Business Focus: How to approach the Japanese market

Here we are again with the column dedicated to the Business Focus and today we are talking about how to approach the Japanese market. Starting from start-ups up to large companies, very often we tend to forget to approach and target the Japanese public and this is a mistake from the beginning. Why eliminate a slice of the market that represents the third world power in terms of consumers?

How to approach the Japanese market

Autore: Erika 

As we mentioned earlier, the Japanese market represents the third largest slice of the world by consumer level. Instead, did you know that social media platforms, even the biggest ones, consider the Japanese market as the second largest market in the world? This is because China, which would occupy the second place, has blocked many foreign companies and corporate policies, causing the focus to shift to Japan.

However, very often companies make the mistake of excluding Japan from their marketing strategies. This is because the Japanese market is also one of the most difficult to approach. In reality, you just need to be able to adapt to their mentality and ways.

The obstacles of the Japanese market

mercato giapponese

One of the biggest problems that Western companies find when approaching the Japanese market is primarily the language barrier. In fact, the average Japanese customer prefers to use their own language for both private relations and business exchanges. In fact, according to EF, Japan ranks 55th in the chart table in terms of knowledge of English.

If we add to this the fact that Japan is a country that is very attached to tradition and also to its customs and traditions, the approach to this market becomes even more difficult. However, this should not stop us, but rather stimulate us to find a way to reach this market. So, what kind of marketing strategies and tactics could we adopt? How to deal with this situation?

Digital is the solution

mercato giapponese

The strategy is actually not that complicated, digital and new media are our solution. If we're talking about startups in fact, often the available budget is limited and splitting this on different platforms to have more presence could actually be counterproductive. Better to focus your savings on digital. Over the years of working with Japanese companies and people, we've tried many different ways to promote companies. So here are our tips on where to focus.

Facebook & Instagram ads

In the past, we've already addressed how new digital media, and social media in particular, can help us set our company sailing internationally. In particular, the ads feature of Facebook and Instagram is one of the best tools to target specific users. Both start-ups and established companies should take advantage of this tool to be able to reach their audience.

The two social media platforms obviously have different demographics, with Facebook reaching a more adult audience in Japan and Instagram reaching a younger audience. By combining the two platforms and using them to promote your company, you can reach a wider audience. Obviously, before embarking on a promotional operation, it is important to study your mission and your target audience to be able to reach the right niche audience on the right social.

Twitter ads

One of the most successful social networks in Japan is definitely Twitter. Twitter has more monthly active users (45 million) than any other social media platform such as Instagram (33 million) and even Facebook (26 million) in Japan.

Twitter is a bit of a "controversial" platform, you either love it or hate it. However, when used for business it can become a really powerful and effective media as much as Facebook, especially when it comes to ads. In some cases, depending on the industry, it could even outperform Facebook. Twitter also reaches a very young audience and many Japanese companies have used Twitter ads not only to increase their brand awareness but also to increase their profit organically. If you want to reach the young audience in Japan, Twitter could be the solution for you.

Influencer Marketing

And finally we come here, to Influencer Marketing, what we believe to be the strategy that works best internationally today. In today's world, we are all bombarded by the myriad of advertisements, focusing on influencer partnerships could become a positive thing.

However, influencer marketing can be a double-edged sword. The first step to pay attention to and that will determine the success of a good campaign is the correct choice of the influencer with whom to collaborate. In this case it becomes even more important to be able to find the right influencer who is in line with your image and who has an audience in line with your target.

Obviously, being able to collaborate with big names like Chiara Ferragni or Naomi Watanabe is really difficult, however, there is a category that should not be underestimated: micro-influencers. They have limited followers compared to the others, but they also have a higher engagement rate. These could not only be loyal customers or brand advocates but also be able to bring the audience to your niche.

Investing in marketing is always a great choice and startups that may not have an infinite budget can narrow down their strategy to something targeted and functional. The Japanese market may seem strange but it has the potential to be the springboard for your company. Absolutely not to be ignored.


Business Focus: Content Strategy, everything you need to know before you start

We continue our column on Business Focus talking about Content Strategy. Last time we talked about Native Advertising which is closely related to content marketing. So today, let's go and see what to do before jumping into the fray!

Content Strategy, how to lay the foundation for a solid campaign

Author: Erika 

Probably some of you have already heard of Content Marketing, after all it is one of those types of promotion that is going for the most along with Native Advertising. However, a campaign cannot work separately from a more comprehensive and long-lasting strategy.

"Having a precise and structured content strategy is key to creating winning digital campaigns."

This is not only one of our mantras, but it should be that of every company that decides to approach (even for the first time) digital marketing. In fact, there is no content marketing without content strategy, or at least not one that works profitably.
So it's extremely important to study and understand how we can leverage a winning strategy for our business, whatever it may be.

What are Content Marketing and Content Strategy

Content Strategy

First of all, let's understand what it actually is.

