Philips turns 130 years old today, so we’re celebrating this with a brand analysis! They are a Dutch multinational company and started out with just light bulbs back in 1891. At one point, they became one of the largest electronics companies worldwide. Now, Philips focuses more on health technology instead.
- Name: Koninklijke Philips N.V. (literally: Royal Philips)
- Type: Public
- Origin: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
- Founding date: 15 May, 1891
- Headquarters: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Key people: Jeroen van der Veer (chairman), Frans van Houten (CEO), Abhijit Bhattacharya (CFO) and Hugo Barbosa Vazquez (vice president)
- Key stakeholders: Shareholders, government, employees and suppliers
- Revenue: €19,535 billion in 2020
- Brand design company: in-house design team and partners including Interbrand, Ogilvy and OneVoice
- Area served: Worldwide
Philips strives to make life better for people, by making the world healthier through innovation. That’s why in 2013, Philips dropped the “Electronics” in its name. While initially leading in consumer electronics, they have become a leader in health technology over the past decade. The goal is to improve 2.5 billion people’s lives a year by 2030.
When Philips switched their focus towards healthcare solutions, they also slightly rebranded themselves. They decided to take a “more emotional” marketing approach. Philips used to market itself as developing easy to use advanced technology, “Sense and Simplicity”. But with people getting better at using technology, the old method just wouldn’t cut it anymore. Therefore, they changed their focus towards meaningful innovation. “Meaningful innovation – focused on our customer’s needs – remains at the heart of everything we do.”
Although, in reality, Philips was forced to rebrand, as they were starting to lose money in consumer electronics. The market became extremely competitive, and they lacked aggressive marketing. In the end, the question was whether Philips would reposition their products. So they did, and as of 2020, Philips reached a brand value of $11,671 million USD, getting very close to major competitor Sony.
With this brand refresh, Antonio Hidalgo (former Philips Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer) stated: “We will build our brand through the propositions, relations and touch points we have in the market so all our money will work to build the brand as opposed to money that sells the product then money you put on top to build out the brand.”
Philips is openly proud of their past, achievements, and what they stand for. It shows that they truly care, and that they aren’t just any regular company selling innovative technology. They will always be an innovation brand that cares about people, which is the whole essence of Philips.
So far, Philips has been able to improve 1.64 billions lives within a year (2019). As mentioned before, their current goal is to reach 2.5 billion a year by 2030. However, their reports mention different goals at different points in time. For example 3 billion by 2025 (2016), and 3 billion by 2030 (2019). It was probably altered a few times, as it was unreachable. Hopefully, the present goal can be reached, otherwise that could have an effect on Philips’ brand reputation.
To sum up, Philips is doing exceptionally well in healthcare technology, helping it become more advanced than ever before. They were even ranked as the #1 medtech company in Boston Consulting Group’s 2020 ‘Top 50 most innovative companies’. What we can learn from Philips is how you can refresh your brand in difficult times, and still be successful. Of course, this has to be done carefully and it will take a combination of the right strategies.