Sony Aibo Case Analysis Essay

1245 Words Aug 11th, 2013 5 Pages
Global Marketing Mid-Term

Sony AIBO: Case Analysis

Prepared by:

1. a. What was Sony’s positioning strategy for AIBO?

The AIBO is a robot. In its most simplistic form it is an amalgamation of steel, circuitry, and software. Sony, however, did not position the AIBO as a robot. Instead they positioned the AIBO as a pet with no utility or usefulness, but rather as a source of entertainment and companionship. Takeshi Yazawa, Vice President of Sony Entertainment Robot America, succinctly summarized this positioning strategy, “We had lots of arguments about whether AIBO should do something or not. But in the end, we all agreed, that it wouldn’t do anything useful at all. It would be a pet. AIBO loves you, you
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In essence, Sony positioned the AIBO as a pet (fundamentally adding an aspect of emotion to its products) breaking away from the actual product category of household robotics, a product category that had a utilitarian connotation attached to it.

1. b. What were some of the reasons Sony adopted such a positioning strategy?

The positioning of AIBO as a pet was a direct result of the lack of technological advancement in the household robotics field at the time of the development of the AIBO. Sony wanted to have a presence in the category; however, the technology lacked the capability to deliver the functionality that a consumer would have expected in a “robot”. By de-emphasizing the functionality of the product and focusing instead on its entertainment value as a pet, Sony was able to manage customer expectations while still having high visibility and a first mover advantage in the category. Toshitada Doi, Sony’s leading computer scientist, recognized the limitation of Artificial Intelligence technology to complete complex tasks, and posited that a robot with no utility other than entertainment value would be a breakthrough product.
AIBO as a pet allowed Sony to get into consumer households despite its limited technology and subsequently allowed Sony time to improve the technology and functionality in later iterations of the AIBO. Customers were forgiving

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