Marketing a Business in Japan
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Marketing a Business in Japan
The international transition of a business when preparing to expand is more than just costs and procedures. It's more cultural acclimatisation than calculatory acumen. It's making sure your product or service fits the inclinations and idiosyncrasies of a nation; finding a way to culturalise your business in order to reap the same results your business has achieved domestically. This is accomplished through one simple step: effective marketing.
Marketing your business on indigenous soil is an art-form in itself; attempting to do it overseas is nigh-on miraculous. Countries may be becoming more heterogeneous, but the foundations of a culture rarely budge for anything: their sensitivities, traditions, humour, discourses, protocols are essentially unchanging and stubbornly unaccommodating. Therefore, the identity of your product or service needs to seamlessly fashion itself upon a nation, not the other way around, shoehorned in, hoping for the best.
Advertising and Sales promotions in Japan
Japan has a very sophisticated advertising culture and is the second largest advertising market in the world. Ways for businesses expanding to Japan to market their products are numerous, with the internet, exhibitions and direct mail all ways of reaching the market. Television is the main advertising medium, accounting for 34.2% of advertising expenditure and television is viewed in most households. Newspapers are also a common medium, with 54.6 million domestic newspapers issued in 2005. Over 94% of Japanese newspaper circulation is home delivered. The use of the internet in Japan is extensive, with over 62% of Japanese households owning a broadband connection. If you are setting up a business in Japan, it is recommended that you utilise the services of a local agent. If you are producing literature for clients, it is advised that the text is in Japanese and that if there are illustrations, they are of a high quality. Technical details and specifications are expected if the promotional material is related to industrial products.
Cultural sensitivity and understanding of protocol is paramount to effective marketing. The intricacies of a nation its beliefs, even its superstitions can make or break your business. Know the market; immerse yourself in it. Never assume your marketing strategy will be transplantable to a foreign country. There is only a slim chance language will translate well. Anglophonic countries may be susceptible, but if your product or service plays on a quintessentially British characteristic or joke the chances are, it will not be well received.
As for other countries, don't bank on using the same strap-lines or gimmicks. Unless they are perfectly transitional, your product or service could suffer especially if it relies on humour.
Unless you are certain your product or service can sell itself on indigenous merits, it is probably wise to revise its selling-points for a foreign market. As always, however, only your own fastidious research can conclude this.
Japan can be a complicated culture to understand and there are many idiosyncrasies. For instance, while Japan has a large number of conformists in its society, there are numerous subcultures, which are used in marketing, such as Ko Gyaru. Ko Gyarus are girls who wear day-glow makeup, have bleached hair and wear knee-high boots, presenting an image of individualism and rebellion, which is associated with youthful consumer products. Fads are known to be brief in Japan and culture can move quickly. It is recommended that you work with someone who has local knowledge of the market and there are a number of advertising agencies for anyone setting up a new business in Japan. With sales promotions, personal relationships and trust are seen as essential if you are going to establish a meaningful business relationship in Japan.