SONY: Business Analysis (Part I of III)

Sony: Electronic Entertainment


Sony Corporation began its start in 1946 Japan by engineers Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita. Together these two people revolutionized electronic entertainment. The corporation was first known as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. It was a research and manufacturing enterprise that conducted research and built equipment in a factory in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Within the year they completed, “the first magnetic tape recorder prototype”, (Sony, 2012). This devise was later launched changing the future of electronics. From this point, Sony became a logo and trade mark for a source of advance electronic devises. Sony began to make history, launching the first transistor radio in 1955 and the “world’s first direct-view portable TV” in 1960, (Sony, 2012). Television revolutionized the world. It was the top selling product in history taking over American living rooms faster than Alexander Bell’s invention of the telephone.

The corporation began to grow and expand entering the American market and opening new manufacturing plants.  Sony Corporation of America was born in 1960. After this, Sony continued to revolutionize the world. Sony built the first cassette tape recorder, transistor stereo amplifier, created color television, batamax (the VCR before VCR’s), the Walkman, the magnetic video camera, the world’s first CD player, PlayStation gaming system, mp3 player, High definition video, the first camcorder, the handycam, the DVD, and Blu-ray. There are so many electronical devises that hold the Sony name that change the world of entertainment. They created headphones in 1979, the personal computer in 1983, and laptop computers by 1997. These are things that we are familiar with today. They changed how people entertain themselves from how we listen to music to how television is watched. These are things that many people could not do without. As a result, Sony revolutionized the electronic entertainment. When it comes to electronics and entertainment, Sony continues to introduce the world to new and innovative devices, (Sony, 2012). Examples of Sony products made this century include the digital camera in 2001, interface designs in 2002, and the DVD recorder in 2003.

Between launching new devises, Sony found itself apart of the entertainment industry. Sony joined with CBS to create Sony Records, in 1968 that would eventually become Sony Music Entertainment Inc. In 1991 Sony established Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications in 2001, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment in 2004. With their range of electronic devices such as Sony PlayStation, computers, and television, Sony is a leader in electronic entertainment. They are “a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets”, (Sony, 2012).  Sony earned $79 billion for the 2011-2012 fiscal year with offices located around the world including Japan, China, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Today, Sony Corporation is operated by president and chief executive, Mr. Kazuo Hirari, former PlayStation executive, (Sasahara, 2012).

Mission Statement

“Sony is committed to developing a wide range of innovative

products and multimedia services that challenge the way consumer’s

access and enjoy digital entertainment. By ensuring synergy

between businesses within the organization, Sony is constantly striving

to create exciting new worlds of entertainment that can be experienced

on a variety of different products.” (Sony-Europe, 2012).

The mission of Sony Corporation establishes itself as leader of electronic entertainment. The organization does not focus on one devise but all devises that are an electronic source of entertainment. Sony is able to reach out to all people that are interested in entertainment. In today’s world, technology and entertainment is all around us. This is cell phones, computers, televisions, mp3 players, music and sound systems, video consoles, and now tablets and eReaders. This image is broad and the scope is large. However, the corporation can meet the needs of the consumer by providing a range of electronic entertainment.

Consumers, especially men, seek out digital entertainment and electronic devises. This way a consumer can own a variety of items all with the Sony name brand. Their vision only emphasizes their mission: “to create exciting new digital entertainment experience for consumers by bringing together cutting-edge products with latest generation content and services”, (Sony-Europe, 2012). Although the range of electronic entertainment is broad, the vision is direct and to the point. Sony, through digital technology and electronics, promises the consumer to have the best quality and up to date products. This is important in today’s digital age. People want the best devises that are not only up to date but have more function, production, and run’s faster than its predecessor or other brands within the industry. It is a brand that is trusted. Without this vision, Sony products will become a thing of the past. One household can have multiple devises that serve different purposes that all enhance and encourage quality entertainment. This vision allows Sony to boost business throughout electronics and digital entertainment.  To narrow this range, the corporation has focused on “strengthening its all-important electronics business and maintain market leadership in high profile areas such as television, digital imaging, home video equipment and portable audio”, (Sony-Europe, 2012). Operating in a competitive market, Sony’s vision is to improve their products and strengthen their top selling products. This will keep customer trust, interest, and increase sales.