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of useful and valuable content. All this aimed at a well-defined target audience in order to attract and acquire potential customers and make them take profitable actions.

The content strategy instead deals with the more "theoretical and strategic" aspects. In the strategy we must in fact include all sides related to the planning and management of content throughout its life cycle. This includes not only the creation and publication of the content, but also a careful analysis. In fact, we're talking about a study that involves aligning content with a company's goals, content development, production, measurement and even archiving. This entire phase precedes the implementation of the content itself.

Content strategy is what lies upstream, everything that defines and regulates the practical development process. In fact, the figure of the content strategist does not deal with the production of content, but focuses the attention to the planning of the same. This is the person responsible for deciding not only when content should be published but above all why it should be produced. In fact, each content is a single brick that goes to lay the foundation for the success of the whole communication strategy. It is therefore important to have a well-defined project, studied and that can be analyzed in every step.

Content Strategy: What you need to know before you start

We've said that content strategy is ultimately nothing more than a strategy that envisions a company's business goals and then uses content as the primary means to achieve those goals.

Content can be of various types but one of the important focuses that these have in common is the intelligent use of stories and creative writing, in any form, but we’ll talk more on that in another article.

Content marketing, even in Japan, focuses on a variety of content that can range from a blog post to a confirmation page. The task of these productions is to build a connection of trust between a company's products or services and its target audience. This becomes more fundamental in Japan, where gaining the trust of the customer means everything and has much more weight than in other countries. In fact, as we've mentioned in the past, the Japanese people are basically a traditionalist nation that doesn't like change. In fact, once the target audience trusts and relies on a specific company, they never leave it again.

But this is just the beginning of the Content Strategy concept, so let's take a more specific look at what is involved in a good strategy.

Content strategy: The Vision

Content Strategy

When we decide to approach something, if we want this thing to be successful, the fundamental basis is to have a clear vision of what this is all about.

Defining the goals, objectives, what we hope to accomplish and how we hope to accomplish it are the first steps toward writing a good business plan. This starts with a vision of what we want the company to be in three to five years, and then creating an action plan to achieve that vision. This is the foundation of a good strategy.

In addition to making a list of all these things, it is equally important to measure with milestones and goals that are solid enough to challenge ourselves but at the same time flexible and adaptable to any situation. And in this regard, this pandemic has certainly taught us very quickly that everything is mutable and everything can change in a matter of very few days. Hence precisely the importance of having stable and precise goals, but at the same time flexible and adaptable to any occasion. This will allow you to have things well clear and under control, and to start your journey from a stronger position.

This is all part of content strategy. Dealing with the vision, the pros and cons of how and why a piece of content will be created, managed, archived or updated.
At the end of the day, content strategy boils down to writing and planning content with specific goals and objectives in mind. Nothing we're going to share should be disconnected from everything else in the content and business goals. That's really where vision and purpose come into play.

Planning for success

Whatever project you're working on, whether it's personal or for a client, if you want to grow your content it becomes a matter of visibility. Inevitably we will find ourselves fighting for the top spot on google or finding our audience on social. To do this though, it means we need a strategy or otherwise a plan of action.

By now we know what we want to achieve with the content that we are going to create. The correct question to ask ourselves now is "how can we achieve it? In what way?" So let's talk about the method.

Surely the first step is to have an edge over the competition, but we can't all be Chiara Ferragni and be first in the field. So how can we do that? The answer is to have a solid and smart content marketing plan in place.

Getting discovered is one if not THE big ask in recent years and at the root of it all is always interpersonal relationships. Getting our friends and their friends to read and share is the first step toward expanding our audience. This could be the beginning of our strategy.
However, in order for this to work, we need to find the exact target of not only our audience but also our content. To get to this point we need to take a close look at what has already been done and how it is working, so let's talk about analytics.

Here's another important word in all strategies and, more generally, in all work: analysis.

Content review is indeed one of the most important steps in developing our strategy but it's not the strategy itself. Doing a careful review of all the content that has already been shared, even by our competitors, will help us better understand what can work and what can't. Next, we can go deep into analyzing our own content and repurposing it to see what might be more successful.

Thinking strategically really comes down to asking good and right questions at each step of the process.

Give the right purpose to your content

Content Strategy

In today's world, where our smartphones and dashboards are crowded (or rather overcrowded) with all kinds of content, it becomes really important to carefully select what we are going to share. Throwing any kind of photo or video into the ether just to create presence no longer makes sense. It's much better to invest time and energy in creating content that has a chance and a clear purpose.
Let's remember that we want our content to be successful, to reach our audience and to make us gain something, be it brand awareness or other kind of profit. So why waste content before it has a chance?

The audience is now used to receiving endless content input and we want to make sure ours succeeds. We want to make sure that our content reaches our audience and leaves a good impression. We already know that Japanese audiences are not easy to impress. So, how can we achieve this? Simple, by planning our content and thinking strategically.

The key is always to have a strategy before creating any content. We should not just push out content for the sake of it, but rather think about its quality as well, and fit it into a specific time frame.

