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Philips Campaigns To Extend Its Brand

Kicking off Philips’ Holidays In June media event here, Gerard Kleisterlee, Royal Philips Electronics CEO, said the company will begin to expand the Philips brand awareness campaign to include its many disparate businesses along with consumer electronics.

The “One Philips” initiative will look to inform consumers, particularly those in the United States, and more importantly, investors, that Philips is more than a consumer electronics company, with large positions in medical technologies (Philips Medical Systems), lighting (Philips Lighting) and personal care appliances (Norelco and Sonicare), among others.

The effort is similar to one undertaken by France-based Thomson to build brand awareness around its multiple industry companies linked to its CE divisions by a “video supply chain” promotional concept.

“We have a huge job to do, to make the American[s] … understand what Philips is … in the United States,” Kleisterlee said. “It’s a company that does $9 billion of its revenue — almost a third of the total global revenue we have — in the U.S. And in the U.S., more than half of that revenue is in medical diagnostic imaging.”

In coming months the company will attempt to cross-promote these businesses through advertising, special promotional events and other marketing initiatives.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the global organization said Philips’ new Netherlands-based “Homelab research incubator” for future electronic products has developed a “Mirror TV” technology, which will result in a new class of flat-panel LCD televisions that looks like large wall-hanging mirrors when turned off.

The Mirror TV consists of an LCD TV/PC monitor outfitted with a polarized mirror technology, which transfers close to 100 percent of the light from the TV through the reflective surface. Philips’ HomeLab, which produced the Mirror TV, is a test home rigged with newly developed technologies. Test subjects live in the facility, where they are observed using trial products to evaluate usefulness and value and to fine-tune product performance and response, Kleisterlee said.

Initially, Philips will look to develop the Mirror TV for the hotel and institutional sectors — the company already has an order with a major unnamed hotel chain — before determining the best approach and price points for the consumer marketplace.

He called the Mirror TV a “demonstration of a new Philips that has unique capabilities in technologies, but also understands how to market and how to get new things into the market first.”

Meanwhile, Kleisterlee gave the North American Consumer Electronics sales operation a vote of confidence, saying it has made significant strides in expanding distribution through the coveted A/V specialist retail sector over the past year.

Kleisterlee said that “messages he is getting from outside the [consumer electronics] community” give him the most confidence that the U.S. consumer electronics company “is on the right track” to success.

Larry Blanford, Philips Consumer Electronics North America president, reported the company has grown its high-end retail presence from The Good Guys in four West Coast states in early 2002 to 11 retailers in 41 states today. This was attributed to an expanded regional sales force and the development of breakthrough products.

Philips will also continue to mine “key marketing alliances,” such as the ongoing partnership with Nike on a portable electronics line. Added to that line this year is a Michael Jordan-branded MP3 player with 256MB of storage capacity, which is slated to ship at the end of August for a $229 suggested retail.

Philips is also working with Bose in placing its flat-panel TVs in over 100 Bose retail outlet stores, including its flagship showroom in Natick, Mass.

In a new development, Blanford announced that Philips reached an agreement to be “the exclusive video supplier to the Experience at Macy’s Herald Square.” He called the initiative “a solutions-oriented” store-within-a-store concept.