Doing business in Japan information
by Venture Japan
Many foreign companies entering the Japanese market simply try to leverage their existing business model and brand identity and assume that their business in Japan will succeed just as it has elsewhere. Chrysler (though not of course Mercedes-Benz), eBay, Ford, GM, Gateway2000 amongst others are notable examples of foreign brands that have failed to create any (or in the instance of Gateway2000, any lasting) impression and success in the Japanese market.
But other brands have scored huge successes in Japan simply by making subtle changes to their brand identity, their sales materials and their sales and marketing techniques. Yahoo!'s auction breakthrough came about because they recognized that in Japan it is always the buyer (not the seller) that pays the commission. Many designer brands (for example Salvatore Ferragamo) have succeeded in Japan by creating an aura of exclusivity far in excess of that which they have in the US or Europe.
One major cultural difference is that Japanese consumers, whether corporate or individual, are much more detail and function conscious than elsewhere and when doing business in Japan, detailed printed materials are essential. Corporate salespeople leave buyers with reams of brochures; campaign girls thrust brochures and 'flyers' into prospective customers' hands at Japan's numerous trade shows and exhibitions. Japan possibly has more weekly and monthly printed publications covering more topics, hobbies and interests and providing more in-depth product reviews and comparisons than any other country in the world. Japanese are avid readers and consume huge amounts of product literature and brochures. After they have bought an item, Japanese people are used to very detailed instruction guides, user guides and reference manuals (for example, the manual for my Sharp SH505iS mobile phone has 522 pages!).
To achieve sustained success in the Japanese market, it is essential to formulate, project and actively manage a unique brand identity that permeates all of the announcements, products, literature and appearances that a company makes. The 'quality' and 'granularity' of the required brand identity may be very different from that projected in other markets and it is often very difficult for brand managers and graphics designers used to those other markets to adjust to the extra detail required for success in Japan.
Venture Japan has extensive Japanese market brand management, product promotion, advertising, public relations and exhibition experience and can work with you to:
If you would like us to transform your Japanese brand identity and corporate image into a solid foundation from which to achieve a sustainable 30% contribution to your global profits in 3 years or less, then please contact us.
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