Will Sony’s Unique Sales Strategy be a PR Bust?

Digital PR
Sony Marketing 30.04.14

Excited mobile fans in the United States are about to, finally, be able to get their hands on the celebrated new Sony Xperia Z2. But, they better have an internet connection, and a credit card, says CEO of 5w PR Ronn Torossian.

Mobile consumers have been raving about the massive, powerful phone since Sony first released it in its parent markets. Soon, the phone will be available on the US market, but not nearly as easily, or readily as most US consumers are accustomed to.

 First, once the phone and its smaller cousin, the Z1, are available this summer, American consumers will have to order the Xperia Z2 online, and second, they will not be able to get a service contract at the point of purchase. US purchasers will be forced to buy an unlocked version of the Z2 from Sony’s online store, and they will have to search even harder to get their hands on a Z1.

Ronn Torossian says the approach presents an interesting marketing and public relations quandary for the company. Sony clearly wants to test the waters of the US mobile market, and the Z2 gives the company its best shot at competing with market leaders such as the Samsung Galaxy. However, consumers can get the Galaxy just about anywhere. Making the Z2 so desirable, and yet so difficult to obtain might be a genius move…and it might backfire on Sony.

 Sure, consumers love to have the latest, greatest, and best, particularly when that latest and greatest comes with the status symbol of scarcity. Still, American consumers are accustomed to companies making it easier and easier to obtain the products they want. Initially, the iPhone was only available through one service provider. Consumers flocked to purchase the phone, but the units really started moving when other carriers were brought on board.

 Sony, may be hoping to mimic this pattern, initially offering the Z2 in this limited way and then, once it is proven successful, open it up to an increasingly hungry market. But, with the recent announcement that Microsoft has acquired Nokia, Sony might be too late to try that strategy. Torossian says that how Sony manages its consumer PR, beginning even before the Z2 is available, will go a long way toward how it fares in a head-to-head battle with other brands with smaller market presence.

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