Marketing Tips: How to Make a Paradigm Shift and Get Over the Ups and Downs

The paint "Sweetest Eyes Were Ever Seen" by Sir John Everett Milais on the wall

We can learn a lot about marketing tips in museums

When was the last time you went to a museum? To tell the truth, I don’t understand much about art unfortunately, but I like to go to museums, maybe because I enjoy trying mysteries that can never be solved by me. In Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum until this July, 2022, there had been a special exhibition: “The Greats, beauty masters from Scottish National Gallery.” Now, the exhibition is held in Kobe for your reference, by the way. It was so interesting and informative. Let me share the two big lessons I learned in the exhibition.

Good example to prove the importance of naming strategies

What impressed me most among the paintings in the exhibition is “Sweetest eyes were ever seen” by Sir John Everett Millais. The above image is from the official website of the exhibition. To tell the truth, I’m not so impressed by the painting itself. What rouses my interest is its title. I always use a museum-guidance service. According to the guidance, the painting was first titled “A girl with violets.” I mean no offence, but what a boring title! The guidance didn’t say the painting became popular after the title change, but I strongly believe it must have. In addition, the Japanese translation of the title is super cool, though I feel sorry I can’t express in English the nuance of the Japanese translated title. Probably, Sir John Everett Millais would have hired a good naming strategist.

Doubt common sense! Make the new standard!

Another lesson is the trend change in Western paintings from the Renaissance to the latter part of the 19th century. Until then, I just had a vague impression that most of the Western paintings of old times were religious ones. The guidance explained painters had painted religious paintings based on orders from churches before the Renaissance, portraits for the nobles after the Renaissance, and then had come to paint what they want to. In other words, it’d be unbelievable for people before the Renaissance to see paintings portraying ordinary people like a girl in “Sweetest eyes were ever seen.” Other times, other manners. All the things you take for granted now may become something ridiculous in the future.

True colors are beautiful like a rainbow

In fact, such has just happened in the wooden furniture industry. Once, like more than 10 years ago, it was unacceptable to use wood with strong grains and knots for furniture making. Lumber was ranked by the density of knots, and low-rank lumber was mainly used as a structural part for an inconspicuous spot. Our founder called it human ego, always saying “If you don’t like the natural characters of wood, you had better give up using wooden furniture.” When starting using wood with strong characters even for tabletops, we got a big backlash from the market, but we didn’t give up. Now, the trend has gradually changed, and many people like our wooden tables with strong characters. We may call it the Renaissance in the wooden furniture industry.

Photo credit:

A corporate logo, the letters of C and H are combined to look like a tree in a circle

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.