The Philips Company is a dominant player in the world of electronics and technology-related products. Despite its strong position, the company could have done better had it strengthened its brand image since it is important for improving customer loyalty. Having realized the prospects of improved brand image, the company carried out a repositioning exercise focused on ‘sense and simplicity’ with a view to increasing its acceptance among customers.
The Philips Company
The current paper considers the branding and social media strategies that the company can employ towards increasing its brand image and customer loyalty for the Oman market.
When devising a marketing strategy, understanding of societal values, attitudes or the overall culture of the country is important. Under global values, societies have classes (Khosla 2010). Hence, when the Philips Company, for instance, aspires to sell television sets, it might consider using differentiation to market its products. However, such a strategy would apply to those products that fall into the prominent category since well established brands target high-end markets. Concentrating on high-end markets would allow the organization to charge premium prices (Fan 2002). Nonetheless, in order to maintain attractiveness to such products, the company needs to focus on quality, pride and elegance. It is also needful to consider using its unquestionable brand image that it has created which is a key factor that affects consumers’ choices. In other words, consumers who purchase the company’s products are persuaded to believe that they belong to a higher social class.
Based on the case by Warman (2013), the Philips Company entered a new phase after shedding some part to Funai, a Japanese manufacturer. One of the key strengths of the company Philips is a brand name since it is a leader in electronics and healthcare products all over the world. The idea of retaining the Philips brand after the takeover is seen as a useful strategy that the Funai Japanese group hopes to employ in Oman. The primary reason why the company intends to do that is that Philips is already a big brand having followers from many corners of the world. Consequently, retaining the name is a preferable option, as it will sell easily than new brands would do. Besides enjoying a massive following, the company employs many employees spread across many countries, as Warman (2013) observes. The implication of having production in diverse regions is that when events are not going according to plan in one region, it is possible to offset the losses that emerge by enlisting the support of those regions that are doing well (Hirsh, Kang & Bodenhausen 2012). For instance, the company managed to return profitability in 2013 despite a decline in its market share in the US and Europe. As Warman (2013) observes, it was possible to return profitability because of the company’s performance surged in China, Russia and Latin America.
Diversification is another strategy that the company employs in its bid to be profitable. Diversification is a strategy that entails the production and supply of a diversity of products to different regions (Laermer & Simmons 2007). The Philips Company specialized in electronics. However, the company produces electronic appliances that serve various needs such as hospitals and home needs appliances. Besides, the element of diversity is seen in the company’s regional spread. From the case by Warman (2013), Philips serves all corners of the world.
Besides employing the above-mentioned strategies, the Philips Company also relies on an innovative approach in its production process. Warman (2013) indicated that the company’s brand was based on innovativeness to improve its domains. Innovation is particularly useful when targeting new markets such as Oman (Salman & Kharusi 2012). In the past, the company’s production of the ‘Hue’ light bulbs’ is indicative of the innovative approach. The innovativeness approach is critical for organizations that hold a futuristic approach in conducting business. Innovativeness is especially significant since it allows a producer to match the mood or requirement of a user. Through the approach, the company is likely to make inroads into the Oman television market since such an approach would satisfy many customers.
Based on a study carried out by the Philips Company, it emerged that the entity had considerable strength concerning product reliability. In addition, there was a belief that it produced exciting products (Business Case Studies LLP 2014). It also became apparent that a market gap existed since it was only the Apple Inc. Group which had a distinct positioning. Apart from the strengths, the research found some weaknesses about the company. In particular, consumers held negative feelings about the company’s quality of innovativeness. Similarly, professionals held that the Philips Company lacked clarity in terms of direction. Hence, the company did not keep pace with its peers. Based on the research findings, the Philips Company came under pressure to develop a clear rand strategy in order to improve its market position. Using a proper positioning strategy, the company would better its chances of improving its market in the television segment in Oman.
One of the main areas of focus within established companies is brand positioning. The company’s vision, or what it aspires to achieve in the long-term should guide its positioning (Marginson 2002). The Philips Company’s vision remains producing products that position the customer ahead of anything. Thus, Philips needs to understand better what its customers truly require before proceeding to produce products. After the research, the company embarked on promising customers an improved customer service based on a simple relationship with technology (Business Case Studies LLP 2014). The company also switched its attention to revolutionizing technology to meet customer needs. The approach is likely to be critical since making technology simple is a primary concern given that most technology products are complicated for the average customer. By concentrating on simplicity, the company is likely to penetrate markets such as the Oman one with much ease.
Having realized the complexity involved with technology products, the Philips Company focuses on introducing new, simple and exciting products (Business Case Studies LLP 2014). However, for the company to succeed in Oman, it needs to collect insight about consumers’ experiences about technology benefits. In other words, adopting a market-led strategy would be useful in helping the company gain a foothold into the Oman market.
As already indicated, customers are now looking for products that are simple and easy to use. Thus, Philips must allow a process change to ensure that products and services are convenient besides presenting an unforgettable experience to customers (Dess, Lumpkin & Covin 2007). Put differently, adopting a strategy that eliminates the hustles associated with mainstream technology would set the company apart and allow it tap into that market gap. While filling that gap, the Philips company must desist from compromising on the quality or innovativeness associated with technological developments.
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After positioning a brand, communicating it is equally useful (Armstrong 1991). Clear communication is critical in the business circles since it allows the conveyance of the appropriate information about a product to the targeted audience. Whereas it is common to convey a message to all potential customers, focusing on target customers should be given preference.
In order to get the message across, advertising through various channels should be considered. Each advert should pass important information besides drawing the attention of media users (Kincy 2011). The work of the advertisements is to reinforce the company’s repositioning strategy.
