Sony Türkiye General Manager Mohsen Noohi has spent the last six years of his career at Sony in Istanbul and loves the city so much that he cannot give it up. Noohi is a Briton with Iranian roots and describes his team in Istanbul as being very ambitious and determined. He describes the developments on the Turkish market and the changes in consumer behavior as very exciting. We asked Noohi to analyze the changes in Turkey and the new consumer trends.
Mohsen Noohi is one of the most loyal Sony employees. He has been working continuously at Sony for approximately 29 years. He came to Turkey in 2002 after serving as general manager in Berlin. It does not look as if he will ever be able to leave Turkey. When he compares Turkey and Berlin, however much he expresses his pleasure at the lack of traffic in Berlin and the quiet life, he nevertheless states that his life as expat in Turkey excites him. Noohi says: “Living in Istanbul is like living in a discotheque but it gives me great pleasure to watch the Bosphorus.”
Noohi has some interesting observations about changing consumer preferences. He says that the priority given to the family in Turkey has resulted in a boom in demand for large screen LCD televisions. He notes that Turks’ love of football means that there is a lot of interest in sound systems with a stadium effect. He adds that the young population has created a good market for personalized products. Here are Mohsen Noohi’s views about a changing Turkey and the new consumer profile.
Where would you place Turkey among developing countries?
Consumer electronics is a growing industry. Of course it is growing in developed countries but the rate of growth is very low. When you think of China, India, Russia, Brazil, some Middle Eastern Countries and Turkey then you can see the future more clearly. Growth in Turkey has been superb, stunningly good. Over the last five years, Turkey’s GDP has grown by 5-7 percent. The economic situation of people in Turkey is also improving. In the last five years, the market has grown by 10 percent and Sony Turkey has grown by 40 percent.
Has there been a change in demand in the consumer electronics segment in recent years?
Consumers are looking to new technologies and high standard quality products. People now prefer products which are entertaining and which offer a lifestyle. Consumers want to personalize every product. This is where there is the greatest growth in the sector. Turkey has a very young population. This is very important from the point of view of brands. Because the target market is dynamic, highly educated people.
So when you are launching your products you are offering consumers a lifestyle?
Sony has been the leader in innovation for the last 60 years. At Sony we try to produce products which will have an important place in people’s lifestyles. We tell consumers this: “In fact, you can make a better decision. Because this product will make you more productive or make your life more fun.” For example, your MP3 players changes according to your running rhythm. If you run faster then the songs become faster, while if you run slower then the rhythm of the music slows. Our aim is to be close to the user. To bring greater happiness into their lives. For this reason we refer to ourselves as a “Digital Entertainment Company”.
Do Turkish consumers have different demands when compared with those from other countries?
In some areas. In other countries, consumers are more individualistic, whereas in Turkey they give greater importance to the family. For example, they prefer large sound systems. And Turks take the greatest pleasure from football. For that reason, there is a large demand for sound systems with “stadium effects’.
You have also begun to sell Arçelik products in Sony stores. How did you take this decision?
We work very well with Arçelik. It is a very popular brand. At the same time, it has very good after sales services. This is how you reach middle class consumers in Turkey. We have very good relations with Teknosa, the Metro Group, Carrefour and Media Markt. In Turkey, consumer electronics and IT are two rapidly growing industries. The size of the IT market is US$5-6 billion. When you look at the last 2-3 years, the number of laptops has grown by 20-30 percent. The main characteristic of the technology markets is that they enable the consumer to make the right decision. I think that Turkey is still just starting out in terms of technology markets. The sellers need to work like consultants here.
Do you have any local marketing strategies in Turkey?
We have a global management but local marketing. We are part of Sony Europe. The plans are drawn up according to the needs of the Turkish consumer. I mean, it is my team which makes the decisions related to everything in Turkey. For this reason, we need to understand the market well. For example, our Vaio computers are manufactured in Japan but they have a Turkish operating system. There are 150 Turkish software engineers working here. The Turkish engineers in Istanbul work for Sony throughout the world. They export the products and their work has been widely admired. Not every company can do this.
“Istanbul Is Like A Discotheque”
Could you compare Turkey and Germany from the perspective of living standards?
I liked Berlin very much. For one thing, it is very quiet. You have all the advantages offered by a big city but there are no crowds, traffic or noise. Living in Istanbul is like living in a discotheque. There is always sound and movement. But despite the noise and the traffic, Istanbul is still a fantastic city. After spending a certain amount of time in Europe, it gives me great pleasure to watch the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
So what are the differences between Germans and Turks in the work environment?
In Turkey, people work very long hours. My Turkey team is composed of very hardworking people who have the ability to take decisions. They are ambitious and determined to achieve success for the company. They believe in the company. Germans work hard but they are more disciplined in their working life. I don’t believe that differences between countries can change people. It is the people who create the difference. What is important is to hire the right person in the company.