• November 1, 2022
    • November 3, 2022

    Business Tips: What Is the Value of NFT?

    “A diamond is forever.” I’m sure many of you have heard this before. It’s a tagline made by Mary Frances Gerety for De Beers in 1949. Grammar sticklers with poor taste like me may feel something wrong with the sentence, but it has attracted so many people and was chosen as the best tagline of the twentieth century in 1999. The reason why this tagline came up to my mind is because I’ve just started to read “Master of the Game” by Sidney Sheldon. Embarrassingly, I’ve only heard of the title but never read it. In the prologue of the story, the main character, the old lady recalled her younger days, and the people coming into her life were described as ghosts. The first ghost is Jamie McGregor, who went to South Africa in 1860s to seek his fortune, and the description of the diamond rush grabbed my interest. I’m […]

    • October 11, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: How to Tell Good from Bad

    We live from feeling to feeling Do you know how many decisions you make in a day? Including trivial ones, like blowing your nose or reading this article, for example. It is said to be about 35,000. Do you believe we can make such many decisions logically and rationally? Of course, not. It’s beyond our capacity. We make most (65%) of our daily decisions based on our emotions and biases. Making matters worse (for marketers to predict consumer behavior), we decide our daily actions seven seconds before we make up our minds according to John-Dylan Haynes, an eminent neuroscientist, as I wrote before. Behavioral economics to analyze and meet customer needs Nevertheless, in classical economics, people were defined as an economic man, who acts individually according to economic rationality. Apparently, the economic man was an imaginary creature like a unicorn. Thus, marketers were forced to fight a losing battle. However, […]

    • September 13, 2022
    • December 16, 2022

    The Japanese Housing Market: How to Survive in a Small House in Japan

    The greater also serves for the lesser? In the US, the price of homes still increases, while the Fed (FRB) is fighting inflation. In other words, even though the interest of home loans is going up, housing supply is still short in the market. Every time I see the news, I can’t help thinking from my point of view as a Japanese, “Isn’t the size of American homes too big? The supply of homes could be increased more easily by making them smaller.” As I believe it’s a well-known fact, the average size of Japanese homes is small. The floor space per capita is only 36 sqm (according to the stats about 20 years ago, though), while that of the US is 65 sqm! In the infamous EU memorandum leaked to the press in 1979, Japanese houses were harshly depicted as “little more than rabbit hutches,” and many Japanese people […]

    • September 6, 2022
    • December 6, 2022

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

    We can learn a lot about marketing tips in museums I don’t understand art, 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, 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. 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 […]

    • March 16, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese Craftsmanship: Chairs Upholstered with Japan Blue Jeans (Okayama denim)

    Japanese natural indigo Indigo is a dye extracted from a plant. As Jeans may be a synonym for indigo, it was once used to dye fabric all over the world, not only in Japan. You may think most of the jeans are still dyed in indigo blue. Nowadays, in most cases, it’s an artificial dye because natural indigo is difficult to handle. It requires a delicate adjustment according to the day’s temperature, moisture, etc. In exchange for the difficulty, the natural indigo of Japan provides more beautiful and deeper coloring. Japanese natural indigo has a long history Japan blue. Some of you may have heard this color name because it’s the signature color of the Tokyo Olympic Games. As having looked up the origin of the name, I’ve found it is Robert William Atkinson, a British chemist who named it. The Japanese government invited him to Japan in 1875. He […]

    • November 13, 2020
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Love It or Not Rather Than Good or Bad

    MBA frameworks are no longer sufficient AIDMA, PDCA, SWOT, PEST, 3C, 4P, STP, KGI, KPI, etc. I was so excited when learning these business frameworks in an MBA course more than 10 years ago. I naively believed I had gotten a key to the truth of the market. Later on, the world was soon full of MBA holders to commoditize all the above frameworks. I didn’t mean they were wrong and no longer worked at all. The frameworks can still lead people to correct answers in business, to the same answers, in other words. The problem is, such correct answers are necessary but insufficient in order to survive in the current market. The value of quality is declining High quality is absolute justice—most people believe this policy is correct especially in the manufacturing industry in Japan (like us). Our production people always keep making sincere efforts to improve quality more, […]

    • October 30, 2020
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Go Off the Rails to Visit Small Towns in Hokkaido!

    Country towns struggle to survive Do your cities (towns or villages) have taglines? This is not a question as an attention getter (as I often do), but I’m really curious. In Japan, with decrease in population, the number of municipalities is also decreasing. In order to survive, local governments desperately promote their municipalities. Unfortunately, contrary to their desperate efforts, some of the taglines don’t seem to work very well. They sometimes sound funny, even worse. Let me share the taglines of some municipalities to introduce the results of the officials’ hard work. Taglines of country towns Town of Picture Books As I researched, the town explains it’s because someone said the area looked like the countryside in the south of France. I know the explanation doesn’t answer to our question at all. Due to its nonsensical naming (and explanation), it successfully leaves us a big impression on the contrary. Bell-Ringing […]

    • October 7, 2020
    • October 21, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Red Pill or Blue Pill? This Is Your Last Chance

    All good lies are mixed with some truths The new Prime Minister took office in Japan last month (September, 2020). He was the most unpopular candidate early this year, but now boasts a high approval rate of more than 70%. I think this is a good example to explain the power of an advertisement. It shows how easily advertisement manipulates people’s impression, in other words. One of the secrets behind his popularity is a fiction made up by advertising agents. They advertised he had been born to a poor farm family and attended university while working. Lies and truths are well mixed in this story. Truth about the Japanese Prime Minister The truth is he was not born in adversity. His family is a farmer wealthy enough to send three children to private universities. It’s definitely judged to be quite wealthy according to Japanese standards. And also, it is said […]

    • July 29, 2020
    • October 14, 2022

    Unique Business in Japan: A restaurant Run by People with Dementia

    All the servers are people with dementia In Tokyo last year opened a restaurant. The name is “Restaurant of Mistaken Orders.” What features the restaurant is all the servers working there are people living with dementia. According to their website, the servers may or may not get your order right. When I heard the news, I was so impressed. It’s not because I’m a good guy full of humanity but because it proves my marketing theory: People choose something not for its value but for its meaning. Differentiation doesn’t work any more Many marketers say differentiation is the key to success in business, but how? Now that the world is filled up with a lot of things, information, and services, it’s almost impossible to clearly differentiate something from others. Even if you can make it, the similar or better one would come up soon in the market. In addition, most […]

    • July 13, 2020
    • October 25, 2022

    Marketing Tips: What Is a Reasonable Price?

    What is a reasonable price? I know it doesn’t look like that, but this object in the above image is a lounge chair. The chair can flexibly change its shape by moving each curved board consisting of the outer frame. For your information, the price is highest among our chair lineup. With the same amount of money, you may buy full sets of living and dining furniture at IKEA, for example. I think it’d be very natural for many peole to take it very expensive in the first impression.     All-out cost reduction efforts Market prices are naturally fixed by the supply and demand balance. As the supply is likely to exceed the demand by technological development nowadays, price setting becomes more market-oriented, while ours is still product-oriented. I didn’t mean we have power to make a decision on price. For us, a furniture manufacturer, it’s beyond capacity to […]