The business world is growing more competitive as it has become easier to start businesses with the presence of the advanced technology and expansion of markets to the global level. The existing companies, such as Sony Corporation require more than competitive advantage strategies to maintain its operations, market share, and influence in the industry. Sustainable competitive advantage is the critical component to business success and sustainable growth. When a company’s competitive advantage strategies are sustainable, a greater sense of focus is attained, which in return results in increased sales, maximized profit margins, and increased customer and employee retention and experience (Mukesh Srivastava, 2013). In addition, sustainable competitive advantage acts as a driver and determinant of long-term business value. Below are recommendations and actions Sony Corporation can implement and adopt to gain and create a sustainable competitive advantage in its operations.
Overview of the company’s Competitive Advantages
Sony Company is a global company with exemplary core competencies and internal strengths that act as sources of competitive advantage. However, the corporation is faced with various weaknesses and threats that minimize their efforts to gain and create a sustainable competitive advantage. Sony Corporation enjoys strengths such as a strong brand portfolio, leadership in technology and innovation, profitable and reliable products, and excellent customer relations (Städtler, 2018). These strengths form a basis for the competitive advantage of the corporation in the industry. For instance, the famous and reliable brand is a significant source of competitive advantage. The corporation has used its brand to maneuver and exploit different market niches through its ability to manage diversified businesses and product adaptability.
According to the internal and external performance analysis conducted, Sony Corporation records an above-average performance. Meaning that the corporation can effectively respond to any opportunities, threats, capitalize on its strengths, and address or neutralize its weaknesses in the quest to manage its strategic objectives. The above-average performance shows an above-average ability to gain and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage in the industry. The corporation already enjoys a competitive advantage from the product innovation, prevalent and robust brand, and technological leadership (Städtler, 2018). However, this does not limit the corporation from gaining and sustaining competitive advantages in other markets and operations.
Recommendations for a Competitive Advantage
The SWOT analysis of Sony Corporation identifies critical issues that when addressed, would result in better performance and maximized competitive advantage. Some of the main problems identified include security issues, inability to manage all the multiple avenues, and pricing competition. Primarily, Sony is faced with security issues whereby its database and networks are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other threats. Therefore, Sony should apply continuous checks, balances, and improvements to its systems and database while using the current technologies (Reuters, 2019). Security is key to customers and a determinant of customer satisfaction. A company that ensures increased security and privacy of customer’s data and information maximizes its competitive advantage. This is because; customer experience and satisfaction doubles or triples and customers remain loyal to the brand. For instance, Sony can implement the User-behavior analytics technologies that can use big data analytics to determine and identify any abnormal behavior of a user or customer (Naga, 2015). The technology ensures it scrutinizes the blind spots in the attack chain and alerts the anomalies in the system.
The company should implement data-loss prevention technologies such as top-secret encryption and tokenization. Through these aspects, breaching, loss of data and cyber-attacks are minimized hence improved security and customer satisfaction. With the technologies, in any case, the breach is successful; the attackers find it challenging to monetize customer and corporate data. Besides, data is easily moved across extended enterprises and corporate departments while encrypted, thus reduced exposure and risks (Mukesh Srivastava, 2013). Disruptive technologies are essential and should be incorporated in the company’s database and networks to ensure the firewalls are well-protected customer’s, and corporate’s data and information are securely stored. Cybersecurity protects the company from breaches, losses, and a possible opportunity to drive new profits. Cybersecurity in Sony can easily translate into a competitive marketing advantage, as customers feel secure working with the company and may recommend others as well.
