Here are five things he has done that we can all learn from Kazuo Hirai who proved himself within the Sony Corporation:
- Integrate: How do all your products and services fit together? How would you sum up your brand? It is no longer enough for any company to simply do many things well, if it wants to attain global success. It needs to do all those things well, while also creating a unique and instantly recognizable brand. Apple thrived, because the iPod worked with iTunes, which worked on iPads, iPhones, and iTV. A consistent user experience was delivered across every device created by the company. Every store had the same innovative layout, every staff member offered the same high level of service, and every product could be identified as fitting into the Apple range as soon as it was seen. Achieving this same level of brand recognition is top of Sony’s new game plan, and it should be the goal of any business that offers a wide variety of goods and services.
- Invest in yourself: Sony does entertainment very well. From video games, to film, to televisions, to computers – Sony has long been a leading brand in the entertainment and information industry. Over recent decades though, it has started to introduce a wider and wider range of products and services. It has been trying to get a foot in the door of many other related industries, such as business, communications, and finance. Under Hirai’s leadership, the company is streamlining its operations. Focusing on narrowing their product range down to the things they do best. It can be a hard decision to cut out or ignore a potential source of revenue. However, at times, this is absolutely necessary. Offering too many services will lead to lack of organization and an unclear brand image. Find out what your company does best, and focus your energy there. It does no good to offer hundreds of goods and services that are only decent, especially if they are all in different fields. Rather, play to your strengths, and offer a few products that are exceptional.
- Build upon success: It is possible to use success in one area as a foundation to build upon. Sony used its success in computer and television to move right into the entertainment industry. The company chose to create its own content for its own products, rather than to wait for services provided by others to become available on its devices. In developing its own content, the company has been able to carry its branding further. Not only are Sony products recognizable from the outside, but the software built into each creates a consistent user experience across the range. This is a solid model for expansion, and it is something that Sony continues to do today. It is something that all successful businesses do. The danger to keep in mind, as mentioned in the previous point, is that it is all too easy to expand too far, thereby creating a negative effect. To avoid this, build your way to the top in just one field, rather than building sideways into the lower levels of many varied fields.
- Innovate and update: This tip is related to the previous piece of advice, but it emphasizes that it is not enough to rely on a one-off success to carry you into the future. The success of any single product or service will dwindle in time, as it becomes familiar and eventually obsolete. New, better products need to be released, to keep your brand’s success alive year after year. This sounds like obvious advice, but it is among the most important to keep in mind. Discover what is best about your products and services, through customer surveys and feedback. Build upon this by innovating, with a focus on solving reported issues and enhancing the aspects that people love. Create new and exciting ways to connect with your customers, and make your products and services invaluable to them.
- Tighten your belt when necessary: Hirai has not been afraid to cut jobs in order to ensure the success of the company. When a company grows to the size of Sony, there is bound to be some excess waste, some areas too bloated to remain sustainable. Do not be afraid to make tough and unpopular decisions. Cut costs when necessary, but never lose sight of quality control. If you cut costs on your products, you are cutting yourself out of business. Focus your energy on streamlining procedures and operations instead. Integrate teams that perform similar roles. Eliminate any overlaps that have formed through the creation of new departments in different areas that have the same basic function.
Sony was in no danger of shutting down, but it was losing its competitive edge. With Hirai as CEO, Sony is already showing a sign of improvement as the Playstation 4 outsells the Xbox One. This success has come from making tough decisions, as well as focusing time, energy, and money on the essentials. Learn more about how to re-structure a company only at the University Canada West.