Sony Case Study
In 2006, Sony was one of the world’s great businesses, but it was rapidly losing its primacy. It had invented many of the breakthroughs which set the scene for today’s technological landscape, but its brand was out of date and its leading role in music, film and gaming was under-recognized. Sony meant electronics and the old world of hardware and manufacturing at that. It had an urgent need to show the world the wealth of its digital entertainment brainpower. Wolff Olins set out to connect the parts, revive the brand and create one unique, future-facing whole.
At CES 2005 Howard Stringer made the vital observation ‘Sony is a technology company with an intimate understanding of the creative possibilities of content. Sony is a content company with an intuitive grasp of technology.’ Sony had everything it needed to be truly unique if it could be truly connected. So, we created a brand which would connect and mutually enhance Sony’s two brains – the technological brilliance of electronics and the magical imagination of music, film and gaming. Under the idea ‘Defy Reality’ Sony could revive the wonder of technology that it was once famous for. The idea is a mission for innovation – to do things which don’t seem rationally possible. All areas of Sony play their part in creating fantastical, awe- inspiring worlds. The brand is a celebration of that.
Core to the new brand is a new working culture. Sony would always be under- leveraged if it worked in silos. Inherent to ‘Defy Reality’ is the facilitation of much more exchange of talent and expertise across the business – bringing more of the fiction and sensory brilliance of film and music to gaming and electronics and more of the technical ingenuity of electronics to the rest of the organization. As Howard Stringer announced in October 2009, the brand is the convergence of designers and engineers, hardware and software, electronics and entertainment. The brand is currently taking form in the world as Sony’s first brand-only advertising campaign and new Sony line – ‘make.believe’ – which turns the ‘make’ of electronics and the ‘believe’ of film and music into an empowering call to action.