Secondly, Sony Corporation is popularly known for its innovation, technological leadership, and diversified products. These elements are sources of competitive advantage. Still, due to the stiff competition and easy market entries in the industry, the corporation should implement other sustainable competitive advantage strategies to remain at the top. Therefore, Sony should implement rapid evolution strategies in innovation and new product development. Continuous new product development and innovations abreast the current technology will maximize the competitive advantage of Sony and ensure that its top position is sustainable. Rapid innovation and constant development of new products and services will expand the corporation’s business, which in turn will increase its market share and profit margins (Mukesh Srivastava, 2013). A significant sector that the corporation should implement rapid innovation is in the mobile device market. Sony lacks a dominant mobile device that would be used as a brand ambassador for the corporation. For instance, Samsung has the Galaxy series smartphones, and Apple has the iPhone, Samsung and Apple are the top competitors of Sony, and the lack of a dominant mobile device acts as an opportunity for Sony Corporation. The company’s mobile sector is continuously ‘dying’ down as the number of phones sold keeps decreasing (Städtler, 2018). Sony should, therefore, determine its signature mobile device if it has to gain and sustain competitive advantage in the industry. A signature product line that evolves keeps customers coming back for the new or improved version. This creates a sustainable competitive advantage for the company.
Thirdly, the pricing strategy of Sony Corporation is both a weakness and threat of its competitive advantage in the industry. Sony Corporation should adopt a ‘hybrid’ pricing strategy that involves price skimming and value-based pricing. This ‘hybrid’ pricing strategy is better as it accommodates the higher, premium, and lower-end segments, thus, increased customer base. Sony prices its products quite expensively than its competitors through the skimming pricing strategy. The strategy states that one sells products at a higher cost then later lowers the prices over the years (Mukesh Srivastava, 2013). However, Sony Corporation prices its high-quality products highly and maintains these high prices instead of decreasing over the years to skim different market segments and niches. Sony might be incorporating the skimming pricing strategy but doing it the wrong way hence the pricing threat and weakness in the industry.
The skimming strategy increases competitive advantage in a company, however, if the corporation is to sustain the competitive strategy it should adopt a value-based pricing strategy in the three segments namely highly priced products, premium or affordable segment and the lower end. This strategy expands its customer base as customers from all social status can comfortable affords its products (Mukesh Srivastava, 2013). These pricing strategies will increase the corporation’s pricing power, whereby it can increase its prices and maintain its customer base. Once Sony develops the pricing power, it gains a sustainable competitive advantage in the industry.
Fourth, Sony Corporation should adopt a continuous corporate strategy development process as the bigger picture in gaining and sustaining its competitive advantage. A corporate strategy is the highest strategic plan in strategic management of a company, as it defines the overall goals, activities, oversees product portfolio and diversification, the organizational models, and corporate resources. This shows that having a developed and updated corporate strategy, issues of poor management of the diversified avenues in the corporation are easily managed and addressed. Sony Corporation is a diversified company that employs the conglomerate diversification strategy to expand its operations, growth and exploring opportunities in other related industries. However, in the quest to diversify, Sony has shifted from its core competencies, which is the production of consumer electronic products. This has not only distorted the company’s brand but has resulted in management issues of its portfolios (Mukesh Srivastava, 2013). A revised corporate strategy will enable Sony to shift its focus on its core competence and adopt effective portfolio management tools to address the management issues in its different avenues. A corporate strategy has a significant influence on a company’s product portfolio, as it defines what the company wants to deliver, the market segments, and appropriate competitive advantages for each portfolio.
Fifth, Sony Corporation should invest in accumulating intellectual properties to gain a competitive advantage in the industry. Sony is a leading company in technology, innovation, creativity, and imagination. The company prides itself in the imagination and innovation that is seen in its high technology products (Singleton, 2018). The company was an early creator and leader of the consumer electronics sector, which continues to be the case in the R&D and innovation for the company. With the ability to implement rapid innovation and development of new products, the corporation should invest in accumulating intellectual properties such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights (Singleton, 2018). Intellectual properties are a source of competitive advantage for any business or individual. For instance, Sony can patent its new products, services, and innovation, meaning that it cannot be copied or used commercially other than the company only. With patent rights, Sony can control its competitors for 20 years, whereby in the 20 years, the innovation would sell highly and maximize the company’s sales, margin profits, market share, and eventually its competitive advantage (Mukesh Srivastava, 2013). More importantly, intellectual properties act as a company’s strategic asset, which provides sustainable competitive advantages
Expectations of the Recommendations
These recommendations will affect the corporation both positively and negatively, including its corporate strategy, among other operations. However, the recommendations made are expected to affect the company more positively than negatively. For instance, Sony Corporation is expected to increase its sales, profit margins, and market share when the customer base is expanded, and a signature brand developed (Furukawa, 2019). Expanding the corporation’s customer base and acquiring a pricing power will result in increased sales, profits, and market share. If the company implements the rapid innovation strategy, they are likely to invent new products abreast with the advancing technologies. Once they patent the innovation, they will increase sales and profits. Besides, with an expanded customer base and patents, high priced products can easily undertake the price skimming strategy. The company can enjoy price skimming with these patented products for quite a long while. In a situation where a signature mobile device is developed with new, advanced technologies, and patented (Naga, 2015), the company can price it highly for over five years since it is the only company providing the product. Overall, the profits and sales of Sony are expected to increase in the coming years.
