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Audio-Technica Launches New Marketing Strategy, Branding and Promotions
Audio-Technica Ltd unveiled a major new marketing strategy at this year’s PLASA exhibition, comprising corporate and product rebranding, promotional and pricing initiatives. The corporate rebranding is based around the concept of ‘a world of serenity’, and reflects the founding Zen principles of the Japanese microphone company.
Realising that concept in the design of its stand at PLASA, the company departed radically from the usual approach to exhibiting, creating a “haven of tranquility”, with birdsong, natural aromas, and Japanese head massage. The success of PLASA for Audio-Technica this year, was in no small part the result of the new stand’s appeal. With visiting customers spending between one to three hours on the stand, the value of orders taken at the show was three times that of last year.
The company’s stand was designed to provide stimulation of all five senses; sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Visually, the stand adopted a clean, gallery like approach to the display of products and graphics, while digital signage, promoting the new corporate branding, provided additional stimulation. Ambient sounds reproduced birdsong, while an aroma machine produced the smell of freshly cut grass, giving a sense freedom and of being outdoors. Green tea, renowned for its relaxation properties, was offered to visitors, and a central ‘chill-out area’ offered Japanese head and hand massage, ensuring all visitors left the Audio-Technica stand feeling relaxed yet invigorated.
“The primary brief for the stand design was to provide a haven of tranquility for our visitors, amongst all of the noise and stress,” explains Harvey Roberts, senior UK marketing manager, Audio-Technica Ltd. “Like most trade shows, PLASA is tiring for visitors; we wanted people coming onto our stand to feel instantly calm and relaxed. Our stand at PLASA is one of the biggest opportunities we have in the UK to make a statement about who we are. As a Japanese company, our corporate philosophies are based around the concepts of Zen, and our marketing communications should reflect this. The commercial success of PLASA for us this year is a clear indication of the benefits of this approach.”
Along with the recently launched corporate image comes a new three-tier dealer system and a more global pricing initiative. The company will also be publishing what it is referring to as the anticipated market price (AMP) for its products, alongside the RRP, in a move intended to support its dealer network scheme in the face of discount retailers. “Retailers are obviously free to charge whatever they want,” says Roberts, “but the immediate effect of a lower perceived price will be to make those that don’t discount appear more competitive. The RRP has, until now, been largely a piece of fiction, no-one sticks to it, and it only really serves to make discounted prices appear more competitive than they really are.”
Audio-Technica is supporting these pricing initiatives with a three-tier dealer programme on its new Artist Series mic line, that ranges from standard trade pricing to AT specialist dealerships that attract substantial discount for stock holding commitment. The scheme is further supported by nationwide marketing campaigns, dedicated point of sale materials, and customer-focused promotions (such as the current Audio-Technica branded tee-shirt free with every Artist Series microphone), in return for stock holding and in-store commitment.
New product lines launched at PLASA, like the 700 Series wireless systems and the Artist Series microphones, contributed to a significant strengthening of Audio-Technica’s product range for the MI and pro audio retail markets. Newly designed packaging and graphics introduced on the 700 Series wireless systems, identifying systems according to their performance application, were also introduced across the lower cost 200 Liberator Series, providing generic branding across the company’s affordable wireless series.
Both the 200 Series and the 700 Series offer five different systems, whose titles and customized packaging illustrate the intended application. Both ranges include the same systems and will consist of the Vocal system with handheld mic/transmitter, the Presenter system featuring belt pack and lavalier mic, the Guitar system with cable for guitar/belt pack hook-up, and the Active system that includes a headworn mic. A fifth package, called Options, contains the basic receiver and belt pack system only, allowing customers to select a microphone of choice from Audio-Technica’s Wireless Essential range. The 200 Liberator Series has also undergone design changes to provide consistency with the look and feel of the new 700 Series, as well as to make it RoHS compliant.
23rd October 2006
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