The Lets Make Things Better global brand campaign has raised the Philips profile, and provided it with a more focused and distinctive personality. Royal Philips Electronics - its proper name - is a giant company.
Established in 1891 as a lamp factory, it now has over 100 different business, over 200 production sites, and carries out research and development in more than 40 countries. Its sales and service outlets cover 150 countries, and it has a total workforce upwards of 230,000 employees.
It has a strong technology base, spending over 5% of sales on research and development, and owning some 10,000 patents. Its portfolio covers a wide variety of product categories including semiconductors, TV, video, audio, PC peripherals, digital networks, lighting, medical systems, mobile phones domestic appliances and personal care products.
The Lets Make Things Better campaign was part of a global corporate branding initiative was aimed at motivating both consumers and employees. It was, to use Intels own words, a brand renaissance.
The companys slogan is all about emphasising what technology, Philips products in particular, can do for people - it is essentially about the benefits they can bring to people and the world in general. A keystone of the campaign was the premise that, if you can convince people that you can help improve their lives, they will more likely believe that you can help improve the world.
The campaign thus had to appear credible and real. It had to be human as opposed to philosophical and philanthropic, and not just another typical corporate overclaim.
Excerpted by Branding Asia.com from Hi-Tech Hi-Touch Branding by Paul Temporal
Times have changed, technologies have changed, expectations have changed. But one thing that will never change is mans endeavour to become better. Continuous innovation for improvement was very aptly captured by the Philips punchline Lets make things better. This was a massive brand building exercise across geographies - considering the company has again changed its tag line to Sense & Simplicity.
Philips has been a household name giving generally an impression of a company dealing with lamps, bulbs, radios electric appliances, though not necessarily hi-tech. The effort was to have a catchy effective slogan showing what technology used by Philips products in particular, could do to the betterment of lives of people in particular, and to the world at large. The contention was that if lives improved, the people would then reason out that this in turn will help improve the world.
No doubt this slogan has stood Philips in good measure over the last few years. Would it still remain relevant with greater competition, ever increasing customer demands and expectations in todays high tech industry. It is good that Philips set for itself a standard to continuously reinvent itself through competition to explore each and every avenue of improvement in contrast to its competitors like Videocon - Bring home the leader, BPL - Believe in the Best.
Philips is looking towards a broader definition with seamless integration of new products in the existing portfolio which in turn would help in improving the overall brand equity of Philips. Quintessentially Branding per se means selecting and blending tangible and intangible attributes to differentiate the product, service or corporation in an attractive, meaningful and compelling way. The impact of the current tagline helps to break the shackles of limiting itself to a narrow product line of the existing set of appliances. It might otherwise be construed to be a brand dilution. However, on second thoughts, it could be reasoned that this leads Philips on to a path of seamless integration of new products in the existing portfolio. Brands have to stand for a product, stand for an organisation and stand for a certain set of values. Every brand should have a distinct personaility. When we think about Philips, and its punch line Lets make things better, the image that we conjure up is that of a continuous solution provider. A person who, if provided with an opportunity would come up with a solution to all our travails.
When Royal Philips Electronics announced its decision to junk Lets Make Things Better to make way for Sense and Simplicity in mid-September 2004, I was surprised. I was not sure why the company was going through the expensive exercise. To spend 80 million on a new advertising campaign to reach out to customers around the world is not a joke.
That the company has lost an important market share and perhaps some points in the perception sweepstakes to Korean/Japanese enterprise in India and elsewhere was known, but I was not fully convinced about the need to change a popular global campaign. Philips, at that time had sales of 29 billion, and was/is one of the worlds biggest electronics companies and Europes largest. A year and a few months later, Im glad that the company did it. This is not to say that the old campaign-line Lets Make Things Better was in any way inferior. But everything good and bad, including great campaigns, has a lifespan. The old campaign had served Philips well for almost a decade.
The new campaign, I would say, comes across as a commitment to both excellence and improvement, while being too in-your-face. The beauty lies in its subtlety. The new positioning gives customers such as you and me a distinctive image of a sharper, more focused enterprise, which - throughout the companys activities in technology, healthcare and lifestyle - is held together by a common drive to deliver intuitive end-user experiences. Did you know the company was established way back in 1891 as a lamp factory Or, that it now has over 100 different businesses over 200 production sites, and carries out research and development in more than 40 countries, or that it has a total workforce of over 230,000 employees. Were you aware that the company owns some 10,000 patents and that its portfolio covers PC peripherals, digital networks, mobile phones, domestic appliances and personal care products, apart from the electronics range that you and I get to see it every day.
Its not that Philips is not the only technology company to grasp the need for simplicity. IBM does it as well. But the route that Philips has taken is certainly worth a hearty applause. Whats heartening to see is that the companys route to innovation is not about extra-complexity. Its all about simplicity. Simple and cool. And, apart from the concept of simplicity, I also found the campaign to be fresher, cleaner, and more human. Ask the geeks and even they will vouch for the fact that simplicity is what they expect of technology. It is as applicable to a Doc working under pressure in a hospital with advanced medical equipment as it is to a consumer operating a DVD recorder. Simplicity is in and across all walks of life whether its healthcare, lifestyle or in enabling technologies. In fact, the new advertising campaign precisely highlights these features.
Philips has responded well to the demands of time. Im reasonably confident that the rebranding initiative has and will make the company truly market-driven and get it back on track to sustained, profitable growth.