History & Marketing Strategies of Phillips Brand

Company Name – Philips
Founder – Gerard Philips and Frederik Philips  

Royal Philips or Koninklijke Philips N.V. which is popularly known as Philips is a multinational electronics company from Netherlands. Listed among the top technology companies across the world, Philips has its headquarters located in Amsterdam.

Since 1st April 2011, Frans van Houten has been the acting CEO of the company while Jeroen van der Veer is its current Chairman. By achieving the royal honorary recognition in 1998, Philips decided to drop the ‘electronics’ from its brand name in 2013.

From home appliances to clinical diagnosis, Philips has its extensive range of products which are offered by a number of subsidiaries like Philips Electronics, Magnavox and Saeco. 

How It All Started 

A banker from Zaltbommel named Frederick Philips was inspired by Gerald Philips’ experiments in making reliable filaments of carbon and the electricity industry that was growing significantly fast. The father invested on an empty and modest factory from Eindhoven in 1891 where Gerald, his son could start production of the carbon-filament lamps along with a number of electro-technical equipment in 1892.

This was an initiative to manufacture reliable and affordable incandescent bulbs and it soon became among the largest lamp producers all over Europe. Being export-oriented company, Philips was able to earn bulk orders and as a matter of fact, the Russian Czar also ordered bulk lamps for decorating his Winter Palace. 

The company faced near bankruptcy by 1895 but the condition was soon changed as Anton Philips, the younger son of Frederick was appointed as sales representative who had come up with unique business ideas to trigger the foundation of the Philips Metalalgloeilampfabriek N. V or Philips Metal Filament Lamp Factory Limited in 1908 in Eindhoven. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken N. V or Philips Lightbulb Factories Limited was founded in 1912.  


Becoming a limited brand having public traded shares, Philips Factories were listed on Amsterdam Stock Exchange, thanks to Anton and Gerard who changed the business by starting Philips Corporation which became multinational later. In 1914, Philips launched the research laboratory named NatLab for studying chemical and physical phenomena and stimulating product innovation.

On 25th Anniversary of Philips in 1916, royal recognition was bestowed upon it and in 1918, the X-ray tube was innovated as a milestone in medical field. Vacuum tubes and radio reception were among the patented products lunched by Philips during the 1920s and its sale spread across Europe as well as countries like Brazil, China and Australia. 

Philips became the largest radio manufacturer by selling 1 million radio sets within 5 years from 1927 when the manufacturing had started. By the next year, a hundred million radio valves were produced. The experiment with manufacturing televisions had started since 1925 and in 1938, Philips launched its television for the Utrecht Annual Fair. Next year, the Philishave was launched as an electric razor. In the same period, the “Chapel” Radio with in-built loudspeaker was launched. 

In the following few years, due to World War II, Philips had to face a series of hardships during which Frits Philips had made sure that the company did not collapse. During the period of 1940-50s, Philips had invested on integrated circuits and transistors and in 1949, the television sets came to market followed by the launching of Philips Records in the following year. Philips Synchrocyclotron was launched in 1949 for researching about malignant tumor treatment.

The Compact Audio Cassettes were launched in 1963 and in the 1970’s, Philips launched the Laser Vision Optical Disc, radio recorder, mini-cassettes, VCRs or Video Cassette Recorders etc and in partnership with Sony, it launched the Compact Discs which evolved into different versions like CD-RW, CD-R, Blu-ray and DVD. 

Philips’s marketing strategy and reasons behind its success

-Starting its journey from Netherlands, Philips had spread its units in European countries like Germany, France, UK, Italy, Greece etc. Apart from Europe, Philips had its branches in Asian countries like Thailand, India, Israel, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Mainland China. Canada, United States and Mexico from North America, Brazil from South America and Australia and New Zealand from Oceania also have their patented unites.

-The extensive range of products from Philips is one of the main reasons behind its success. Home and professional lamps, indoor and outdoor luminaries, horticulture lightings, home fixtures and solar LEDs are some of the lighting products. Besides, audio products like DJ Mixers, wireless speakers, headphones etc, Imaging systems like fluoroscopy, mammography, PET, etc, diagnostic ECG, informatics, defibrillators etc are offered by Philips for a better lifestyle. 

-Sustainability with meaningful innovation is a motto of Philips –the EcoVision program is used to produce equipment with Green technologies and with innovative solutions for stimulating business growth. 

-For seamless innovation in healthcare products, Philips has Healthcare Innovation Centre where new products are launched to offer reliable and smart medical assistance with clinical products.   


Philips’s campaigns 

In 2017, Philips’ ‘Saved By The Grill’ campaign was launched with three thirty-second clips titled as The Anxious Firestarter, The Weather Woman and The Man With The Fan in order to show how outdoor grills confuse people and how the indoor grill with less smoke can alleviate the situation.

The ‘Right Light Future Bright’ advertisement campaign starred Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor as a principal of a school convincing parents how poor light can affect the performance of the students and how bright incandescent lamps from Philips can brighten up their future. 

Another campaign of “Good for the Eyes” also starred Ranbir Kapoor and addressed two target groups i.e. Micro and Consumers with the two advertisement clips of 45 seconds. The advertisement promoted the LED lights with low-glare from Philips depicting how these lights cause less fatigue to eyes to kids as well as small or medium industries. The “Better Me, Better World” marketing initiative was an engaging campaign for the consumers as with this, the consumers could set agenda for 2018 social causes for Philips.   



What started with light bulbs is now among the largest technological conglomerates across the globe, thanks to over 74,000 employees in around a hundred countries. Philips understands the challenges like availability and price of the resources as well as increase of consumers from middle-class segments. 

By addressing the opportunities like big data, changed governance and legislation, Philips has been redefining the product and consumer relationship with changing models so that the company has a strong connectivity with the consumers in multi-channeled world. 


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