LAUNCH OF SONY XPERIA Z - SPRING BOARDING SONY TO #3 SMARTPHONE PLAYER IN INDIA

TitleLAUNCH OF SONY XPERIA Z - SPRING BOARDING SONY TO #3 SMARTPHONE PLAYER IN INDIA
ClientSONY INDIA
Product / ServiceSONY XPERIA Z SMARTPHONE
CategoryA06. Best Use of Media Relations
EntrantFLEISHMAN-HILLARD Gurgaon, INDIA
PR Agency FLEISHMAN-HILLARD Gurgaon, INDIA
Entrant Company FLEISHMAN-HILLARD Gurgaon, INDIA

The Campaign

Sony has been a market leader in India in most categories, including Flat Panel TV’s and compact cameras. The company had found it a challenge to make inroads into India’s highly competitive and lucrative smartphone market The Sony Xperia Z launch was significant, being the first ‘Sony’ branded smartphone to be launched in the year, and market success would help the company achieve its business targets for smartphones in 2013 o Smartphones to contribute 30% to Sony India revenues in FY13 o Triple Xperia smartphone sales to USD 570 million in FY 13 The PR campaign for Sony Xperia-Z had to demonstrate success on two fronts: o Drive awareness and brand preference o Have measurable impact on sales Taking into consideration the lack of awareness and brand familiarity as a key challenge faced by Sony Smartphones, the agency executed a proactive product experience campaign in the pre-launch phase, targeting the top 30 media influencers in India (including bloggers and magazines), enabling them to experience key features of the Xperia Z. The national launch event featured the brand ambassador showcasing the water resistance feature (phone dipped in a fish-bowl of water) live by over 150 media. The campaign delivered a record 563 media exposures, including over 80 positive reviews and was trending on twitter for 2 days of the launch. ‘Nothing can beat market success’ - with over 40,000 sets sold within 20 days, post launch interviews communicated the success of Sony Xperia Z, to positively influence further sales.

The Brief

• Help Sony India achieve aggressive business goals for smartphones: o Smartphones to contribute 30% to Sony India revenues in FY13 o Triple Xperia smartphone sales to USD 570 million in FY 13, To achieve this, the PR Campaign had to: o Generate high-level of anticipation around the launch of Sony Xperia Z o Drive advocacy via influencers (offline and online) o Clearly establish product differentiation to help drive the positioning of – ‘Best of Sony in a Smartphone’ o Leverage the association with Katrina Kaif to build brand relevance, drive brand preference and establish a youth & lifestyle connect

Results

MEDIA • Record attendance- Over 150 media, including 20 bloggers • 563 media exposures, AVE of USD 4 million. • Multiple exposures in leading dailies o 3 exposures each in The Economic Times (India's No. 1 Business daily) and Hindustan Times (India's No. 2 mainline daily) o 2 exposures in The Times of India (India's No. 1 mainline daily), Mint (India's No. 2 Business daily), HBL, BS etc. • Top 10 trending topics on Twitter • 80 positive reviews • 10 repeat shows across NDTV 24/7, NDTV India and NDTV Profit. • Front-page coverage in Times of India Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore BUSINESS  Over 40,000 units sold within 20 days of launch, helping Sony India to displace Nokia as the No. 3 player in premium smartphones India, increasing its market share in the category of smartphones, from under 1% in February 2013, to 9.4% in March 2013

Execution

Pre-Launch Review and experience programme – with over 30 key media and bloggers, covering Delhi and Mumbai Live Demonstration: o Brand Ambassador dipping the phone in a bowl of water to clean the screen (photo-opp and demonstration of the water resistance capability) o Demo Zone for Bloggers and Tech writers to experience the product Media Tie-Ups: o Tie-up with NDTV for an exclusive episodes on Sony Xperia Z featuring interviews of the brand ambassador and Sony India CEO. Telecast across all NDTV channels – NDTV 24/7, NDTV Profit, NDTV India o Front page coverage in Times of India supplements across Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore Multiple Exposures in Tier 1 media o Pitching different facets - product launch, reviews, and sales success stories Regional Press Meets for sustenance of visibility Keep the buzz alive – Continued endorsements by key online influencers; product placements in lifestyle media, generic stories on smartphones

The Situation

The PR campaign was designed to help drive awareness and sales for Sony Xperia-Z; and took into consideration the following challenges: • High visibility and market share of competing brands • Lack of ‘consumer pull’ in India: for Sony smartphones, prior to launch of Sony Xperia-Z • Lack of the Gen-X connect: Youth did not associate with Sony smartphones, as being cool to own, or flaunt • Diminishing product differentiation in smartphones • One among many launches – new launch every 15 days • Lack of familiarity: Most media influencers were not familiar with Sony Xperia Smartphones

The Strategy

• Identify and build advocacy with key media and non-media influencers - Over 30 influencers were engaged in the pre-launch phase, including online influencers and bloggers. This ensured that product reviews started being published even in magazines 15 days post the media launch, ensuring continuity in visibility, and adding credibility to product claims via expert endorsements • Creating excitement by leveraging brand ambassador Katrina Kaif. o Exclusive episodes on NDTV, with over 10 repeats across NDTV 24/7, NDTV India and NDTV Profit o Front-page shoot with Times of India across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore • Highlighting product USP’s, relevant from and Indian consumer’s perspective, including the 'water-resitance' feature, which was demonstrate live in front of all media at the press conference • Sustaining post-launch buzz via regional press meets in Tier 2 cities • Communicating success: releasing sales figures, to reinforce consumer‟s purchase inclination for Sony Xperia Z”

Credits

Name Company Position
Pavit Nanda Fleishman Hillard Sr. Account Executive
Akriti Khera Fleishman Hillard Sr. Account Executive
Anurag Rana Fleishman Hillard Account Manager
Shruti Arora Fleishman Hillard Account Manager
Rahul Mehta Fleishman Hillard Sr. Vice President/General Manager