By Ronnie Rocket, business director & concept developer in West Berlin
In the last couple of years the Danish design and manufactoring company Bang & Olufsen have begun a journey to reinvent themselves as a company. First, they hired the young CEO Tue Mantoni – who previously was behind a successful rebirth of the British motorcycle icon Triumph – and they are currently in the beginning of a five year plan to restore profitability for the company. Recently, they launched the young sublabel B&O Play featuring high end, but less expensive products for a different segment than the mother brand.
Here are 10 ideas that I would look into, if I was running the company.
1. Produce the ultimate in car systems for electric cars. Focusing on high usability and high performance using as little power as possible. Making it portable and available as a standalone unit as well.
2. Leading a standards – something B&O is NOT famous for – organization with other electronic manufactures to make the slip in slot in future electric cars in uniform size and specifications. It will not only boost their own product but also establish B&O as a ‘do good’ brand globally. The connection with the car industry will be consolidated and strengthened.
3. Partnering with a hotel group to open Bang & Olufsen lifestyle hotels in selected cities. Today, high end hotels features B&O guest room systems. Inspired by Armani, going full out with a handful of fully branded hotels will create enormous buzz and PR and will also be the ultimate showrooms.
4. Invent the hygienic and user friendly remote control. Today, people have difficulty to learn how to use the RC available at the hotel. It should be a no nonsense affair and the RC should be a universal model that will work with all television sets. Also, it should be skinned with a ‘condom style’ wrapper changed by the housekeeping so it will always be clean for the next guest.
5. Open small pop-up stores in upcoming areas with underground scenes – not high streets – in Berlin, New York City and Tokyo, where they have a repair shop in the front space where they refurbish old B&O turntables, that will be put up for sale in the shop and on a microsite web shop. Also, the shops could sell the B&O Play line of products.
6. Launch a Bang & Olufsen record label based on the HQ lossless Pono format invented by Neil Young.
7. Produce an ICEpower Bluetooth speaker that will the ultimate audio accessory for mobile phones, tablets and laptops because power usage and sonic specifications will be superior. Make the production line ethically correct. Market with emotional storytelling.
8. Partner with a phone maker to launch a Bang & Olufsen smartphone (and later, tablet with keyboard) with the best sound quality in the world. “The smartphone that you actually use to talk and LISTEN to people with”. Make the production line ethically correct. Market with emotional storytelling.
9. Hire young people from the EU to produce as many products as possible. Become part of the solution to the huge unemployment among young people in the region. This investment in the society will pay off in the long run. (And the Chinese will still be busy doing other things and hopefully buying the products!)
10. Built a bicycle.*
*There is a link on a forum that indicates that there was a model made in the mid eighties as part of a contest. However, I have not been able to find a photo or additional information about this.