather than just listening to it. The entire ecosystem that we have built with the help of application, content and additional hardware bundles, delivers the desired experience to the user. The ecosystem is the differentiating factor for this handset. We have gone beyond conventional to give this experience to the user. For instance, rather than going for the plain handset, we are giving a funky set of Benetton handsfree with the handset. In addition, the handset has pre-loaded chartbusters, applications, videos et al which gives the user a complete solution for music with smartphone proposition placed at the centre.
Sony Ericsson has bundled this handset with Aircel for data services. We have seen that bundling efforts haven’t delivered the desired results in the past. What makes you believe it will work this time?
It is not very tough to put these together. Success of mobility owes to both, operator and manufacturer. A smartphone becomes a smartphone only when you use it for data services and for doing that, you need a data pipe. Whether you take it from Vodafone, Aircel or Airtel, that is a different issue, but the fact remains that you need a data pipe. In our case, we are giving an additional option to the consumers to choose the data pipe from Aircel as it comes with an additional benefit. The consumer might be using any data pipe at any point of time and we hope that the consumer will feel excited about choosing this option for using data services on the handset.

The marketing approach of Sony Ericsson has always been innovative. And this time the campaign talks about inclusion of experiential marketing...
This campaign is all about experiencing the proposition. Once the TVC, that is on air, establishes the proposition, you will see a lot of work being done on the digital forum integrated with below-the line activities that take the consumer experience to the next level. Talking of the digital front, we are India’s first, if not the world’s first , dance talent hunt show conducted on the digital medium. We have tied up with Shiamak Davar and his group for this activity. It is a six-city on-ground activation which is linked to digital. It is a very close knit campaign and it gives consumers a chance of making more out of life.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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26/7/2012 06:01:00 pm

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