Communications


Someone asked me.

“How do you say “CHANGE”  in Japanese?”

The Japanese word is “Henkaku” and is written below:

henkaku1

For the sake of argument, let’s say Obama were to implement the presidential campaign in Japan.  Should his keyword “change” be translated to the Japanese characters above for key messaging in the campaign?

From marketing perspective, the answer would likely be NO. It should stay in English, as “CHANGE,” and not be translated into the Japanese characters “henkaku.”

The English word “change” is a very common in Japan, and it brings the same attributes as it does in the United States.  It immediately clicks with everyone, similar to how the word “OK” clicks across languages and regions of the world.  Whereas “henkaku” implies mechanical innovation or methodological improvement, “CHANGE” implies something fresh, pro-active, a significant departure from what went before, and even, something better to hope for in the future. 

Below is a graphic that has became popular in Japan.  You can see the attributes in play:

obama-card

When you go into the Japanese market, it is critical how you communicate your own tagline. In many cases, direct translation does not necessarily communicate your message in the market.  Sometimes,  Just like “CHANGE,” a simple, universal term can effectively resonate outside the United States as well.  Knowing the difference can spell the difference between successful localization and not.

Special thanks to Mikal Anderson of LakeOMedia and TokiOMedia for his contributions to this article.

 

I always love this  Marketing Campaign by Buckley’s. Another excellent example of  “‘Less is More.”

(Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi)

I am still amazed at how Kentucky Fried Chicken was able to create a new cultural norm for Christmas in the Japanese market.  Watch this. They have been doing this campaign for many years.

And for some odd reason, this woman is very popular in Japan around this season for many years.  Why?  Why the heck?  It is all about marketing, I bet.

maraia

Happy holidays from TokiOMedia and LakeOMedia!

 

maraia2

Yesterday, I wrote about how Krispy Kreme localized their website for the Japanese market.  When you promote your products to Japan, the contents you put on a Japanese website and how you put them (taglines, colors, etc.) is an important factor. Knowing  how differently your products and services may be used, and perceived by your target audience in Japan is crucial: You may need to change both the fundamental product attributes and, potentially, the entire brand positioning.

Here is a good example.

Fabreeze by P&G has been highly successful in Japan for many years. One source of the success is careful repositioning of product attributes.

Compare the U.S. verision of the official website

fabus2

with this Japanese version by P&G Japan.

fabjapan

Radically different.

Given the fact that Japanese houses are in general much smaller and that it gets very humid in summer, many households are more concerned about  odor in their rooms and cars.  OK- American households tend to disguise odor by “covering up wih nice scent” (in general.)   Japanese, however, are meticulous (in general). Their reasoning is that you should kill the origin of the odor FIRST and THEN add pleasant scent.

The same thing for perfume. Westerners often use perfume as “Italian (or French) Shower” to kill body odor, but Japanese use perfume only after taking shower (in general).

See the difference?

Oust? Not sure. In the U.S. it seems Fabreeze is far better perceived than Oust. But unfortunately Johnson & Johnson has not introduced Oust to the Japanese market.

If you want to penetrate the Japanese market, contact LakeOMedia or TokiOMedia. We help you reposition your brand in the lucrative Tokyo market.

OK, donuts are very popular in Japan. If you have a special donut recipe–why not?–maybe /you/ can make $$$$$$$$ in Tokyo!  However, you need to review your product attributes if you want to sell in Japan.

Here is an excellent example by Krispy Kreme demonstrating how your brand positioning needs to be localized when you go overseas.   Still don’ t see strategic differences in below screenshots?  Contact LakeOMedia  or TokiOMedia.  !

Krispy Kreme US website

krispykremeamerica

Krispy Kreme Japan website

krispykremejapan

untitled

It is all about framing… 

———————————————————–

Customer :  “Wow, this one is so fruity. …”

Sales person: “Earthy?”

Customer : “Yes! Yes! Earthy!”

———————————————————–

READ THIS ARTICLE:

The New Sophisticated-Smelling me. (NY Times August 16, 2007).

And watch this. 

Next Page »