Social media revolutionize brand marketing: people don’t want to be told what to buy, but want to discover and share
Social media marketing: Consumers have now taken control of what they watch, read and listen to and so the messages they receive are the ones they chose to receive. Brands must now deserve that attention through appealing to their needs and feelings and not simply by buying airtime on television.
Ray Bremner, President & CEO of Unilever Japan gave a talk at Waseda University
To understand Japan’s media landscape read the “Japan’s media” report.
From Advertising to consumers to mattering to people
My key take-away is that social media have made the top-down “begin told” way of advertising obsolete, and replaced it by finding, sharing and engaging.
Unilever was founded in 1929 by the merger of the British soap maker “Lever Brothers” (founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever, The Right Honourable The Viscount of Leverhulme), with the Dutch margarine producer “Naamloze Vennootschap Margarine Uni”, which was formed by the merger of several margarine companies, including those of Antonius Johannes Jurgens and Samuel van den Bergh. Soap brought hygiene to ordinary people, and margarine helped people who could not afford butter. Both companies, Lever and Margarine Uni had in common that they used palm oil as raw material.
The merger of Lever and Margarine Uni was decided over dinner in London in 1929, and written down in a 100 word merger agreement – unthinkable today for an M&A agreement.
About 50% of Japanese people have Unilever products at home
Unilever vision 2010 is: double the business, while reducing the environmental footprint. Execution of this vision is measured by 60 KPIs and the results are published.
We work to create a better future every day.
We help people feel good, look good, and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. We will inspire people to take small everyday actions that can add up to a big difference for the world.
We will develop new ways of doing business that will allow us to double the size of our company while reducing our environmental impact.
Unilever mission: building brands that improve people’s lives.
Ray Bremner: “social media are revolutionizing the way we market brands, and they are making people like me extinct”.
From 2001 to 2013, the average time Japanese consumers spend watching TV has decreased from about 3 1/2 hours/day to 3 hours/day, while the time spent with PC & mobile has tripled from 1/2 hour/day to 1 1/2 hours per day. Most Japanese age groups use social media, usage peaks at 35% for men in their 20s, and around 45% for women in their 20s, and around 30% in their 30s.
TV reaches about 88% of Japan’s population, and digital media (PC and mobile) reach about 73%.
From 2001 to 2012, advertising expenditure in Japan has decreased from about US$ 27 Billion/year to US$ 23 Billion/year, while expenditure for digital media has increased from zero to US$ 12 Billion/year. For an overview of Japan’s media markets – see “Japan’s Media“.
How to make marketing messages a pleasure rather than annoying?
How do we succeed? Crafting brands for life.
Put people first, not just consumers. Real people with real lives.
Build brand love.
Unlock the magic.
The brand love triangle
How do you create a conversation people want to participate in?
We use the “brand love triangle. “The people we serve” are in the center. The three edges of the brand love triangle are:
Purpose (brand point-of-view) <— brand history dive
Product truth <— product dive
Human truth <— people immersion
“Dove Real Beauty Sketches” by Steve Miles
Brands need a purpose, a point of view. Before 2002 Dove did not have a purpose.
Steve Miles talking about Dove and himself:
93% of women do not think they are beautiful – men are opposite: 93% of men think that they look just great. Dave Miles (and Dove’s) point of view is that everyone is beautiful. This point of view is expressed in “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”, which won the Titanium Grand Prize and 10 Gold Lions at Cannes 2013:
As of today, “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” has 61,767,827 views on YouTube, which is not as much as PSY’s Gangnam Style with 1,888,086,686 views, but still – pretty amazing.
Another example of brand communication is Harley Davidson, which signifies “Freedom of the Road”, independent character. Harley Davidson creates a bond to customers by presenting each customer with the “umbilical cord”, the belt with which the Harley Davidson motor bicycle was tied down during the transport from the factory to the customer.
Focus: In 2000, Unilever had 1600 brands and today 400 brands.
Question: How many of your campaigns in Japan are global campaigns? How many are Japan-only?
