In this SWOT I am going to chose a company and carry out a detailed market analysis on it. The business that I have chosen to investigate is Sony. In this SWOT I am going to talk about the following things:

* The strengths of Sony

* The weaknesses of Sony

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* The opportunities of Sony

* The threats of Sony

I am now going to go into detail about each of the above factors and state how Sony falls into each of the categories.

Strength

There are various strengths which Sony has and uses to its advantage. The main strength for Sony is that all its products are good products, products which are of a high quality. This means that the products that Sony creates are always of a high value and this is the reason why most of the Sony products seen around in electronic stores are quite expensive. There are many examples to prove this, one for example can be seen below. The below information was taken from www.argos.co.uk.

As you can see from the above product details of two high priced Sony branded products, the products are both high quality. For example the silver mp3 player details show that it has 20GB memory. This means that it is able to store up to 10,000 WMA songs, as you can see there a reason as to why this mp3 player costs �179.99. Also the Sony camcorders details shows that it now comes with exposure modes range from beach & ski to sunset and moon. These new features are what Sony use in there products to create high quality products. By doing this they complete there overall objective goal of gaining more profit as people who are interested in the range of products that Sony creates will remain interested as they continue to create high quality products such as the ones seen above.

Another Strength of Sony is that it provides good customer service & has a environmental friendly image. For a company like Sony I think that it is essential to set a good image for themselves amongst the public as Sony’s relation with the public who are customers can determine how many products they purchase from Sony.

Sony uses many ways to reach out to customers and bring them good customer service. The main type of customer service being in store customer service which is provided when a customer who needs help with a product, has a question or an enquiry goes in store and asks the Sony staff. This is the best type of customer service as this is face to face meaning that better interaction and communication is made.

Sony also has an official website which has information on many different types of supports and services. This can be seen below.

Above are just some of the support and services they offer. By having information on service arrangements and European warranty terms customers can obtain the necessary information that they need. This could satisfy them if this is the information that they are after. However if they have a more specific question they need answered or are after specific information then customers can also contact Sony via e-mail telephone or e-mail.

The information on the left is the telephone contact details of Sony which customers can use if they have enquires. As you can see it has been categorised to make it easier for customers to contact which department they wish too. This is another good method of customer service as it saves customers time and makes it more efficient for them.

Sony can also be e-mailed at [email protected] As you can see there are various methods of contact which customers can use to contact Sony and enable themselves to get good customer service.

One more strength of Sony is that it has various places where it distributes its products. The main place is there Sony store branches. There are various Sony shops located throughout cities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Due to the fact that there are more Sony stores around it is easier for customers to purchase from Sony.

Store

Distance (miles)

Address

Birmingham Sony Centre

3.3

160 Corporation Street, Birmingham

Solihull Sony Centre

3.9

53 Mill Lane, Solihull

Sutton Coldfield Sony Centre

8.7

214, Sutton Coldfield

Merryhill Sony Centre

10.9

Unit 34 the Upper Mall, Dudley

View the next 3 closest Sony Centers

Above are listed all the Sony stores that are within my region. As you can see if I wished to buy a Sony product there are four Sony centres I could choose to visit. This is an advantage for Sony as no matter which store customers visit one way or another Sony will be gaining profit overall.

Sony also sells online which means that customers can purchase electronic Sony goods online too. Customers can visit the official Sony website to purchase the goods that they wish. However they would have to create an account to do this but it is easy and efficient.

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From the above diagram you can see what it looks like from purchasing a product online. It is almost essential that Sony uses more than 1 method of distributing products as it has to reach as many customers as possible. Due to the fact that they are doing this they are at an advantage as more customers have the ability to purchase Sony products through more different ways.

A strength which Sony benefits a lot from is that it manages to have a wide range of products. These range from mp3 players to DVD players ; laptops. The advantage in this is that if one type of product isn’t selling then another type of Sony product will be. This mean’s that one way or another Sony will be gaining money as each product has the ability to appeal to customers.

