How "My First Sony" nailed Product Experience

Cover image for the blog post How "My First Sony" nailed Product Experience, showing 4 kids showcasing the my first sony product line

Not so long ago, on a trip down memory lane, I was reminded about a nifty little tape player and recorder machine, that ruled the late 80s and early 90s, and impacted my electronic device brand preference, becoming a young adolescent!

Introduced in 1987, the “My First Sony” product line, was a, as Sony says it, “a wish that children’s first experience with these electronics would spark a lasting interest in science and technology”…and OOO boy did it work for me. 

The way it piqued my curiosity and turned me into an engaged and loyal Sony customer for years to come, was out of this world (or at least that’s how it felt to a young me). Waterproof Sports Walkman, Discman (with DualShock and ESP), as bringing around newspapers in the morning on my bike, having uninterrupted music was a must), headphones (destroyed tons of those), Stereo or PlayStation, it all had to be Sony by my book. I guess it makes sense with the last one there though #captainbovious. 

My brand loyalty would not have been so strong if it had not been for the introduction to “My First Sony”.

So how did they do it?

Ambition and clear mission

Sony was on a clear mission to spark children’s interest in science and technology.

They made sure this mission was communicated often and consistently in a fun and engaging way, as you can see from their TV Commercial. 

On that note, Sony branding the “My First Sony” series as a consumer electronics, and purposely didn’t display the commercial, in time blocks, where only kids would see it. This to avoid it being seen as just another toy, kids would nag their parents about, to have it. Sony definitely wanted to be spot on with ensuring the series was being perceived in the right way by both kids and parents.

Understand target audience, design and create to their needs.

Sony well understood their target audience, and maybe more importantly how to influence their buyer personas. It is one thing to build an amazing product for someone, but if they are not the actual purchasers, you’d better make sure to meet their requirements as well.

Going to have to show my favorite Wu-tang clan here again. 

"Wu-tang is for the children"

Sony knew that children, besides having their own purchasing power, influence their parents’ buying decisions and are the adult consumers of the future. [a nice article about trends in this can be read HERE]

So how did Sony do this?

My First Sony Themes: (1) Quality & Safety, (2) Playful, Simple & Intuitive, (3) Inclusive, (4) Diversification

Quality & Safety

Aimed at children, parents needed to be reassured the equipment could stand up to children hard at play. Especially as the series was positioned as full-fledge electronics.

My first Sony products were robust and pretty much kid-destruction-powers proof. Additionally, there was the Volume Limiter, to give the parents the reassurance that kids hearings wouldn’t be destroyed. The Automatic Volume Limiter Systems (AVLS) become the standard across future Sony products.

Playful, Simple and Intuitive Design

The “My First Sony” series were extremely intuitive, simple, and consistent. You knew what each feature was for, and how to operate it. 

Speakers were yellow (representing the joy one experiences producing music), functional parts were blue, and other basic parts were red or otherwise organized based on their fundamental structure.

The products having some type of transparent window and giving a look into the mechanics also made it playful and fun to have (I guess we were pretty much easily entertained).

The careful design ensured that as a kid you could easily learn how to operate it.

Inclusiveness through the color scheme

Not only to appeal to a wider audience to meet its ambition, but also to cross-sell, “My First Sony” was not just one, product but a whole line of products. It consisted of a walkie-talkie, Walkman, Discman, Radio cassette-recorder, Stereo and Tape-recorder with drum pads (might have missed some here, so let me know if I did).

Gotta collect ‘em all!

My first Sony, but definitely not my last!

So there you have it, a little trip down memory lane and an ode to my first love, my first Sony.

Which products did turn you into a loyal customer?

Signing-off Klaas Hermans for Sharpwitted.Ninja

  • Want to learn more about how to create your product with users top of mind? Check out my guide here.
  • Want to learn more about how to understand your customers better and create products they love? Check out my guide here
  • Interested in a collab, let me know!

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