Zildjian SWOT

hey all, I'm doing a SWOT paper for my music merchandising class. I'm just looking for some suggestions as to what you all think are some strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the cymbal manufacturer that everybody knows!

thanks so much!!

we can start a discussion on this right?


Senior Member
lol at school we write papers this way:
Outline: Zildjian
Strength: Good sounding, famous among drummers, hi-end cymbals used by professionals
Weakness: Many inconsistencies for ex. weight distribution..one side of the cymbal is heavier so you end up hitting only one side of the cymbals (so quality control is a little problem) Also, the lower line cymbals aren't that good and also the pitch blacks lol
Opportunities: (Im not sure what you mean here but ill try) Because the fact that zildjian is famous they have popular by many artists and players. For example, someone who admires Travis Barker would say: cool i want to play like him...SO THEY BUY HIS CYMBALS WHICH ARE ZILDJIAN! (ok im not a travis fan just an example guys)
Threats: Im not sure what you mean by this as well like threats to the zildjian company or threats against other companies?!?!
Sorry I tried and I use Sabian so if you disagree plz disregard this post but after research, this is what i came up with :)
great ideas!! thanks a lot for your input, i welcome all opinions.

threats are threats TO the company. as in, say if sabian releases fast crashes now, that is a threat to the zildjian company as it infringes on their market.


Gold Member
another weakness is their prices. the big three, especially zildjian, inflate the price of their pies to ridiculous highs... ex. my 19" k custom hybrid crash put me back over $420 after tax and a gc pg.


Senior Member
ZIldjian has an established brand name and well-known history. To some extent, their name is synonymous with cymbals (that is, when you think cymbals, at some point you think Zildjian. Say "Zildjian" and you'll think cymbals). Zildjian has managed to keep and maintain strong connections in the public's mind between the past (eg the classic rock and jazz era) and their present offerings. Zildjian's brand awareness is second to none among cymbal manufacturers. Finally, Zildjian has managed to retain a large roster of well-known artists who help advance marketing goals both by lending prestige, as well as helping in product development.

Zildjian's strengths in many ways tie to its weaknesses. Due to their popularity, they have had to scale production to meet demand. In many industries this is not a problem; it poses a unique challenge to cymbal makers - "Hand hammered" carries a certain prestige for segments of the market and in reality, very few of Zildjian's offerings presently have any hand hammering. There is also some perception that the cymbals are not of the quality or uniqueness that they used to be (witness a thriving secondary market for products that are 30, 40, 50+ years old). Additionally, due to the overhead necessary to maintain a business at scale (employees, distribution, marketing) coupled with rising cost of raw materials, especially Copper, prices have steadily increased - a trend most obvious when looking at second-tier competitors.
Finally, there may be a limited perception that Zildjian is less innovative or open to change than Sabian, due to Sabian's frequently unorthodox cymbal executions.

Given its strong position tied to historical prestige and "elder statesmen" endorsers, Zildjian can unequivocally state, from a marketing standpoint, that the present product is as good as or better than the historic product which is so coveted (endorsers may discuss 'increased consistency', 'wider variety of sounds', 'greater availability', etc as key differentiation points).
The company can also utilize its large endorser base to further drive product innovation. To some extent these opportunities can break-even on a strong enough endorser association; at the high end they can serve as a fundamental rebranding effort (witness the relative ubiquity of the A Custom series compared to the standard, main-line A Zildjian series).
The company could also take a cue from other manufacturers in the sector and produce limited-edition, high-quality and high-desirability products to entice customers to buy at premium prices (eg, a line of artisan-crafted hand hammered cymbals designed to appeal to the segment of the secondary market that will pay multiples of current retail for cymbals).

The strongest threats come from second- and third- tier manufacturers which have seen a growth in stature over the past 15 years. While the primary competitors of Sabian and Paiste have always had some degree of attrition on the Zildjian endorser base (and vice versa), other manufacturers have emerged and started to create unique brand identities. To some extent, these companies strike Zildjian at weak points: cost as well as a belief that their process is closer to the "historic" Zildjian process. This may weaken the strength of Zildjian's strong association with its past heritage.
While the increased awareness of these competitors may simply be a product of the times, growth and awareness of smaller competitors comes at the expense of the market leader, which is in this case Zildjian.


Platinum Member
I'd say Chonson nailed it. Very well done.

You could expand on that with mention a strength has been the company is a family company that has been handed down from generation to generation. However, this has become a weakness, because since Armand passed away, long time employee Lennie Demuzio left the company, and as a result of these men no longer there, many long time Zildjian players have also left the company (Neil Peart, Tommy Alridge, Josh Freese, etc...)

But that might be taking your paper further out than you want.