Bang & Olufsen. Dinamarca, 1925
Before there was Apple, there was Bang & Olufsen. The Danish electronics brand has long been a reference name for high design, appealing to individualist consumers in a market where function otherwise dominates form.
For decades, the brand’s skill for combining technical excellence with emotional appeal put it in a class of its own. But in the post-iPod era, the specialness of its positioning strategy has been diluted.
Whereas emotional design was previously the privilege of a connoisseur class, it is now a factor driving demand for a much larger, less formal base of entertainment electronics consumers. New-generation audio brands like Sonos and Beats are not direct competitors for B&O, but their accessibility and ability to evolve means that B&O is faced with modern consumers whose expectations differ from those of the traditional audiophile.
Led by a young CEO, the company’s response has been to shape its brand to become more outgoing and direct, without compromising its essence.
The 2012 launch of the sub-brand B&O Play has played an integral part in this transition. As well as allowing the Danish company to branch out from its insular retail model into eCommerce and complementary retailers (e.g. Apple stores), the emergence of B&O Play has changed the tone and nature of the company’s brand partnerships.
Previously the company’s alliances followed a “B&O-inside”-type model: R&D-intensive ventures with car and gadget brands. In more recent times, B&O Play has led the company into collaborations that are more tactical and bring new accents to its message.
Many of its outbound partners have little in common besides a shared commitment to excellence: a collaboration with Rapha brings B&O into contact with the chic end of cycling; speaker products created with Kvadrat fabrics underline the beautiful precision of Danish design.
This switch in focus from “reach in” to “reach out” has been successful. In 2015, Bang & Olufsen offloaded its automotive audio division as part of a licensing agreement with Harman. Meanwhile the company states that 75% of B&O Play’s customers are newcomers to the world of Bang & Olufsen.
“Bang & Olufsen utiliza asociaciones para adaptar y diversificarse” es un post de la serie ‘Collaboration Generation’: perfiles de empresas diversas que entienden como innovar el ecosistema de su marca para lograr alcance y afinidad excepcional.