Social Media Strategies
Social media can also be used to enhance brand image and loyalty. Social media entails an array of mobile technologies which ease interaction by allowing people establish relationships and creating a platform to share and exchange information or ideas within virtual environments (Cambria, Grassi, Hussain & Havasi 2011). Thus, it is not surprising that social media has a wide range of avenues such as social networks, podcasts, gaming sites, photo or video sharing sites, forums, blogs, bookmarking sites as well as micro-blogging platforms. Among the social media, Facebook ranks as the most popular platform.
Several characteristics make social media useful for marketing. Kim, Mattila and Baloglu (2011) contend that one of the main aspects is participation. It is noted that social media encourages members to contribute and share feedback. Besides, the platforms encourage a high level of interaction. Social media is significant when enterprises seek to launch into a new market. Hence, the media suits Philips in its bid to launch into the Oman market. Another aspect is openness. Through encouraging voting, commenting and sharing of ideas, social media is an open platform that an entity seeking to enter Oman should consider employing. Online platforms also facilitate the generation of user content. It is significant for entities seeking to venture into new markets. Other important aspects such as conversation, community, and connectedness show that social media is a critical tool in penetrating any market.
Assessing the viability of using social media in Oman is critical in understanding the possibility of Philips making progress in the market. Salman and Kharusi (2012) observe that there has been a high level of internet penetration since the number of people who posses that the Internet enabled devices are on the rise. The use of laptops, smartphones and tablets have gone up in the country. It is also estimated that up to seventy percent of the Oman people have access to the Internet and have been connected to social media such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and LinkdIn. Similarly, the use of the Arabic language is among the fastest spreading languages in the mentioned platforms.
In the present day, the youth, dubbed the iGeneration spends a considerable amount on such sites implying that organizations seeking to establish their businesses only need to secure spaces on online platforms (Kim, Mattila & Baloglu 2011). Thus, the company has a reliable platform to use.
Ever since the emergence of social media, its usage in terms of marketing has been on an upward trend. The expansion of social media usage has been phenomenal such that an organization that lacks an online presence is missing a large segment of its potential and existing market (Muntinga, Moorman & Smit 2011). The obsession with social media is justified since it offers a potential growth promise to businesses. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram are some of the prime avenues that provide many opportunities to entities despite age to have an active online presence.
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When employing the social media strategy, an organization such as Philips needs to create a plan on how to go about establishing online presence to serve not only Oman, but to serve across the world. The significance of having a plan is to eliminate the possibility of the company’s content failing to reach its target audience (Kerr et al. 2012). The company for instance should have a plan on the number of tweets or posts it does in a day so that its followers are informed accordingly about what to expect. However, the frequency can be adjusted depending on the prevailing circumstances. In order to stay relevant, the Philips Company needs to do research to know how often its competitors post on online platforms before developing its own strategy. Besides understanding such industry dynamics, the company would need to prepare easy-to-read content so that each targeted person is not left out.
In developing its social media strategy, the Philips Company should treat each channel distinctly. However, it does not negate the fact that some content can cut across various channels. For instance, since the Philips Company was involved in a takeover, such news should be posted across all channels. Nevertheless, the company needs to exercise caution depending on the kind of audience being dealt with. By way of example, the LinkedIn platform has business-oriented people who are looking for informative content compared to those found in Instagram whose desire is the visual content. Hence, the company must recognize such differences when employing its social media approach to wooing customers.
In the third place, when employing social media marketing, the company needs to extend its orientation beyond customer service delivery (I-Ping & Chung-Hsien 2011). For instance, when a visitor posts of the company’s Facebook page or tweets at the company’s handle, failure to give a response is intolerable. Such a move would dissatisfy a customer leading to defection to rival entities. On the contrary, when a company enters a timely and thoughtful response, a customer is likely to be content and remain loyal to the brand. Thus, taking time to come up with responses to customers’ queries is significant to the prosperity of the company.
As Trattner and Kappe (2013) observed, companies should assign a worker to post and monitor posts and responses regarding the company’s brand. Secondly, the creation of a troubleshooting library should be given precedence to handle arising complaints. Such a library should ensure proper address of the issues raised. Besides the creation of a library, being creative is also required. In this regard, the company may consider dishing giveaways, or using humor to engage social media followers with a view to retaining existing customers and winning others from competitors. In addition, the company should adopt a policy responding to each comment in order to show recognition of every customer.
Each organization sometimes encounters some problems. Social media offers an avenue that should be used to address any problems that emerge (Kietzmann & Canhoto 2013). Instead of ignoring issues deemed minor, embracing them would be useful in as far as, customer relations is concerned. In instances where big problems are encountered such as those involving credit card surcharges, the company needs to apologize before indicating how it intends to correct the errors.
One of the fundamental activities that take place within business premises is tracking market patterns (Schivinski & Dąbrowski 2013). Often, tracking is viewed as a tedious activity since it takes considerable time. Edelman and Suchman (1997) indicated that although time consuming, setting aside few hours to track market trends is important such that the company cannot ignore it. The company needs to track all its posts, tweets, number of followers, page viewers, posts, likes, impressions, shares, etc. and each media channel should be reviewed separately. Such reviews are then compared against those of other industry players in order to get a picture on how the company in question is performing. The easiest way to track performance is o enlist the services of software developers to come up with an application that tracks the social media traffic.
Based on the reviewed case, the Philips Company is undergoing a transition after the takeover by the Japanese firm, Funai. In its bid to enter the Oman market, the company needs to adopt some rebranding and social media marketing strategies to enable it attain a leadership position in the market. Based on the above review, I feel that the Philips Company can claim a stake in the Oman market by focusing on the production of quality but simple to use televisions. However, to enhance its visibility and availability to address customer concerns, creating a robust online presence would be necessary.