About 3 years ago, I found myself doing some SNS based PR work for my friends, and one project lead to another. It has been exciting and fun to be on this new ground, and like everything else before in my life, work came in not as result of formal education, but learning by reading up everything I come upon on the subject, and continuously experimenting with anything interesting that could be tried. As I accumulate the years of experience, it is very interesting how the shapes and details of the market become visible as whole. It’s like living Eames’ Power of Ten video.
Recently, I was happily and busily working on research that touched various points on SNS PR in the fields of scientific community, retail food and beverage and fashion/lifestyle. These projects were wonderful, wonderful opportunities to learn about the Japanese behaviors and business marketing that support Japanese interests and lifestyles. Although in brief and general manner, I would like to share with you what I discovered.
There are so much exciting, interesting, and wonderful activities happening within the scientific community in Japan. It’s great if you could read Japanese. YouTube has tens and thousands of really good videos in Japanese, and in Nico Nico Doga, maybe even more. Unfortunately, someone who is very interested in the subject can’t access as they can’t even be searched because of the language problem. The language issue is not just for Japan, it is a global challenge. But I feel conscious that for an advanced country, perhaps Japan has inferior system of teaching real, usable English or other foreign language. Despite the scientific community being at the top level of human’s basic well being, right up there along with political community, to me, SNS in Japanese scientific community is not able to make the difference it could globally because of Japanese language only limitation.
In retail food and beverage, the services are really at the state of the art, total science in design, production, delivery and services. I mean, the whole cycle is really awesome. The brands are rapidly figuring out how to communicate effectively using SNS, but it isn’t how most of us thought it would be maybe even 2 years ago. It’s applicable to any other market. As an employee of one of major SNS platform company said, people wants to “feel like” they are interacting with a brand. Brands will have “fan”s or “like”s without much trouble, but for people to actually visit their homepage or SNS sites repeatedly, people want to feel like they are having conversation with a person who represents the brand. That’s just one detail, but other ways are their usage of digital mail magazines and apps that offers savings and specials to fans and customers. Convenience store brands in Japan are doing some really amazing things. I hope the companies doing research in Japan are accessing the appropriate informants to access deep things that are happening here.
I’ve helped with youth and gaming research previously, but recent opportunity I had to prepare proposal for the youth fashion use of web in Japan was truly revealing. It’s all about flocking around models, famous and not so famous. And as for lifestyles bloggers, it seems really unbalanced. Those who are famous and active are organic or LOHAS. This is so interesting, because as people who have been to Tokyo could tell you from their visit(s), majority of people across the generations around Tokyo area are very sophisticated with the overall effect. Majority are highly fashionable. Young girls are just as studious as anybody in the history, but it seemed amazingly shallow, compared to art, business, and science. This reminded me of the fashion research I helped about 6 years ago, when the researchers were perplexed that the respondents kept on saying “I don’t care about fashion”, yet observations at home visits and answers to indirect questions showed how fiercely they paid attention to how they looked, and the time they spent in creating their special look by the way they shopped and coordinated the clothes they wore. Just yesterday, one of my partners was saying that in China the culture is such that it is important to augment your talk about what you do, and in Japan, it is important to undertone your talk about your efforts.
Of course, not of these findings stand alone, that in cultural perspective, what is applicable in one sector is pretty much applicable in another. And when put together, they fit like Eame’s Power of Ten.