So, before we jump into the content creation fray we need to ask ourselves the right questions. What do we want to achieve? How does this new content fit in with the content we already have or are thinking about planning? What is the big picture of our content?

These are all fundamental questions to answer before we begin our production. Let's not forget that we have a specific purpose, whatever that may be, and that purpose needs to be well defined. For example, are you creating content to increase brand awareness or generate leads? There are many purposes, but the important thing is to be clear about what they are so you can plan the right strategy.

Give your content a purpose and you'll give your audience a reason to read, watch a video, like or re-share. The audience is not a flock of people but a living, intelligent organism, capable of understanding exactly where a piece of content is coming from and why we are publishing it. This is even more valuable with Japanese audiences who are increasingly attentive and selective in their search for content.

If we're creating a piece of content for a reason and planning it in advance as part of our strategy, the audience will notice. Similarly, if we were to do the opposite and throw things out randomly, without a specific strategy behind it, the audience will notice it too.

That's why purpose is so important.

Here’s the bottom line

Creating an effective content strategy that manages to connect with an audience and inspire them to action can seem really complicated. However, as we've come to realize, it's the foundation of any successful marketing campaign. Creating content that has a purpose, that is part of a larger vision and that connects us with our audience is the foundation of any good communication strategy.

It's not always a skill or resource that we find within all companies, which is why there are realities like ours that take care of following this whole part even on behalf of third parties. We take care of creating this model, producing the content and maintaining the work done and then repeating it. Our efforts are put into creating a strategy that will allow your potential audience to discover you. This makes it easier for you to focus on other aspects of your work, or just relax without having to think about it!


The power of social media: TikTok and the Japanese pop star

We continue with our Business Focus column and today we are discussing the TikTok and Miki Matsubara case. Do you already know what we are talking about?

We've said many times before how social media is a powerhouse for businesses and individuals alike, and in this year's pandemic we've had confirmation of that. Even those who did not believe in the digital revolution have now had to change their minds.

How TikTok resurrected a Japanese pop star hit song

Author: Erika 

In these months of quarantine and forced isolation, we have seen an increase in creativity on social media. A clear example of this is the rapid rise of TikTok, the favourite social media of young people, which has seen the number of users constantly growing to become the second most downloaded app in 2020.

From pranks to animals to the now famous dance videos, many TikTokers have launched trends that still accompany our days. But today the power of TikTok doesn't just stop with its trends. The case of Miki Matsubara and how a video shared on this social managed to revive one of his hits from 1979 has caused a stir.

In December, users of the platform resurrected the song 'Mayonaka no Door: Stay With Me', which made Matsubara a star in Japan back in 1979. More than 40 years later, the song is still catchy and joyful enough to become the perfect soundtrack to TikTok videos featuring Japanese mothers;

"I did the TikTok when my mum was doing things around the house," one user tells The Japan Times via email. This clip reached more than 1.5 million likes and views in a very short time, propelling "Mayonaka no Door" to the top of Spotify's Global Viral 50 chart for three weeks.

@kickronnie

I’m asking her to sing this next karaoke night 👸🏻 #japan #japanese #おかあさま #fyp

♬ 真夜中のドア/Stay With Me - Miki Matsubara

Unfortunately, Matsubara died in 2004 and was unable to enjoy the revival. However, the song's composer, 71-year-old Tetsuji Hayashi, tells the Japan Times that this new hit "seems very strange... it was so long ago".

Music and social media

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But is it really that strange? Let's start with the fact that when a song is good, it's still good even after forty years, but let's also think about how much power social media has gained these days. Unfortunately, much of the Japanese music industry still seems to operate as if it were 1979, thus giving little importance to the digital and social media world. The Matsubara case is a case in point.

TikTok Mayonaka no Door

Singer-songwriter Tetsuji Hayashi says new technologies are rewriting the rules of how a song becomes a hit, "it could be from another country or another generation". It's been a few months now, but the 'Mayonaka no Door' case shows how the interaction between Japanese artists and international listeners has changed over the last few decades. International social media also allows a new generation to fall in love with an artist who might previously have been discarded from playlists simply because of her or his nationality. With the rise of K-pop and the unstoppable BTS, social media sites such as TikTok are also increasingly trending Japanese songs.

The power of TikTok

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TikTok

Based on recent statistics, TikTok users spend more than 850 minutes per month on the app, more than 14 hours per month. If we look at the data from October 2019 to March 2020, we can see a significant increase in the amount of time the average user spends on the app, also due to the lockdown.

This social media has spread like wildfire globally, particularly in Asian nations, becoming an entertainment outlet thanks in part to its search based on hashtags. In fact, as of June 2020, the most popular categories on TikTok all have over a billion views. If we go on to count lip-synching and dance videos, we arrive at a total of over 150 billion views.

