Suzuki : The HDR-MV1 ("MV1") music video recorder is a new type of camera conceived by camera engineers with an interest in music. They wanted to create a video camera that could also produce excellent sound recordings. Many amateur musicians today upload their own creations and performances to video sharing sites and SNS. So, the Product Planning Division decided to propose a new set of values for such users by creating a new type of product for the market. We therefore launched a new project centered on young employees, close to our target age groups.
Since the MV1 is an innovative video camera designed expressly to shoot music videos, we started out feeling our way for everything from specifications to design, but from the moment the project got off the ground, we were fortunate to win the cooperation of many Sony Group employees. This included receiving advice from IC recorder engineers to satisfy our obsession with sound quality, and interviewing recording engineers and people from the division for discovering and training new artists at Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), and recording engineers. Thanks to a single product, the MV1, we were able to transcend divisional and organizational boundaries and create flexible links between many people. I believe this made our product even more attractive.
Nakatomi : The marketing team also had many opportunities to create links across divisional boundaries. In particular, people from the Product Planning Division helped with the structure of the promotional video during the production stage. Because both sound and video quality are key selling points of the MV1, we consulted with the designers of the sound components before shooting the promotional video to ensure we could shoot the footage in a way that highlighted the sound quality of the product. I believe we were able to create smooth cooperation between marketing and design in promoting the MV1 because our workplace normally encourages active employee communications through our products. Whenever someone initiates an idea or a question, our network is naturally mobilized, and someone always responds. I believe that's what Sony's culture is all about.
Suzuki : Naturally, opinions about the MV1 initially varied throughout the company because nothing like it had ever existed before. There was a lot of discussion about the LCD monitor in particular. The MV1's monitor is fixed on the side of the unit and it is impossible to view your own performance while shooting a video. This appears inconvenient at first if you're used to those Sony Handycams™ that allow the LCD monitor to be flipped so that you can watch it when recording, and there was considerable opposition from within the company. However, video cameras with flip-out LCD swivel monitors are less portable because they tend to have bulkier bodies. Moreover, flipping out the LCD monitor destroys the left-right balance of the acoustic image, damaging the most important feature of these cameras, the sound quality. And when we enlisted the cooperation of real musicians to verify things, we found that even if we flipped out and reversed the monitor, it was too small to allow the image to be checked properly during performances. In the end, we managed to win agreement to fixing the LCD monitor at the side of the unit from people involved within the company because we confirmed that it was enough to check the sound and video settings before shooting and the resulting video afterwards. Many people also said that it was very easy to stop and start shooting using the remote control function provided by Sony's "PlayMemories Mobile" application for smartphones and tablets. Since the MV1 went on sale, the compact design and high quality sound have been extremely well-received, and we feel our perseverance and insistence on certain features have all paid off.
Nakatomi : Our promotion strategy this time also posed some new challenges. For example, we normally provide A4-size catalogs for our products, but in this case we used the CD album jacket size to make it easier to pick up and take home. As we anticipated, the initial reaction within the company was that it was difficult to read with too little information. However, people around us came to understand the advantages when we explained the importance of conveying the worldview behind the MV1 to potential purchasers and users.
Naturally, it is not easy to convince people of your own ideas and opinions, and you have to take responsibility for them. But if these opinions are really correct, people will recognize the fact irrespective of age or position. That's another aspect of Sony's culture.
Suzuki : Irrespective of factors like gender, age or position in the company, Sony employees share a common understanding that it is vital to find ways of delivering the best possible products and services to customers. I believe diversity at Sony has developed through a willingness to accept a wide range of opinions in order to create great products.
Nakatomi : So long as we don't deviate from the ideal of delivering worthwhile products to customers, we should be able to persuade people to accept even features that appear "edgy" at first. It is arguable that the MV1 is the embodiment of diversity at Sony because it symbolizes our value culture, which holds that we should not accept things just because everyone considers them good.