Answer: practically all campaigns for all international brands of any company are made in Japan for Japan. That is not to say that global ideas do not work. In fact in most cases International Brands have the same brand and advertising positioning in Japan as elsewhere in the world. What does differ for Japan is that often Japanese consumers have different usage habits, have different views about the world and the cues within the advertising can leave different impressions on Japanese minds. The Japanese consumer is highly observant of small details in advertising ; much more so than the average European for example.
That means that we test Global campaigns but very often we have to create Japan only executions so that how we express the idea is done totally with the Japanese consumer in mind. This is more costly and time consuming but essential for success.
Hiroshi Mikitani about how Japan should become more competitive
Hiroshi Mikitani: presentation of his new book = Competitiveness
Today Hiroshi Mikitani, Founder and Chairman of Rakuten, gave a talk at the Foreign Correspondents Club about his Japan Association of New Economy (JANE) and about his new book authored with his father entitled Competitiveness. Mikitani is also member of Prime Minister Abe’s Competitiveness Council.
Overall Mikitani explained some very reasonable sounding suggestions for changes towards overcoming Japan’s current 15 year stagnation. He made clear, that the No. 1 reason for Japan’s stagnation is not lack of technology or lack of innovation, but is due to insufficient quality of top managers/executives of Japanese companies. Therefore most of Mikitani’s suggestions for improvements focus on increasing the quality of top executives at Japanese companies both via education and also via bringing in more non-Japanese competition. Mikitani also emphasized his close relationship with Prime-Minister Abe, he mentioned having had dinner yesterday with Prime-Minister Abe, and expressed is confidence in Prime-Minister Abe’s abilities and his power to execute. One of the questions the audience asked during Q&A was that similar suggestions for improvements have been heard over many years, and asked whether this time these suggestions will be implemented.
Mikitani is Representative Director of the Japan Association of New Economy (JANE).
Japan Association of New Economy (JANE) has three focus areas:
Mikitani emphasizes that the major reason for Japan’s stagnation is not lack of innovation, but top management with low capability and no vision. – Japan’s No. 1 problem are Japan’s executives.
To increase the competitiveness of Japan:
Japan does not lack technology, but global business management capability and business innovation
Current system protects top management with low capability and no vision. Top management needs to be renewed.
Efficiency of industries must be increased via competition
“Overview of Japan’s Data Center Landscape” (Opening keynote) Speaker: Gerhard Fasol May 22, 2013 9:15-9:45 Tokyo Convention Hall, Great Hall on 5th Floor, TOKYO SQUARE GARDEN, 3-1-1 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Data Center Summit Tokyo Data Center Summit Tokyo (Japanese text only)
SoftBank replaced Vodafone-Live! by Yahoo!-Keitai. SoftBank phones have a “Y!”-button which links to Yahoo!-keitai. Yahoo-Keitai! offers a list of official sites, new services (e.g. a new communicator service), and also access to free mobile internet sites through the YAHOO directory, as well as access to YAHOO services, such as YAHOO-auctions.
YAHOO!-keitai is a fresh start to revive the mobile internet service, previously known as Vodafone-Live!, and which had been losing market share to competitors i-Mode and EZweb for about 4 years. Previous to the Vodafone-Live! period, Jsky had been successful in gaining market share both from i-Mode and EZweb.
Understand Softbank: our report: “SoftBank today and 300 year vision”
Toru Arakawa, CEO and Founder of ACCESS, gave a keynote speech at this years CEATEC show in Makuhari on October 6, 2006, outlining ACCESS strategies.
ACCESS is the maker of NetFront browsers and other software at the core of DoCoMo’s i-mode. ACCESS acquired PalmSource and is developing the Access Linux Platform (ALP) based on the PalmSource acquisition.
With ALP, ACCESS is planning to deliver a full software stack for mobile phones based on Linux. In his speach Toru Arakawa outlined company strategy also beyond mobile phones to multimedia home centers.
