SONY

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Kentaro Matsumoto

Kentaro Matsumoto

Managing Director
Sony Hong Kong, Hong Kong Marketing Company

The positive reception for the global products I contributed to creating compelled me to venture into international markets and sell these products firsthand.

Reflecting on a Global Career of 19 Years

I joined Sony in 2004 with the desire to conceptualize exciting products. After two years as a sales representative responsible for home electronics retailers, I gained valuable firsthand experience. In 2006, my hope to engage in product planning was fulfilled when I transitioned to overseeing product planning for the TV division, specifically catering to Europe and the North America. I worked closely with engineers to achieve high definition and image quality in large-sized TVs, such as 75-inch and 85-inch, and collaborated with designers to aim for design-oriented home appliances. After gaining a deep understanding of our product quality over approximately five years, I developed a strong desire to engage in the local sales of our TVs personally. Through a successful transfer to the marketing department overseeing Europe and the North America, I assumed overall responsibility for marketing and sales in the UK. I made significant contributions to achieving good sales during my five years there. I then moved to San Diego, USA, where I was responsible for the overall marketing and sales of the personal audio business across North America as a Business Manager. We made remarkable accomplishments during this period, including the monumental success of the 1000X series headphones, which took the world by storm with their exceptional noise canceling capabilities. In 2020, I had the privilege of being appointed the representative of the sales company in Hong Kong (“Sony Hong Kong Marketing Company”). I lead a team of about 150 professionals, spearheading our business in the Hong Kong market. D2C (direct-to-customer) is a significant area of focus in Hong Kong, but it is a unique cultural and market landscape distinct from Europe and the United States. When I first took the position, we were in a global covid-19 pandemic, so it was a trial-and-error process. Today, we are maximizing our touchpoints through directly managed stores and leveraging cutting-edge CRM (Customer Relationship Management) *1 and MarTech (Marketing Technology) *2 solutions, aligning with Sony's core value of fostering closer customer connections. At the same time, we are focusing on expanding sales and revenue as well as fostering sustainable growth and enhancing the Sony brand. As a leader in management, I strive to be "innovative and transformative" by focusing on efficiency and eliminating the unnecessary within my responsibilities. We are working towards building the number one team in the industry through effective business practices, such as dedicating sufficient time to provide training for delivering a first-class customer experience at our directly managed stores.

  • *1Customer Relationship Management is the collective term for mechanisms, strategies, processes, or technologies companies and others use to build and strengthen customer relationships.
  • *2Marketing Technology refers to using IT technology in marketing activities, including internet advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), CRM, and AI data analysis.
Sony Store Causeway Bay opening ceremony, to which employees and the families were invited

I take pride in holding a leadership position that allows me to be closely involved with the sales of our products.

Team Building with an Emphasis on Direct Engagement

Looking back on my professional journey, I believe each step and accomplishment has led me to where I am today. In the U.K., I established a 200-member sales team from the ground up to sell value-added 4K TVs and trained and nurtured these individuals into a group of skilled sales professionals. Our approach involved regular visits to retailers, where we actively collaborated to fine-tune product displays and enhance customer sales interactions while leveraging sales data to raise awareness among the team. In the U.S., I took multiple flights and visited the headquarters of major retailers for business negotiations. I also had the opportunity to accompany Tokyo-based engineers to provide product explanations to renowned tech media reviewers. To achieve effective product launches, we had a wide range of individuals sharing a common goal, working towards it by implementing various plans and engaging in marketing initiatives through trial and error. Currently, at Sony Hong Kong Marketing Company, we embrace the slogan "First Penguin"*3 as the symbol of our marketing activities as we dedicate ourselves to achieving our goals. I firmly believe in the significance of setting a strategy, establishing operations to realize that strategy, and strengthening the organizational capability of the company. As part of this, I call myself CEO (Chief Enkai Officer) *4, and it is my role to encourage my colleagues to excel and foster their high levels of motivation. I also take pride in my role as a leader who remains closely connected to the sales floor, working alongside in-store sales teams and customer service representatives. As a leader, I strive to connect the dots between individuals involved in our business and the organization, fostering unity and enjoyment. These are the principles of my personal motto.

  • *3First Penguin’ refers to the bold penguins that jump into the sea first from a flock of penguins. In the business context, it symbolizes those who "fearlessly take the lead and challenge new territories, even in the face of risks.
  • *4Enkai is the Japanese word for 'social gatherings'
Sony Hong Kong Marketing Company's 60th Anniversary Party (On the far-right is myself)

Knowledge Inherited from My Mentor and Systematized at Business School

I was truly fortunate to have leaders I could respect and admire as I worked as a businessperson overseas. During my time in Europe, I learned from Global Sales & Marketing executives that a leader needs to possess clear and sustainable vision and strategy, foster continuous dialogue with people in the field, and a team to transform that vision into reality. When I was assigned to the U.S., I had the opportunity to acquire a systematic understanding of the "essential qualities of a leader" at business school, as taught to me by my mentors. There were some difficulties in obtaining the degree while performing my daily duties, but I overcame them with the support of the people around me. In addition to gaining knowledge of business theory, my interactions with individuals of diverse backgrounds became a great asset, broadening my sense of values.

With classmates at a business school in Boston

Future Challenges

During my initial training as a new employee, I remember saying in a speech, “I want to appreciate customers who ignite, share, and embrace excitement across the globe. At the same time, I would like to continue to appreciate my colleagues at Sony for giving shape to these emotions.” This sentiment still remains after nineteen years, and I am immensely grateful to be immersed in an environment where I can continue to feel that way. Since joining Sony, I have embraced the role of conveying excitement through marketing activities, and I am very thankful to Sony for providing me with the challenging and enriching environment of a 12-year overseas assignment. When I joined Sony, electronics was still the mainstream business within the company. Today, Sony has diverse businesses, achieving growth in software and hardware, spanning Games & Network Services, Music, Pictures, Entertainment, Technology & Services, Imaging & Sensing Solutions, and Financial Services. About 110,000 employees worldwide are committed to "creating creativity and technology" to fill the world with emotion. From my experience of working overseas and studying at business school, I see even greater potential for growth at Sony. In the future, I would like to seek opportunities to challenge myself across diverse business domains promoted by the entire Sony Group.