Sony and the Community

A corporation worth billions, Sony works to give back to the community. “Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better education systems, funding research to cure devastating diseases, supporting arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving our environment and actively encouraging employee volunteerism”, (Sony, 2012). This way, Sony is able to make a positive contribution to society. They do this by donating their time and resources as well as give financial support to needy organizations. This is similar to their company mission. Like their mission Sony does not manufacture just one devise or products. Instead Sony manufactures and develops multiple devises that address all electronic entertainment needs and functions. This large scope of duty and responsibility is also evident in being social responsible. They give their money and time to all deserving organizations and communities. It serves to better reach out to populations in need. An example can be used in their philanthropic responses to national disasters. The organization has “helped victims of major hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and the attack on the World Trade Center”, (Sony, 2012).

In addition to giving time, money, and support to the community they also take a positive stance on the environment. To help the Earth as well as humanity, Sony is taking measures to “achieve zero environmental foot print throughout the lifecycle of our products and business activities”, (Sony, 2012).  Although this is what the corporation strives for, this maybe a difficult challenge. Most Sony products are not used for the duration of their lifecycle. This is because Sony continues to update, improve, and modify their products regularly. Furthermore, there is no reward system or policy in place that will encourage Sony consumers to recycle their products back to Sony. This may proof to be a difficult feit for Sony although it is something to look forward to in the future. To minimize harmful effects on the environment, the corporation has made a commitment to “deliver environmentally conscious products and services that enrich our customers lives”, (Sony, 2012). To make these changes, Sony has developed several plans that have already started and will continue until the commitments are met. The plan is under Sony’s Environmental Plan which takes on different areas of minimizing environmental hazards to the planet. This includes, Road to Zero: Sony’s Global Environmental Plan, Sony’s Environmental Performance, Environmental Management Structure, Sony Group Environmental Vision, and Green Management 2015. The plan and commitment by Sony proves the extent the corporation is doing to save the environment.

Sony has also taken on other measures to help save and protect the environment. They have developed a strategy to minimize climate change. This is done by limiting the amount of gas produced by their factories and manufacturing plants. Sony goes a step further by also working with employees on ways they can reduce gases in such avenues as business and corporate travel. Policies and strategies such as this is good for the environment. It also encourages employees to participate in recycling and improving air quality. Other ways to help the environment and society at large is to reuse, reduce, and recycle within their corporate offices, factories, and businesses. It also helps to conserve corporate resources by reducing the amount of resources the corporation uses to create and manufacture their products. Many of the devises made by Sony are products made of plastic. As a result, Sony is working to manage chemical substances in their products and encourage biodiversity. Through initiatives such as bio-diversity Sony is committed to “restore areas outside its site to their natural state”, (Sony, 2012) Steps taken by the corporation the change and minimize chemical resources includes resource conservation sights, policies on resource conservation, and Chemical Substance Management to reduce the amount of chemicals and resources used in their electronic devises.

Sony and Business Morality

Sony Corporation works diligently to install corporate compliance with business ethics and morality. Sony follows the laws that regulate international trade market and commerce. These regulating policies, help ensure that Sony is meeting a high quality standards of ethics and morality. The corporation follows policies of more than one regulating organization. The organizations that Sony Corporation answers to in the international trade market are, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter for Corporate Behavior of the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), (Sony, 2012).These regulating organizations ensure that Sony is practicing ethical business practices such as ensuring products are not harmful or hazardous and that Sony is not exploiting workers and laborers.

To gain high ethics and morals from employees and the Sony name, good morals is practiced throughout the corporation. This is a part of Sony Corporate Culture. Corporate compliance is managed by the Global Compliance Network. It is a leadership team that has “adopted and implemented the Sony Group Code of Conduct and set up Compliance Hotline Systems through its Global Compliance Network”, (Sony, 2012). The hotline helps employees and people with general concerns. The corporation is able to find faults and breeches in ethical compliance, manage issues of interest, and restore corporate veracity. Global Compliance Network also works with the Compliance Division that ensures policy is being followed. They provide instruction to corporate divisions on policy awareness, ethics culture, and applying policy into common procedures that can be found in Sony Group Code of Conduct was established in 2003. It addresses issues of morality and ethics. These include “respect for human rights, safety of products and services, environmental conservation, and information disclosure”, (Sony, 2012).

The Code of Conduct also addresses other incidents of unethical behavior. Examples of policies found in the Sony Group Code of Conduct include, general standards to remain compliant with regulating organizations, respect for human rights such as sound employment practices, and conducting business with integrity and fairness, (Sony, 2012). With policies like this in place, Sony has taken the appropriate measures to make business morality part of business culture. Employees are trained annually on corporate policy and the Code of Conduct. Training is done throughout the enterprise to all employees from senior management to customer service representatives. Educating employees is required to make sure that Sony meets its responsibility to respect employees, the environment, and society.

