Vincent Yip is the general manager of Sony, Singapore Channel Marketing Centre.
He was in town to launch the exclusive Sony Centre at Kantipath. He spoke with Terence Lee of THT Perspectives about Sony’s plans for Nepal.
What is the significance of the showroom that Sony has launched here?
Our relationship with Nepa Hema here in Nepal is of over nine years and we have grown the business from strength to strength. The next thing we want to do is to reach out to the consumers more. We have been doing a lot of marketing activities and we used to have a smaller showroom. Our marketing activities include catalogues, print, radio advertisements and television commercials, but that is all focused in one direction. We now want to reach out to the consumers and let them have a different user experience. While they can use the internet to look at our products, there is nothing like looking at the real thing and trying it out. We want them to actually experience our products and that will compliment the traditional media advertising that we have. That’s why we set up this showroom in Nepal, just as we have showrooms in other parts of the world.
By engaging the customers, we get to know what they want and that feedback helps us fine tune our marketing message and make it more meaningful. Also by gathering the feedback from consumers and customers, we can forward this to our factories and that helps improve and create products that truly meet the needs of customers. This truly goes beyond just communication as the feedback also helps us with our promotional bundles. For example, based on feedback, we are now putting in more memory cards in our showrooms as a solution to what customers want.
What kind of products from the Sony stables will enjoy prominent showcasing in the showroom in Nepal?
Television sets are still a very important and growing market in Nepal. We see a lot of opportunities for people who are upgrading to LCD and the latest technology. Of course, there are different segments. There is also a segment that already has the LCD and wants to upgrade to the next generation of television. That’s why we want to bring the latest experience to them through the showroom.
Previously, television used to be determined by what is broadcast by various stations. But now, our TV is more interactive and you determine what you want to view and when you want to view it. You can watch YouTube and movies through the internet any time you like and customers and users actually determine their own content and experience.
What are your expectations from Nepal as a market?
Nepal is definitely a growing market. I take care of Singapore and 14 other distributor countries. The way I look at Nepal is that we have been working and growing here. Nepal with a population of more than 25 million is important because the figures say a lot. We will continue to grow this market and that’s the reason we are coming up with new strategies like this showroom.
Where do you see Sony as a brand in Nepal?
I think Sony in Nepal is a much respected brand and the consumers here trust the Sony brand in terms of quality and
reliability. We will continue to do our best to uphold the brand
image and confidence that people place in us. This showroom is also a part of our whole branding initiative as consumers right now have an opportunity to experience and truly feel confident about the goodness of Sony as a part of their entertainment lifestyle. Once they have
experienced our products, it is very easy for them to decide and spread the word of mouth.
In Nepal, Sony is perceived as an expensive and premium brand. What is your strategy to work with such a perception?
I wouldn’t say we are an expensive brand, but yes many consumers do see us as a premium brand. One thing that is for sure is that we are number one when it comes to enjoying market share in most of the categories that we are in. This speaks a lot about the trust that consumers place in us. I think it is a brand that they are willing to pay for because of trust,
reliability and quality.
I don’t think people are only interested or conscious about the price because Sony offers a lot of value addition with the product. Take for instance, our after sales warranty and after sales service. Our technicians are trained at our centres in Singapore and customers can rest assured about the use of original parts and so on. So, the total experience that we offer to consumers is something that is more valued.
What are Sony’s future plans for Nepal?
We will continue to work with Nepa Hima — our partner in Nepal — as we have developed excellent relations over the years. Jointly we have worked hard with the retailers and dealers to grow and develop this market. We will continue to work hard to retain our position as market leader. We will also continue to bring new and innovative products into Nepal and this will relate and compliment our channel expansion. We are now also looking at the secondary cities in Nepal and this expansion is important for us.