Looks to me like ACCESS is shaping itself to compete with APPLE and Microsoft both in the mobile phone and the home entertainment markets.
Wednesday January 18, 2006 I was interviewed live on CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” news program about the turbulence on the Tokyo Stock Exchange following lower than expected quarterly earning reports by Intel, Yahoo and IBM, and a sell-off of Livedoor shares. Here is a summary of what I said in the interview:
Overall I am very optimistic for Japan’s economy, and I expect that the stock markets will recover soon.
There are short-term issues, mid-term issues and long-term issues.
Short-term, there is impact by Intel’s lower than expected results in the semiconductor sector, especially on Tokyo Electron, which shares also dropped substantially. However I think that the strong drop in share values on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) was much more an effect of the Livedoor issues than disappointment with the US high-tech results.
The Livedoor issues are temporary and not significant for the bigger picture in Japan, and will be resolved very soon by the Police, Stock Exchange and the other relevant authorities. I don’t expect long-term impact. There may be some changes in rules concerning M&A.
Concerning the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE): the capacity of the TSE seems to be around 4 million transactions/day, and the Chairman of the TSE stopped trading when the transaction volume started coming close to this limit. This shows the IT limitations of the TSE. This would be less serious if it was an isolated incident, however during the last year there have been several IT related incidents, such as the incident where erroneously 600,000 shares were sold at a price of 1 YEN, instead of one single share for YEN 600,000, which caused huge losses, and was not caught by the trading software, and there have been a number of similar glitches recently. So clearly the IT infrastructure needs improvement. However, from what I have seen in Japan, I expect now a lot of serious committee work, and I expect that the IT systems will be fixed in due course – I am very confident about that.
So overall I think Japan will come stronger out of these temporary issues.
Regarding the question of human issues vs technology on the Stock Exchange, I think both human issues and IT are important and both must be working well.
In today’s Wallstreet Journal (Dec 7, 2004), Mike Volpi, Senior VP of CISCO’s routing technology group, is quoted as saying:
“In the past the internet business models, technologies and applications were all coming from the US, but today, through broadband, Japan is about to become the number one country in the area of Internet. In the future, I believe Internet business models will come from Japan.”
On October 26, 2004, Softbank announced the acquisition of Cable & Wireless IDC for YEN 12.3 billion (= US$ 110 million)
Cable & Wireless Japan: Today’s top article in Nikkei is about Cable and Wireless-Japan: the article reports that Cable and Wireless is in discussion with Softbank and a private equity firm to sell their Japan operations. Apparently this news article is not confirmed, and it already mentions a purchase prize on the order of US$ 100 million. This article appeared in the top position in Nikkei – but there are several things a bit mysterious about it.
Cable & Wireless Japan – why did they fail in Japan?
I did not follow Cable and Wireless recently in Japan, but it seems that C&W made a loss of YEN 61.6 OKU on sales of YEN 713 OKU, i.e. almost 10% loss.
Since we are insiders in Japan’s telecom sector, we know most of the details. To out it into short words, Cable & Wireless did not have the knowhow to manage a Japanese company. They tried but failed, and alienated a lot of people.
Spent all morning discussing with one of the innovation managers of a big European telco. Interesting. Spent afternoon with a US bio-tech company which which is thinking of asking us to build their business in Japan, and in the evening listened to a talk by Tadashi Onodera, the CEO of KDDI. Expected him to talk mainly about mobile – but he did not. His focus was a national VOIP network they are building, attacking the fixed line income of NTT. Got hold of him after his talk and discussed with him for about 10 minutes.
UPDATE: on October 26, 2004, Softbank announced the acquisition of Cable & Wireless IDC. Total cost of the acquistion is announced as YEN 12.3 billion (= US$ 110 million)
Presentation given by Gerhard Fasol, to the Asia/Pacific – Midwest Business Conference Panel Presentation “E-commerce in Asia”, on Wednesday April 10, 2002, 8:00-9:30am, organized by the US Department of Commerce and the Illinois District Export Council.