Sony PRS-T2 eReader

Sony is known for electronic entertainment. Sony products can be found everywhere and many people trust Sony for good products in this enterprise. Sales of electronics make up 65% of Sony profits and 25% come from TV sales. When it comes to entertainment Sony continues to rise and increase sales and revenue. At this rate, Sony predicts to increase revenue by 4% receiving a net worth of $301.6 billion, (Tech Review, 2009). The prediction of this forecast can come from the introduction of eReaders. In 2004, “Sony releases the Librie, the first eBook reader to utilize eInk technology”, (Kozlowski, 2012). The eReader is an electronic device that allows individuals access to literature. Sony was not the first to create the eReader but they did invent the eInk technology that made for quality reading that is easier on the eyes. To provide customers a variety of literature to choose from, Sony linked with digital libraries. Like the local libraries found across the nation, customers are able to check out literature to read through these resources. This made Sony a top competitor in the eReader business.

The newest Sony eReader is the PRS-T2.  It’s the same eReader but with a better design. This gadget comes with capabilities that are not found in other eReaders on the market such as Nooks and Kindles. Sony eReader comes with “reader WiFi a solid choice, through its adds Evernote integration, smoother page turns and a generally more streamlined design”, (Heater, 2012).  The PRS-T2 weighs less than 6 ounces and the size of your standard paperback novel. The WiFi capabilities allow owners access to not only libraries but also newspapers and magazines. Information can also be stored on this devise such as favorite books, authors, and other content. The price for the Sony eReader is $129.99. A reviewer of Sony eReader states PRS-T2 “defied Sony’s reputation for overpriced gear, while offering various features unavailable”, (Heater, 2012).  This means that although Sony is high priced, it makes up for it by providing a product that is unmatched by other devises. The eReader comes with applications, software, and free downloads. Owners can highlight text, email highlights to friends, or post them on Facebook. The ease and access to literature and social networks makes PRS-T2 a rival product in this market.

Sony’s External Environment

Sony first began this enterprise out of Tokyo, Japan. The corporation was able to meet the entertainment needs of the public through their electronic devises. To meet supply demands, Sony expanded to Hong Kong in 1959, Germany in 1970 and the United States in 1972, (Yuki, Sylvia, Caitlin, & Casey, 2011). Through these offices Sony sold and distributed products like televisions and manufactured other electronic products as well. With expansion came problems. Participating in global expansion, Sony had to follow law and policy of that country. This created conflicts between Sony and government law. For instance, Sony was investigated for breaking anti-dumping laws in the 1970’s and later was forced to close down their American plant due to new laws on foreign policy, (Yuki, Sylvia, Caitlin, & Casey, 2011). When it comes to international policy, “governments may change or increase trading restriction which would definitely change the way Sony works”, (Maqsood, 2010). Governments have the right to increase taxes, minimum wage, standards of environmental control and safety. As a result, Sony must stay ahead of the game. They must practice high standards of business ethics and morality. This will ensure that Sony will not be affected by changes in government and foreign policy. As long as Sony goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the consumer, the government, and greater society, they should have minimal impact from these changes. Sony has also responded by better managing and regulating business ethics and moral concerns to keep issues such as this from occurring. This allows Sony to expand without difficulties and roadblocks. It prevents loss of revenue and meets supply demands.

External factors can be seen in their competitors. Sony has a large range of competitors. This is because of the large range of electronic devises that is sold and marketed. Competitors in Television include, include Phillips, Sharp, Panasonic, and Toshiba. Competitors in computers include Dell, Apple, and Hewitt-Packard. Competitors in game devises include Nintendo and Microsoft X-Box. This large range of competition across electronic technology can be difficult. These decisions can become even tougher for the consumer considering the regressing economy. Prior to 2008, many people lost their jobs and their homes. People who were once provided a high comfort of living or now middle class. Today, many people cannot afford these products. Families are forced to consolidate, minimize, and reduce. Therefore many families must prioritize their materials and resources, this also means cutting down cost for electronic and digital entertainment. “Economically, due to this many changes can occur such as the interest and exchange rates”, (Maqsood, 2010). As a global corporation, exchange rates are futile to pricing, shipping, and manufacturing. Especially considering the economy, high exchange rates could mean reduced revenue. Many people are less likely to purchase high priced products during a recession even if it is because of high exchange rates. Therefore, Sony must continue to make a name for its self and encourage consumers to purchase Sony items. To maintain growth and revenue Sony must stay ahead of its competitor. It has done this by offering better products and services including those that are not available from their rivals. This can be accomplished by making Sony an easy choice over their competitors.


