8 June 2007

Philips moves into the lifestyle game

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Active Crystal
The Dutch company, famous for its electrical appliances, now sees its future in giving people an entire design ‘experience’, writes Paul Durman in The London Times.

“For girls who love bling, Philips reckons it has just the thing. The electrical-goods company known for its televisions and shavers is getting into the jewellery business. This year it will start selling a range of wearable memory sticks – including a USB storage device dressed up to look like a heartshaped pendant.

The Active Crystal range of products – there will also be bejewelled earphones for digital-music players – is the first fruit of a joint venture with Swarovski, the jeweller [read also this Philips press release]. The USB keys, which will have enough memory for 1,000 photos or 250 songs, are expected to cost about £120. As the price makes clear, the target customer is more fashion victim than gadget geek.

For Rudy Provoost, chief executive of Philips Consumer Electronics, the partnership with Swarovski is a good example of how the Dutch giant is changing, and how design has become central to its future success. “Design is not just about styling and the look,” Provoost said. “Design is the vehicle to create experience – design as a fashion statement, as a lifestyle statement.”

Three years ago, he said, design was only one of a number of factors that went into the equation of creating new products. “Today, design is driving the equation, it is setting the direction. A few years ago, we would very much have said: ‘Let’s do it all by ourselves.’ Now we are going out and partnering with companies.”

The article then continues with a more technical analysis of the Philips consumer products business strategy.

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