Secondly, nonfinancial benefits are expected to arise in Sony. They include increased brand recognition, improved image and corporate reputation, customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty. Customer satisfaction and experience will increase since the investment in the security of their data and information is achieved. The security of customer’s data and information is imperative and should be a priority. This is because customers worrying about their safety and privacy are likely to withdraw from the company. However, with guaranteed protection, privacy, and confidentiality increases customer relations and experiences (Reuters, 2019). This will result in increased purchase behavior as well as brand and customer loyalty to the company and its products. A company with exemplary services and products improves its reputation, image, and brand recognition. In the next five years, an increased market share of the company in televisions and mobile devices is expected, as the company is creating products that connect users and creators.
On the other hand, competition is expected to increase and become stiff from developed companies and new entrants in the industry. Sony’s competitors are also implementing similar recommendations to maximize their competitive advantage; thus, competition is expected to increase. Implementing these recommendations may seem weary, expensive, and take up much of the company’s resources. For instance, redefining the corporate strategy to bring back the company’s focus and maintain effective portfolio management will cost much (Naga, 2015). The company is likely to face many risks and uncertainties, especially when trying to patent its innovations. International business operations are faced with many risks and conditions for operation, thus patenting its innovations may cause strained relations among subcontractors, governments, among others. Moreover, expected outcomes for each recommendation are high in consideration of possible failures, risks, and threats.
The recommendations made for Sony’s gained and increased competitive advantages are expected to result in positive and negative impacts. Positive impacts will be for the benefit of all stakeholders in the company. However, negative consequences will require a contingency plan or plans to ensure the adverse effects are constrained, controlled, and managed before escalating to damaging levels. The contingency plan will act as a process to minimize customer inconveniences, protect corporate resources, and increasing the recovery. The contingency plan below shows how potential threats and implementation risks are to be addressed. The plan includes a mitigation plan, communication, and management plan. Each plan contains a tool to effect its implementation. The management plan involves a RACI chart that will identify the Responsibility, Accountability, Consultative, and Informative roles of each individual in the implementation process. On the other hand, a communication plan identifies the channel to be used while addressing the adverse effects.
|Managers||Evaluation of reports||Evaluation||Memos/emails||Weekly|
|TASKS||SONY||PM||SUPERVISOR 1||SUPERVISOR 2||SUPERVISOR|
|Cost, schedule, and scope management||I||A||C||R||I|
|Internal assessment and vendors contract||I||A||R||C||R|
|Evaluation & Monitoring||I||A||R||C||C|
Furukawa, Y. N. (2019, April 26). Sony CEO Gives Cautious Outlook as Loeb Seeks an Opening. Bloomberg.
Mukesh Srivastava, A. F. (2013). Building a Sustainable Competitive Advantage. Journal of Technology Management and Innovation, 8(2):47-60.
Naga, A. (2015). Business strategy. In Strategic Management: Analysis and Implementation (pp. 580-588). New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.
Reuters. (2019). Sony Corp (ADR)SNE. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/companies/SNE
Singleton, A. R. (2018). USING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN THE MARKETPLACE. Retrieved from http://www.researchpark.illinois.edu/sites/default/files/media/IP%20in%20the%20Marketplace%20article.pdf
Städtler, R. (2018). Strategy Coursework – Sony Corporation. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlag.
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