For example take a look at the diagram below.

As you can see from the diagram above it lists all the Sony consumer products listed in different categories. If products under the camcorder section weren’t to be selling very well then the profit that they loose out on can be obtained by all the Sony products that are being sold under the home audio & cinema category. Sony is at an advantage here because there products vary and along with the fact that all the products that are listed here are high quality products it is almost solidifies the fact that Sony will make profit one way or another.

Another strength which enables Sony to be at an advantage is that since they do sell high quality products and they have a large range of products they manage to appeal to more customers. This means that they will obviously gain profit. What they do with this product is what helps them to be at an even more advantage. This is mainly due to the fact that with the money that is obtained they are able to spend it on promotion which would enable them to gain more recognition.

Promotion plays a big role in terms of strength. Sony also uses various methods of promotion which range from television advertisements, magazine advertisements, online advertising etc. These types of promotion are all an effective method of getting the Sony name across to as many people as possible.

One example of a type of promotion that Sony uses is its website. I am going to use this as my own example of how they get there name across. By using there website Sony are able too:

* Show the latest on goings of Sony (including new developments)

* Allow customers to purchase from a vast range of Sony products.

* Allow customers to contact Sony for enquiries or questions they wish to be answered.

* Give customers the chance to give back feedback.

By doing all the above Sony are getting there name across one way or another. The other types of promotion that they use are just as effective and since Sony gain so much profit they are not only able to promote a lot but they are able to promote effectively. This may mean having high budget expensive advertisements or given lots of airplay for radio advertisements. As you can see Sony has the advantage of using all these types of promotion to there fullest extent so the Sony brand continues to increase in popularity.

One last strength of Sony is that Sony has gone global meaning worldwide. This means that not only are they selling products in places such as the United Kingdom and America but also places such as Tokyo & India.

This is an advantage for them and this is mainly due to the fact that because they have the ability to reach other countries this means there products would be known to more people and more people will be familiar with the Sony brand. If more of there products are in different countries then there is more chance that more people will buy them.

As you can see above Japan & India have there own websites created so this proves the fact that Sony is using different countries to distribute there products. They manage to reach these countries through various ways and the main one being promotion which I have already talked about. If promotion is used then this could mean that products are already being sold in these countries in electronic stores and etc. however Sony products can also be distributed from abroad as well.

Weaknesses

The same way in which a company has strengths, it also manages to have weaknesses as well. I am now going to talk about the weaknesses of Sony and how these weaknesses affect Sony.

The main weakness of Sony is that even though it has been around since 1946 there are companies in the same market who have been around earlier. One example of this Philips who specialises in electronics as well which has been around as early as 1891 which is 55 years more which is nearly twice as long. This can be seen below:

As you can see here it states that Philips was founded in 1891.

The disadvantage to this for Sony is that competitors like these have been in this market division for longer and therefore because of this

they have more experience in this sector. This also means that due to the fact that they have more experience they know how to work better and over the years that they have been around they have managed to obtained the substantial amount of techniques and tactics needed to overcome they’re competitors. This is just one weakness of Sony, that they haven’t been around as long as other electronic brands.

Another weakness of Sony is that as a company Sony hasn’t got as many people working for them as other companies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panasonic states that Panasonic has 334,402 workers working for them whereas Sony has a mere 158,500 employee’s working for them. This can be seen below:

As you can see here it states that Panasonic has 334,402 employees and this means that Panasonic has twice as many workers working for them. This also means that due to the fact that since more workers are working for Panasonic then it is easier for more developments to be made for Panasonic for example new products, more promotion etc. It’s not just Panasonic neither http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba shows that Toshiba, another electronic company in the same market division as Sony currently has 165,500 employee’s which is still more than Sony. This means that Sony is weak in the employee area as it is maybe focusing more on other aspects of its company such as promotion and creating high quality products.

