Sony is 'here to stay' in smartphones, exec says, with new global marketing campaign

Sony is launching a new brand campaign to breathe life into its struggling mobile unit, according to a Sony executive. The comments come as Sony pulls back in the smartphone market, but indicate it is not exiting the market.

"I want to re-iterate what has been said by number of our top executives, which is that Sony Mobile is here to stay and we're absolutely focused on delivering profitable growth," Catherine Cherry, Sony Mobile's marketing director for the UK, Ireland and Benelux, told reporters in London this week, according to Mobile Today. "Smartphones are in the hands of customers every day which makes them so important."

The comments come a little less than two months after Sony confirmed it would cut another 1,100 employees from its Mobile Communications business, on top of the 1,000 job cuts it had already announced in that unit. Sony plans to trim the mobile division down to 5,000 employees by March 2016, a 28 percent cut to a unit that Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said in the past would be a key element of the company's electronics business.

Hirai himself told the BBC at Mobile World Congress last month that Sony needs to "make sure that we're managing the market risks and the volatility. That doesn't mean that we suddenly exit the business, but it's just a reality that we're coming to grips with the dynamics of the market. So we need to keep a closer eye on what the return on invested capital is, what our competition is doing, what the market dynamics look like, and manage the business accordingly."

Hirai also said "there's no guarantee that we'll be in any business in five years' time, in any of the businesses. That's just the nature of the electronics business and the industry that we're in."

However, Cherry said that Sony's new global marketing campaign will help build on the momentum of the Z3, Sony's new flagship Android smartphone, which she said is fast becoming its "best selling smartphone ever."

Cherry said that the company's new global brand positioning is "about making an ordinary day more special and Sony Mobile as a brand enabling you to do you. This is a long term brand positioning for the company."

Some examples of Sony's new message, according to Business Insider, include "I can see in the dark," "I can survive underwater," "I can see through walls," "I can shape tomorrow," "I can silence crowds," and "I can stay awake for days." Advertising agency Adam&EveDDB is running the Sony campaign.

Cherry explained, according to Business Insider, that the new campaign is more "exciting and provocative" and that it has an "intentional sense of ambiguity." For example, the phrase "I can stay awake for days" is intended to let users know that Sony's smartphones have a longer battery life than other phones. In the same vein, "I can see through walls" refers to the devices' gaming capabilities with Sony's PlayStation 4 Remote Play.

For Sony, the new campaign will be an uphill struggle. According to research firm Gartner, Sony was the No. 10 global smartphone player in 2014, with 37.8 million smartphones sold, figures that were roughly flat compared with 2013.

For more:
- see this Business Insider article 
- see this Mobile Today article
- see this The Drum article

Related Articles:
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Sony confirms it will axe another 1,100 employees in mobile unit
Reports: Sony to slash another 1,000 jobs from smartphone biz
Report: Sony considering sale or joint venture to revive mobile phone biz
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