Sony’s SWOT Analysis


  • Sony has invented electronics that revolutionized digital entertainment like the Walkman, tape recorder, Blu-Ray, and high definition. Thus it is a familiar brand found throughout households.
  • They are known for offering the best in quality and services; a brand that is durable, long lasting, and a recognized brand image.
  • Sony is recognized not only for their electronics but also for their entertainment as well, participating in music and video production and entertainment. Not only does Sony produce music but they produce movies as well.
  • Sony is part of the global market and continues to develop and create inventions that revolutionize entertainment. On a global scale Sony must be aware of all technological and electronic developments and creations, allowing them to stay ahead of their competition.
  • The large range and scope of Sony products is positive, as it expands the consumer base allowing for a variety of products and services for purchase.


  • Although most people are familiar with Sony and their products many people do not buy Sony because they are priced higher than most rivals. This makes their products too expensive for some people.
  • Another weakness can be seen in their large variety of electronic devises and services available. From movie and music production to digital invention and manufacturing, Sony as a brand is all over the place. They are unable to focus on one element of entertainment. Focusing on one source of entertainment devise would give Sony the time to better develop their products that go above and beyond customer expectation. This way, they will not mind paying higher prices.
  • With no clear sense of directions in terms of electronic entertainment, this can make it difficult for management and strategy compliance. Therefore, it can be difficult for managers to organize and implement goals for electronic entertainment within separate sectors of the corporation.


  • Sony has a variety of opportunities within digital entertainment. Through Sony Ericson, the corporation can develop new inventions of smartphone mobility and capability to encourage sales and consumer interest. There is still a growing market within this industry as customers look to find the best product that offers the best services. Inventions in this area can be used in other devises such as tablets and eReaders. This will further influence consumer interest in Sony devises.
  • Sony has a chance to improve their gaming system. As new inventions has changed how people play video games, Sony should use this to take Sony PlayStation to next level of console gaming. Gaming is a large area of revenue for the company. Many people use game consoles not only for gaming but also for movies such as Netflix and social networking. Staying ahead and taking this opportunity must be considered to increase sales from a market that not only includes adult men but children and teenagers as well.
  • Sony has employed a large and extensive engineering department. Engineers create an opportunity for the corporation to develop improved electronic devises or to come up with all new inventions relating to electronic and digital entertainment. Employing the top engineers and brain heads in the industry can help move Sony forward into the future, creating new inventions that can revolutionize how people communicate and entertain.


  • Laws and regulations make it difficult for Sony to stay ahead of rival competitors. The organization must adapt to changes in policy that can negatively affect sales and production. This is especially seen concerning the environment. Many governments are concerned with gases put in the area by manufacturing plants. To reduce greenhouse gases factories have to change how they manufacture products in order to keep the environment save, (Sony, 2012). Although Sony is taking extra measures to minimize greenhouse gases, they must stay afloat with government regulation and concerns concerning environment protection.
  • Price competition is also a major threat. Sony is priced higher than its competitor. High prices allow rival to take customers who are willing to pay less for a similar product. This can be observed in rivals Samsung and LG “who are gaining traction in lower-cost products such as televisions and mobile devises”, (Fatakia, 2012). High prices can be related to high exchange rates between the Asian and US market. With manufacturing and distribution locations far apart from each other, it causes the customer to make up for this in price.
  • Powerful competitors are also a threat to the corporation. Competitors such as Microsoft are an immediate threat for many reasons. Microsoft is a direct threat because they offer products that are good quality and high priced similar to Sony. Furthermore, Microsoft is in competition with Sony for various electronic devices that both corporations manufacture such as X Box, eReaders, and tablets.
  • Sony products are also found in the Black Market. This means that someone will pay less for the product than its market value causing Sony to lose money. Furthermore, Sony items are also forged, faked, or replicated for sale at a much lower price. Items that are faked or duplicated can also give Sony a bad image. These products will have reduce quality, price, and lifecycle. This can hurt Sony both as an image and in earned revenue.


