Still, Sony’s Walmart factor is huge. Sony is everywhere in Walmart’s Project Impact Electronics department. Its 55-inch LCD HDTV caps the video wall, its $49 Progressive Scan DVD player is on the shelves.
Industry consultant Joe Piccirilli, a co-founder of Sound Advice and former managing director of AVAD, said Sony, by having such a large presence in the mass-merchant channel, has failed to nurture its consumer perception of being an upscale brand. “That’s a very difficult position to regain once it’s lost,” he said.
Sony’s brand equity with end users “is still substantial,” Johannesen said. But he contends that Sony needs to improve its brand with independent dealers and the rest of the CE retail channel. “They have to mend the brand equity in between them and the end user, and with the resellers, the integrators and the distributors.”