It has been a while since I posted mostly because I have been so busy at work and focusing all of my free time on my project. I wanted to talk a bit more about the project I am doing while I am here. I thought I would start with a brief overview of Philips, most of you have heard of the company but not many people seem to really know much about them or why the name sounds familiar. I would guarantee if you look around your house you most likely own at least one Philips product if not more.
Royal Philips Electronics is simply known as Philips. It is a Dutch company that was founded in 1891, and began with the production of light bulbs. Philips has since diversified and is broken up into three divisions: health care, lighting and consumer lifestyle. Philips is a huge company; in 2009 it employed over 121,000 people worldwide and is a Fortune 500 company.
We are the number 1 worldwide producer of light bulbs as well as electric shavers. Philips with the help of other major companies like Sony is credited with the invention of the cassette, CD, DVD and Blu-ray disc. Philips truly is a huge diverse company.
Where do I fit into all this? I am working for Philips Design which is a semi-autonomous group that works with all three divisions within Philips. When I arrived here my boss gave me a lot of leeway to decide what I would be doing here. I decided to work on a product that interested me the most. The product is an mp3 player that is fitness oriented. The product is called the Activa and it debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, but it did not launch until June of this year. The goal of the device is to encourage the user to work out more efficiently and longer. It works towards this goal by providing vocal encouragement during your workout through your earphones telling you how many calories you have burned and how long you have been working out. It also creates music playlists on the go, if you should work out harder it will play more up tempo music or if it is time to slow down it will be play music with a slower tempo.
I am working on the marketing and positioning for the next generation player. I have been trying to come up with ideas for how we can increase awareness and sales of the product. This is challenging as mp3 player market is very saturated; though we see this as a fitness device more than an mp3 player. The Activa has won awards for its’ product packaging which reminded me of Andrea’s blog about designing the packaging for her olive oil company. Here are some pictures of the packaging.
What we did I believe is very clever. The player comes packaged in a re-usable water bottle.
And here is a picture of the device itself:
Philips being a global company the team that I am working with is located in Asia. The Activa team was in Eindhoven (where I am) on Monday for meetings and I met with them for the first time. I did a presentation to propose a new way to position the product that I had been working on. Although they did not necessarily agree with all my ideas, they were impressed with the presentation and concept. My boss has been very supportive and said we just need to be more creative and come up with new approaches.
Although yesterday did not go as I had hoped it would, it was a great learning experience. Being from a sales background I am very used to being told no, this felt a bit different since I was pitching my idea more than a product. But again this is all part of the experience, and I am glad I was given the opportunity to present to the group. My boss and I still believe that parts of the concept can be implemented into the project. So although I won’t be able to claim a whole new business model that Philips explores in the future as I had hoped, I have been learning every day I have been here, and will continue to do so.