2020 was marked by lockdowns, and it was during this time that people jumped on new media in search of entertainment and an outlet for their creativity. In fact, TikTok took second place on the list of most downloaded iPhone apps, surpassed only by Zoom for obvious reasons. TikTok even surpassed the downloads of Facebook, Messenger, Gmail, Netflix, YouTube and Instagram, across all app stores, making it the most popular app globally in 2020.

Moreover, in a world like the digital marketing one, we know how important the engagement rate of a social media is. Recent data show that engagement rate varies at different follower levels for Instagram, YouTube and other social media. However, at all follower levels, TikTok has a considerably higher rate than other platforms. In fact, Upfluence analysed that micro-influencers have an engagement rate of 17.96% on TikTok, compared to 3.86% on Instagram and 1.63% on YouTube. While mega-influencers have an engagement rate of 4.96% on TikTok, 1.21% on Instagram and 0.37% on YouTube.

The figures speak for themselves and in 2021 we can only expect a steady rise of this social network and who knows, maybe we can rediscover some other Japanese hits! Do you already have any idea on what the next music trend for TikTokers might be in 2021?


Business Focus: Native Advertising, what it is and its importance, also in Japan

We continue with our Business Focus column and today we are talking about Native Advertising. Have you ever heard of it?

Native Advertising: what it is and its importance, also in Japan

Author: Erika 

At a time like this when the whole economy is almost at a standstill, the smartest move is to invest in advertising and marketing. But we know, there is a sea of information and possibilities in this field. However, recently many companies are asking "What is Native Advertising?", let's find out together.

Before we go on to talk about native advertising, we need to take a brief look at the world of online advertising.

The difficulties of online advertising

By now, we are all bombarded with so much information that the advertising market is often saturated. So how do you find and reach your niche audience?

The attention span of online users has been steadily declining for some time now. The average user has an attention span of around 8 seconds. Just think that a goldfish has an attention span of around 9 seconds, which shows how difficult and important it is to hit the user in the first few seconds of viewing.

If we then move on to analyse visibility and the famous CTR, we see that the majority of advertising banners are no longer even displayed, or even clicked on accidentally. In addition, users are also fed up with the exorbitant number of advertisements, very often unwanted. It is precisely here that the various AdBlocks make reaching our target audience even more difficult.

Basically, nobody looks at the banner ads on the various sites anymore. This is where content marketing comes in.

Native Advertising

Content Marketing

By now, more or less everyone has heard of content marketing because most online advertising today is done through this form. Many companies, especially those with an international audience, have realised that content and influencers are an excellent (if not the best) marketing tool.

Indeed, branded content is now all the rage on social media and has become a much more effective form of advertising than traditional promotional campaigns.
In a nutshell, this content has a 7 times higher user trust rate than traditional display advertising. They are permanent and can capture visibility and traffic even in the long term. In addition, if we add in a properly done SEO operation, this content has a higher medium to long term ROI.
If we then consider that over 51% of the time spent by users on digital media is spent on a mobile platform, we understand how fundamental it is to have a format that works on these devices.

Mobile and advertising

In a very short time, we have gone from a horizontal 16:9 view to a vertical 16:9 view. Thanks to Stories, Reel and especially smartphones, this format is now one of the most popular formats for all digital advertising campaigns. In fact, our phone screens are already smaller than a computer screen, so why waste precious visual space with display ads, overlays and totally intrusive pop-ups?

It is precisely on these devices that advertising should be designed to optimise screen space and, consequently, the flow of navigation (continuous scrolling, of course). So how do we do it? With Native Advertising of course!

Native Advertising

What is Native Advertising

And here we come to the highlight of our article. In essence, Native Advertising is advertising that adapts to the context in which it is placed. For example, they inherit the function of the platform they live on (e.g. Facebook likes). Furthermore, they do not interrupt the user's navigation and are relevant to the viewer. These are characteristics that lead to a greater engagement with this type of advertising.

Basically, nothing new you might say. For years we have already been developing native campaigns such as sponsored posts on various social media, sponsored articles, widgets and so on. However, there are several recognised forms of Native Advertising:

  • In-Feed: paid ads placed in an editorial site
  • Paid Search: paid ads placed on the results page of a search engine.
  • Recommendation widgets: paid advertisements promoting content related to an article.
  • Promoted listings: paid advertisements inserted in the product listing of an e-commerce.
  • In-Ad: content inserted inside a standard advertising format.
  • Custom: special tailor-made initiatives conducted by a brand in collaboration with a publisher, i.e. sponsored articles.

As this is a less overt form of advertising than others, it is important to emphasise when a piece of content has been sponsored or not. Transparency must always be guaranteed.

Creating content that the public loves

We have often had to create content for a Native Advertising strategy, from brands selling Japanese lifestyle products to children's products. However, the main aim is not to sell, but to build the audience for the client.

To do this, it is important to follow several rules because the "sponsored post" cannot be too different from the rest of the content that the chosen platform usually offers. The length, the tone of voice, the language, the font, everything must be in line with the other content. However, it is essential to create a title that is clickable and captures the visitor's attention.