Sony Objectives and Strategies

To reduce threats of rivalry and competition Sony continues to invent electronics for entertainment use and will do so by finding lower material cost and increase manufacturing. To do this, Sony Corporation has something called, the “umbrella branding strategy”, (Almendares, 2009). The strategy is good because it can be used throughout the corporation despite any devises they might be selling for entertainment enterprise. The umbrella branding strategy lets Sony “leverage corporate identity for launching new products and adding brand extensions for its existing and new customers”, (Almendares, 2009). By branding, Sony can have a positioning strategy on who and how they market consumers. Branding is important for Sony. With so many rivals in this market, they must do what they can to stay ahead. Umbrella branding allows a product to maintain the Sony brand alongside a products name. This way consumer’s will not get confused with the product but be familiar with the name. This is important for Sony. With a large variety of electronics currently on the market consumers will not get the product name and brand confused. There is an immediate relationship between Sony and the product name. Consumers can know that this is a Sony product that is associated with quality products.

For sustainability, Sony is taking measures within segments of the corporations to implement strategies and changes into corporate culture. Developments need to be made to ensure that Sony can last for another 60 years into the future. To do this, the corporation must take these steps now to allow for growth, development, and creativity in the electronic and digital entertainment. The four directions that Sony will take for sustainability include technology, solution, marketing, and design. By taking on these four dimensions, Sony is protecting its corporate success and maintaining rivalry among its competitors. Technology is the most important for sustainability. It was technology that made Sony into the industry that we see today and technology is required for future sustainability within the electronic and digital market. “Sony harnesses new technologies to contribute to the realization of sustainable lifestyles and address key issues of importance to society”, (Sony, 2012). Providing consumer solutions to common problems are also important. Solutions can improve products, improve customer service, and create consumer brand loyalty. Finding basic solutions from technical problems to or hardware improvement must be considered to improve Sony brand image and sustainability. Marketing is equally important to the Sony strategy. Sony is a brand that is priced higher than their competitor. However, Sony is not overpriced. For example, if we compare the Sony eReader PRS-T2 to the Nook Simple Touch, Nook is priced at $99 while the Sony eReader is priced at $129, (Baldwin, 2012). This is only $30 more than the price for Nook. With such a small difference in price, marketing is important for Sony. Marketing their brand as the better quality, better improved, and highly sought after item, Sony can better encourage consumers to choose Sony over their competitor.  Lastly, by focusing on Sony’s design, the corporation can achieve longevity and sustainability. In the future, the corporation will “pursue a variety of design-based initiatives that help solve problems faced by society and take user diversity into consideration”, (Sony, 2012). Improving design creativity can encourage sales and sustainability. A product that is better designed such as for “kinetic energy based products”, or devices the serve the needs of the electronic community will allow corporate growth, revenue, and possible corporate expansion. One example can be seen in portable charges that can still add live to electronical devise without a plug in or power source, (Sony, 2012).

While Sony is a billion dollar company that has been in business for more than 60 years, the corporation has lost revenue due to the recession and rival competitors. The new CEO of Sony, Kaz Hairi is new to this position, promoted to president earlier this year. However, Sony lost billions in the previous year and must make up for the loss. To ensure sustainability and productivity CEO Hairi plans to downsize, expecting to lay off an estimated 10,000 people. To further encourage sustainability, the CEO also plans to reorganize the business structure and layout of Sony that will allow leadership teams to better management the different segments of the corporation. For instance, this reorganization will reduce the price of manufacturing cost that will considerably reduce the cost of electronics. It is estimated that this initiative will “streamline the product line, reduce its costs, and return to profitability by 2014”, (Lawler, 2012). To further increase products, the new CEO also indicated that he is looking to enter new markets. This includes medical technology and spyware. Entering into these electronic and digital markets can either help or hurt Sony. However, as the corporation continues to supply the demand for electronic and digital entertainment, Sony is making positive steps towards the future. Sony is a name and brand that will remain in the electronic market for decades to come.



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About Russia Robinson

I use my writing talents, and skills I’ve learned through academics and experience, to benefit the greater good of society. Conducting research, writing articles, essays, and blogging, I give informative information on a variety of topics and issues that affect society. I also write creative works like children’s books, short stories, poems, and a novel in progress. I earned a BA in English creative writing and American literature from San Francisco State and graduate studies in Technical Writing at Kennesaw State University. Through my career in education and mental health I have spent more than 10 years’ helping young people succeed. I am a certifiable Language Arts teacher, working in education, social services, and mental health. Interested in my writing services? Feel free to contact me via email.
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