Even though this may be seen as a threat as having more employee’s in other companies can lead to companies such as Panasonic and Toshiba taking over the electronic market division, I think that it is also a weakness. This is because having lesser employee’s working for your company could mean that other companies who have more workers working for them have more going on for them as each worker would have more to do in terms of benefiting the business.

Another weakness of Sony as a business is that since they have so many different types of products to sell in its electronic division that it doesn’t manage to promote each of these products very well. What I mean by this is even though I have stated that Sony will be selling one product or another Sony may also have so many products that it has manufactured that they all don’t get the chance to be promoted very well. This could mean that sales drop for a particular product. Also, since Sony is always updating its product models the older versions which are still being sold loose out on promotion. One example of this is the Sony Play station 2. Sony is still releasing games and accessories for the PS2 however all the focus has now turned to the PS3 which will be releasing early next year. Due to the fact that all the promotion is now being spent on the PS3, the PS2 which is still out will loose the majority of the promotion that it had.

These two consoles can be seen below.

As you can see the problem is that Sony ships its focus too quickly on its newer products but customers are still interested in there older products. Even though this can be said for many companies, Sony is just one example of companies who do this. If Sony wants to overcome this weakness then it should be able to balance out its level of promotion and spend the right amount of money on the current products that are released and also on the forthcoming, future products.

Opportunities

Sony has the opportunity of doing various things which could advantage them. I am now going to talk about each of these.

The main opportunity which Sony has is to continue releasing new products. Due to the fact that customers like seeing new technology being developed, Sony can satisfy customers by doing so. Sony has the correct resources and within its ability be able to continue releasing new technology. Like the PS3 which I have already talked about is a step into new technology. The new technology of graphics can be seen below.

It’s not just game consoles, new plasma televisions, camcorders, laptops and other electronically products can regularly be updated by Sony. The main advantage for Sony here is by updating all these products with new features there is more chance that more customers purchase them because with these new additional features more customers can get what they really want out of a product.

Another opportunity for Sony is that since I have already stated that they are global and worldwide there may be companies that they haven’t reached yet who are currently being recognised to the electronic company world.

Also because Sony is a Japanese company and the Sony headquarters are located in Tokyo they are doing more over there in Japan than anywhere else. Japan is already known for its high popularity in high quality electronic products. So therefore since Sony tend to focus more from where they originated they haven’t used the opportunity of reaching other countries to there fullest extent. However they still have the opportunity of doing this and they can do this through many ways. This can be done by using promotional techniques in different countries.

For example due to the fact that some countries have television channels which have channels that are shown worldwide they can promote themselves on these channels as this will enable them to get there name across in many countries. So for example if Sony were to make a deal with CNN which is shown in the United Kingdom and in many other states such as America and Australia they will be able to use just this 1 channel to promote themselves worldwide as they are reaching 100’s of cities.

Another method of remaining worldwide and reaching countries which haven’t been introduced to Sony yet can also be done by opening more branches. Since Sony has been able to open stores in the United Kingdom, America ; Japan Sony has the opportunity of opening more branches in different countries.

The image shown on the left shows a Sony store in Japan. As you can see Sony has already opened many stores worldwide enabling customers to purchase there products. Sony now has to use this opportunity properly as a form of promotion. If it continues to do this then Sony will gain more recognition and customers will become more familiar with its usual status of high quality products.

Another opportunity that Sony has is to take over rival brands that it competes with. There are many markets in the same division as Sony. However since Sony is the most popular electronic company brand and is known for having the best high quality products it has the opportunity of attracting more customers towards them. By doing this Sony will use this opportunity and gain more profit. Sony has been competing with these brands for quite some time and has taken over the shine of many other companies.

The rival companies in the same market as Sony can be seen below.

Taking over these rival brands will enable Sony to be the dominant brand in its market. This would mean that the main electronic company that customers will look for when purchasing electronic goods will be Sony. However with these other companies such as Philips and Panasonic around customers have an alternative choice as to which company to choose its electronic goods from. Sony has the opportunity of taking over these companies by:

* Promoting itself more than other companies.