It is very important to be able to capture the user not with numbers and questions, but with a narrative that fascinates him. By now, even the least astute of internet users can tell when someone is trying to sell them a product. Because of this, it is important to differentiate our "sponsored post" by telling personal experiences and creating empathy for example.

The audience has to be involved but above all entertained. Making a person laugh is one of the hardest things to do, but when you succeed, you have captured their attention forever. And so the customer is retained.
Be empathetic but objective, try to help the audience in some way and share your experience. The product does not necessarily have to be mentioned repeatedly, once is enough, also because with the opposite you could risk falling into what in jargon is called "branding" and thus achieve the opposite effect desired by Native Advertising.

Native Advertising

Native Advertising in Japan

And here we come to Japan. Despite being a country extremely focused on traditional media and advertising on them, things are changing recently. Due in part to the recent pandemic, the advertising market has seen a significant surge in digital. In fact, Japanese advertisers spent nearly $15 billion on digital in 2021. With the rise of digital media in Japan, companies can no longer ignore the importance of integrating a digital strategy into their overall marketing.

However, fundamentally the Japanese people remain a very traditional people, very tied to history and past experiences. The Japanese people are extremely trust-based, so digital advertising still depends on having a good online reputation. Therefore, SEO and social media operations become key to getting better results in the Japanese market.

One of the keys to a successful campaign in Japan is the use of correct localisation. We can't say it enough, but the Japanese are extremely meticulous when it comes to choosing the right product before making a purchase. Using their language and visuals becomes really important. Writing content that is correct and in line with your target audience is one of the foundations for building a good campaign. Attention to detail and high product quality is the key to winning over Japanese customers.

In conclusion

Native advertisements should resemble any other article on the chosen platform, both in style and function. Be resourceful, truthful and above all remember to entertain your audience.


Business Focus: Why startups should target Japanese customers

Have you ever wondered why startups in the global market don't target the Japanese market? Maybe for the same reason Japanese startups are afraid to enter the global market?

Why startups should target Japanese customers

Author: SaiKaiAngel

clienti giapponesi

First of all, one thing that should definitely not be underestimated is the language barrier. The Japanese in general, are not very keen on learning other universal languages, such as English this could be a pretty big limitation. On the other hand, Japan is a very conservative society and jealous of its culture and tradition. On the other hand, in the rest of the world, the Japanese language is not among the first to be learned. This is one of the first reasons why young start-ups choose English-speaking countries and other Asian countries that are growing at a very fast pace.

Unique customs and business cultures

Every country has unique customs and cultures, but I think the situation in Japan is more intense and explicit than in any other foreign country. Adventure in Japan is definitely not to be underestimated!

Let's take some practical examples. If you want to promote your product or service in Japan, it might be difficult to do so without the support of an agency that can have a lot of influence on the market, especially if you provide technology media services for marketing. Even giants like Google and Facebook have hired local employees to support their agencies!

Some say that the Japanese love brands. In fact, I am of the opinion that the Japanese place great weight on a past reputation of trust before buying or subscribing to something. Considering these points, startups in foreign countries need a sophisticated strategy and marketing, and above all a trustworthy name.

clienti giapponesi

photo credits: fiercebiotech.com

The standard strategy is to partner with a local company in Japan.

Of course, the local company should be familiar with the Japanese market and the language itself. By the way, Japanese people love the "made in Japan" brand, so they are willing to buy appliances in the shop that are not Samsung and LG, but Japanese brands such as Sony and Panasonic, even if they are obviously of lower quality and higher price.

This is not necessarily a bad thing in Japan, on the contrary! A company that wants to make a name for itself in Japan, should target the Japanese market from the start, so that it becomes better known.
Let's take a look at the reasons why startups should target the Japanese market while taking some risks.

Market size

We are talking about a huge size, because the size of the Japanese market is the third largest in the world, so a huge potential for startups.

China has the second largest market, but let's not forget that the Chinese Communist Party has run the entire nation and this has put a crackdown on foreign companies because they want to control every piece of information. While some American companies like Apple and Starbucks have been working in the Chinese market, Google and Facebook have practically not started working there yet. Considering this, it might be difficult or impossible to find your way into the Chinese market. So, taking out China, Japan becomes practically the second largest market after the US.

Excessive concentration in Tokyo

If you are a B2B company, you have to physically visit your potential customers because the Japanese prefer to conduct business in person. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is a convenient and fascinating city for companies because almost all the offices are located in the Tokyo metropolitan area. If you can conquer Tokyo, you can practically enter the Japanese market with ease. Fortunately, there are many co-working spaces, such as WeWork, in Tokyo and many global startups have taken advantage of them.

High loyalty

As explained earlier, many Japanese people attach themselves to a brand. In other words, if you can work hard and gain the trust of new customers, the Japanese could be the most loyal customers for your brand.
According to Shopify's State of Commerce report, Japanese users tend to repeatedly purchase items if the merchant has a good relationship with them. These statistics show how loyal and critical Japanese customers are to a business.

