I recently sat down to chat with TDK Corp executive director, Toshihide ("Toshi") Hokari about the evolution of this blast from the past company. TDK Corp started in Japan as TDK Electronics in 1935 as a manufacturer of cassette tapes and later videotapes, CD-R's, and an extensive collection of recording products. TDK became the largest shareholder in the audio and recording industry. Over the last couple decades while cassettes have disappeared from the market, TDK took a break. After being acquired in 2007 by Imation, an American technology corporation, TDK is back with new gadgets and a brand personality built for the 21st century.
Toshi had joined Imation to do product development and saw first-hand the evolution of TDK. His expertise in primary market research helped drive decisions about manufacturing and design of speakers, which are now some of TDK's hottest products. His findings put Toshi and TDK on the path to be one of the first companies to dapple in creating waterproof speakers. Consumers want their technology to fit their lives, says Toshi, which is why TDK has branded its products as supporting an active lifestyle. Durability, high quality sound, and mobile convenience are what TDK strives for in its products -- and these attributes are expanding its consumer audience to a younger generation.
Fitting any lifestyle and preserving memories are what the updated TDK brand stands for. TDK Life on Record products focus on performance, portability, and usability. Toshi credits the dynamic, collaborative, and multi-perspective culture of TDK for the success of their new brand. With the success of their new recordable media, headphones and audio products, TDK's evolution is a great comeback story. Don't think the company has forgotten its humble roots, though.
Toshi has an emotional investment in all of the products that are being developed. However, his favorite is the original wireless speaker, the one that started it all for TDK's new success: the A33. "It's the foundation of our products - it's the root. Without that root, we can't do anything. If all I have are leaves and branches, we can't grow anything. But with the root, we can grow." said Toshi.