* Reaching out to more customers by website, e-mail etc.

* Allowing customers to give feedback by survey’s questionnaires.

* Coming out with new products to appeal to as many customers as possible.

* Promote themselves in more countries so people abroad can purchase Sony products.

By doing all the above, Sony has the opportunity of demolishing other rival brands existence and therefore be able to be the dominant brand in its market.

Threats

Sony is at threat from many things. I am now going to talk about these threats and state how they affect Sony and its products.

There are threats to Sony as a company and threats to the Sony products. The threats to Sony affect Sony overall as an individual company and the threats to its product affects the different range of products that Sony has to offer.

The threat to Sony as a company is that since they have a big name to live up to, they’re standards cannot drop. By this I mean that in the past since they are so used to living up to a high standard throughout promotion and profit the level of there performance cannot decrease. The threat here is that Sony’s work rate may drop and this is where all the problems occur. This is because if the work rate drops then this means that there will be a lack of promotion, lack of newer products being developed and eventually a lack of overall profit being obtained.

Even though this hasn’t happened as of yet because Sony has managed to live up to its high level of performance that it has solidified in the past it CAN happen sometime in the future. Therefore I think that it is essential that Sony doesn’t loose track of its work and always keeps in mind how well the work at Sony has to be established.

As for threats towards products rival brands come into play here again. Other companies in the same market will do various things to take over a company such as Sony. There are many well known tactics that companies use to take over others. One tactic is manufacturing a similar product which another company has created and making slight adjustments to it. One example of this could be the Nintendo DS.

As you can see below the Tesco website states that the Sony PSP console was released on the 1st September 2005.

Over a month later in the United Kingdom Nintendo decided to release the Nintendo DS handheld console which can be seen below.

This is just one prime example of how different companies rival with each other with similar products. As you can see in terms of size there isn’t much different however the looks obviously had to be adjusted so there was SOME different between both products. Sony and Nintendo have been rivalling with there gaming products for over ten years. Sony released its play station and Nintendo released its Nintendo 64. Since then these two companies have been rivalling with each other in terms of success and sales. As for the newer products such as the PSP, products such as the DS do affect the sales for Sony. This is because they are both similar and because this is so sales can go either way.

Adjusting the looks of a product isn’t the only factor that is taken into consideration here, adjusting price plays a big part as well. Often companies who create similar products as other companies also tend to adjust the price as well so more people buy there product. To prove this I am going to stick with the Sony PSP/Nintendo DS example. When it was first released the Sony PSP was �180 and the Nintendo DS on its release date was only �120. When sales began increasing and decreasing for both companies they decided to lower they’re prices.

Due to the fact that Sony wasn’t affected a lot by Nintendo’s sales for a little while it stayed at �180 whereas the Nintendo DS was reduced to �100. Due to the fact that both these products are similar and the Sony PSP cost nearly twice as much people now decided to buy the Nintendo DS as it was nearly twice as cheap and it functioned nearly the same. However now though after customers got a chance to really see which handheld console was clearly better Sony began making its impact felt. Due to the fact that Sony were more confident there PSP was better than the DS to increase there sales even higher they reduced they’re PSP from �180 to �135 which is the current price.

As you can see the pricing game can really affect how a company sells its products. By using the Sony PSP & Nintendo DS example it’s not hard to tell that Sony is at threat from its rival companies.

Also because companies such as Philips and Panasonic are in the same market division as Sony they will have to use the same methods of promotion. This could mean that since Sony has more to focus on since they are a bigger business (such as creating more updated products, newer products) that these other competitive businesses will use these types of promotion more wisely.

If they decide to focus on promotion more which is the most effective way of selling then Sony can loose out on customers and in the end loose out on profit. Sony has to keep in mind that since these companies are similar to each other the way they will think and work will be similar as well. This means that they too will try and use television as a method of promotion. This means that they too will try and go worldwide to sell more products.

Sony has to overcome these threats by using marketing strategies more wisely to there advantage.

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