I want to conclude by saying that it is very important to try to enter the Japanese market, because all companies would need to have their own principles of brand loyalty and attachment. If all companies were able to do this, they would certainly be able to have a more loyal and constant audience over time and thus stay on the wave more. It is important to understand and appreciate the customs and traditions of a place before targeting its brand, it is important to create trust with one's customers.
All this is what the Japanese believe in and what any global company should learn to do. Never lose sight of the Japanese market, because it is the one that will give you the satisfaction you need. Maybe some barriers exist, but the market is worth it with its size, focus and loyalty.

A startup has to be constant, loyal, and a good connoisseur of the habits and customs of the people it is addressing. It is not difficult to create a good branding in Japan, as soon as you have managed to overcome the language barrier, you just need to have this kind of strength and don't forget that we are talking about, practically, the second largest market in the world after the United States.


Business Focus: the psychology of customer relations

The "Business Focus" column on Japan Italy Bridge continues and today we are talking about problem solving, communication and customer relations, also in Japan. 

Problem solving: the psychology of customer relations, also in Japan

Understand who is in front of you. This is a lesson that I have been given personally and that I always try to carry on. What does it mean to really understand who you are dealing with? Surely it is the basis of every activity, both personal and professional, and if it were easy, everyone would succeed effortlessly in their work. It is not easy.

Only a few people manage to stand out from the masses and from the noise that, especially nowadays, is heard all too often. In the midst of the noise a voice, an attractive and loyal voice. The voice of someone who is willing to listen, but very carefully, to the needs of others. To build an audience you need this, along with a lot of intelligence to understand human behaviour.

problem solving

photo credits: artplusmarketing.com

Attracting and keeping attention.

Let's talk for example, to make it more understandable, about the podcaster. The good podcaster not only has to attract his audience but also has to do his best to keep the listener's attention without shouting too much and without having voice drops that can lead to inattention.

Dreams must be created, needs must be met. Determination. Passion. Constancy. Consistency. One must never show anything that is contrary to the above factors.

Understand your own psychology

Before understanding others, you absolutely must understand yourself. In order to build an audience, one must first understand what we ourselves are inclined to do.
Are we able to communicate in the right way? Our job is to be among people, to attract customers, to care about our customers.

Are we not able to communicate well? Being in the "backstage" and in the "background", do you think it is bad or demoralising? No, it is not. Because most likely, the people on stage are only good at that and they should also learn how to build the show because the artist in question would not be able to do anything without a staff that creates the show from scratch.

In short, before you make yourself likeable by making an effort, the study to be done is very heavy and long and know that people notice your fake smile.
Don't risk what you are not! Whether or not you are able to understand others and therefore yourself, don’t go into what you are not suited to. Of course, you can always learn, but it takes a lot of time. It takes time to understand yourself and to understand others.

Let's take another example: my passion.

Having a passion and doing everything to pursue it is certainly very important, but to do it and do it well, you need to have the ability. Skills either come naturally or are learned over time. One thing I personally don't agree with is pursuing a passion without counting the rest, with your eyes closed. Often, unfortunately, this leads to not achieving the dream and in the worst cases, to the complete ruin of the path towards that dream. The opportunity can be misplaced, to cut a long story short.

Passion only follows commitment. To have passion you need commitment. Instead of following your passion, pay attention to what you find engaging.
Make yourself unique and don't do it just to attract someone or something, stay unique.

problem solving

photo credits: theabp.org.uk

Build something unique and move forward by being unique.
Make it clear that you are willing to be a staple for your customer, make it clear that you are willing to solve their problem.

SBe their problem solver.

So what is problem solving? Let's look at this essential part of building an effective audience.

As we have already said, giving confidence and ensuring your presence at all times is essential. You should NEVER get the customer to say or just think "I can get by without this person". That way customers are lost. One must be able to become essential in solving a problem.
In our case, the problem might be the construction of an event or the constancy of staying alive socially. We want to be problem solvers, so we need to have the ability to:

  • Recognise a problem
  • Define a problem
  • Determine the cause of the problem
  • Establish priorities
  • Select possible solutions
  • Deciding on a solution
  • Solve the problem

photo credits: 1985fm.com

To be effective as a problem solver, you need to train these skills above all:

  • Intuition
  • Common sense
  • Lateral thinking
  • Sensitivity
  • Lucidity (be careful because this often clashes with the previous one)
  • Understanding of limits
  • Understanding of capabilities
  • Decision making
  • Constancy
  • Consistency

It's not easy and some people are born with problem solving skills, but even if we don't have anyone in the team who can be a problem solver, we have two paths to take:

  1. Look for problem solving
  2. Become a problem solver ourselves

Of course, the road is not easy, because mind you, I did not say: Improvise Problem solving! It is not only very difficult but also not very productive.
And the client realises this most of the time.

Finding a purpose

The purpose must be personal and the lessons we are given must only be a help. Never take something someone else says as gold! As much as a person can be an important teacher, he/she must remain a guide, help in difficult times and be able to balance his/her psychology with yours. Yes, because what may work for someone can be completely useless for someone else.
And the client realises this.

Never listen to prejudices.

Although many times they may tell the truth, even more times they are bad advisors. We may be faced with a client who we don't "like" on the skin. How many times have I heard these phrases... these feelings, even though they are not to be thrown away completely, must not become predominant. let's make sure that the prejudice can remain as such (i.e. a judgement by feeling) and let's make it fragile, so fragile that it is then supplanted by judgement.

Build a very large network

Having a very large network of contacts is a very important help. In that way, among the many names, some may become clients, clients to be followed with constancy and over time so that prejudice is only a feeling that will then give way to judgement.
Then afterwards if you like you can also say "I told you so, I felt it!" it's ok if you like, but it's not required.

Be what you are, but hey I am not talking about being what you are despite everything. You have to be who you are but with a job behind you, you have to create a real awareness of who you are and then also have the honesty to understand the limitations of it, before someone else notices. Get help from those who have a greater capacity, and I'm talking about both backstage and frontman. Don't try to be something you're not, because if you really want to be something you have to put a lot of effort into it.

Be convincing

This, psychologically, leads to convincing yourself first. Don't try to convince someone else of something you don't believe!
They notice, trust me.
Work to convince yourself of something and then convince others. You will probably piss off quite a few people, but it will mainly be your competitors. The customer, the person you are problem solving for, will be by your side and will see you.

Be reliable

You have to be something known, something reliable. You must not run away at the first obstacle and you must be able to make yourself known. People tend very much to get involved with what is already known and fear the unknown. If you notice, we ourselves are attracted by what is known. We are usually more inclined to listen carefully to a song we already know, whose story we already know, than to a new one. Very often someone says to us, "Listen to it, it's beautiful, trust me!"

And the “trust me!” is the problem, because our mind is selfish and always tends not to trust, so then we will never listen to the song with the attention it has been asked for until it becomes part of our mind. Until we like it. This makes us realise how important trustworthiness is, how much we have to study and work to be, if not on a par with the mind of the client, as close as possible.

Just don't lose the essence of what made you fall in love, always think about that.

Modelling yourself for public perception

Always be yourself, it is said, do everything not to please others, but only please yourself. In this way, I would say you can even shut down and live in your own desert island without anyone bothering you. But if you want to deal with others, it is very important not only to have a good perception and knowledge of yourself but also to do everything to improve yourself so that you become an essential and indispensable part of the client. You have to be yourself, but with good work behind you. Because in a job with clients, it is essential to be able to relate to them and work to stay with them over time. Whether you like it or not, everything you create shapes people's perception and opinion of you. Unless you really like the desert island, at which point you can do without working while eating coconuts.

When you approach other people and want to work with other people, you have no other option but to live up to other people's expectations. Unfortunately, the belief that "we are us and we don't have to move a finger to be appreciated by others" is too common to be supplanted, but I hope with all my heart that sooner or later everyone's mind will open up to the possibility that we are not all the same and that the first ones we really need to work on are ourselves. Then we can think about approaching others and making good connections at work.

Being able to be problem solving also means being critical

Have the ability to understand where we are wrong and move forward by fixing the problem. We need to be our own problem solvers! Being critical also means having the ability to deal with criticism: finding the right explanation for unconstructive criticism and accepting constructive criticism. If they are called 'constructive criticism' it means that they are able to build something. You can spend your time feeding and paying attention to trolls and or you can spend your time creating something good and maybe only listen to what is constructive, the choice is yours. What you really need to avoid is the presumption, which, mind you, is quite different from confidence.
Conceit makes us blind, confidence makes us gain even more sight.

problem solving

photo credits: economist.com

Open your minds

And here comes my moment, OUR moment. Closed-mindedness does not help anyone, not even at work. It closes not only our mind but also avenues and possibilities. We often don't approach someone else out of fear and lack of knowledge. Prejudices, stereotypes, all this closes us in the desert island and does not make us look beyond.

Looking beyond

We decided to work with Japan, but not without a lot of study and effort. We have shaped our knowledge and skills in order to get closer to these people. We have studied and are still studying the language in order to get closer to them, we want to understand them more and more so that we can become a real Problem Solver for them, which can remain so over time, which can be a support in times of difficulty that should not be there because we know how to avoid them from the beginning.

The difference in language, culture, habits... we have said that all this is frightening. But we have to fall in love with this language, this culture, these customs, everything that has been said so far. If there is no way of shaping your own mind and falling in love with all these things yourself, I would say there is no point in trying. If you realise that you are in love with it, then start working and begin to understand what the Japanese in question needs. Very often we have come across what we never expected: incredible similarities. Japan and Italy look very much alike, but these things are only perceptible to the eye of someone who wants to be an expert, someone who wants to improve, someone who wants to approach. As I have said before, we have to fall in love first, then make others fall in love and, in this case, our client.

You cannot please everyone, but strive to please those who deserve it, those you want to walk alongside both professionally and privately. Most likely you will be not only their problem solver but also and above all yours.

The beauty of a website, of a social, of everything that is communication is important and it is the work of the backstage. But it is nothing without the work of the frontman, the same can be said of the backstage. A well-staffed team is one that has both back and front stage, never forget that and, at the end of the day, the psychology of building an audience is not that different from psychology in general. If it applied to everything we live, maybe things would be better for everyone.

Fall in love, but really fall in love. Oh well, there are always coconuts...


TENOHA &|RAMEN: The Ramen Club

TENOHA &|RAMEN is completely new and becomes TENOHA RAMEN CLUB! Are you ready for a unique experience?

TENOHA &| RAMEN reopens with the new "Ramen Club"

Author: SaiKaiAngel

tenoha ramen tenoha ramen

"Turning the Ramen experience into a guilt-free pleasure" These are the words of the extraordinary chef Takao, the one who has been delighting us with the best ramen in Italy for years. Takao is not only an incredible chef but also a former professional boxer! You didn't know that, did you? Chef Takao has always been very strict about nutrients, but he has always had a soft spot for ramen. As a calorie-dense dish, ramen was considered an "enemy" to his boxing career, but would such a warrior have given up? Of course not!

That's why the new TENOHA RAMEN CLUB was set up so that you can enjoy this dish without any sense of guilt!

As soon as he left boxing, Takao became a ramen chef, perfecting himself to such an extent that he became the one who is able to offer the unique and unrepeatable experience of authentic ramen here in Italy, creating numerous recipes to experience ramen truly guilt-free.

TENOHA RAMEN CLUB, the delicious work of chef Takao, is a place where you can not only satisfy your palate with the authenticity of Japanese ramen, but you can do it without any sense of guilt, with the knowledge that each dish is perfect for the sportsman or for those who want to eat in a completely healthy way. We are in front of an absolute novelty here in Italy, you will realise it just by entering the TENOHA RAMEN CLUB, completely reborn to tell a story, one of those very important stories that will leave you fascinated. You will look around and be immersed in the world of chef Takao, in his history, in his continuous study to always offer the best to anyone who wants healthy and tasty nourishment. Work, effort, experience, health, determination and safety - all this is TENOHA RAMEN CLUB!

tenoha ramen tenoha ramen tenoha ramen

You will feel part of that important history, pampered and confident that you are in the hands of a chef whose mind is always on preparing healthy and nutritious ramen, 365 days, 24 hours a day.

Live and let your friends and loved ones experience this new freedom to eat the true tradition of Japanese ramen without any sense of guilt!

From 12 February, TENOHA RAMEN CLUB has a new face and is ready to amaze you again, always in the expert hands of a great chef and a great ex-boxer! Get to know Takao and his story!

TENOHA RAMEN CLUB - Via Vigevano 20, 20144 Milano

photo credit: Anna Daverio


TENOHA MILANO: Afternoon tea

Choose to spend Valentine's Day in a totally different way! Do you want to live and let your loved ones live absolutely unrepeatable moments? Now you can, thanks to TENOHA Milano, which always has something new and sweet in store for you!

TENOHA &| TASTE: Afternoon Tea per San Valentino

Autore: SaiKaiAngel

TENOHA Milano

And we are talking about a sweet surprise, TENOHA AFTERNOON TEA is a unique, special experience that only our favourite corner of Japan here in Italy can give us. Would you like to spend a special day and make your loved one spend it too? Valentine's Day in the name of Japan and a unique experience on the iconic tatami at TENOHA Milano! Want to know more? We have some pictures below that will surely make you even more curious!

10-14 February: Valentine's Edition

TENOHA Milano

TENOHA Milano

TENOHA Milano

The tradition of Japan has never been closer. For Valentine's Day, let's immerse ourselves in a unique and traditional Rising Sun experience on the tatami at TENOHA! Close the curtains and enjoy tea, drinks and handcrafted Japanese sweets in total relaxation! Only together with your loved ones will you be able to enjoy a tasting that you will hardly ever experience again. A few hours in the peace and quiet of the Japanese experience, with the best teas and sweets and of course the usual enormous attention and pampering that you can only find at TENOHA. Choose the day and time of day that suits you best!

Details

When: Two time slots: 14:00 ~ 16:00 | 16:00 ~ 18:00
Where: TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Cost: 35€/pax (min. 2 people)

Remember, both in respect of security and of your privacy, booking is always compulsory! To do this you can use the following email address and phone number: taste@tenoha.it | (+39) 02 8088 9868

For more information, please click on the following link: https://www.tenoha.it/taste/tenoha-afternoon-tea/

photo credit: Anna Daverio