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...


Business Focus: The importance of communication and marketing in Japan in times of pandemic

Communication has always been important in our lives and in this time of pandemic due to the spread of COVID-19, its essentiality has become even stronger. At a time when we are forced to forego hugs and physical proximity, what would we do without the Internet? Thanks to communication we can get closer to the rest of the world, our door is not closed thanks to the internet.

The importance of communication and marketing in Japan in times of pandemic

Autore: SaiKaiAngel

photo credits: mosaikoweb.com

The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a very difficult time in which we are all involved, but we try to see the positive in this as well. What do they say? If you feel like you're in a tunnel, decorate it! So, while we are waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are trying to do everything to save our company and our relationships. The imposed lockdowns are very difficult to manage, but how much have they succeeded in making us realise the importance of the "small" things? I put the word SMALL in quotes, yes, because in this pandemic we have realised how BIG the SMALL things are. How special our normality is. How much we have looked for a hug, even if it is virtual, how much we have reinvented ourselves to keep alive a work project for which we have done so much.

Let's take advantage of this moment to start again even stronger than before, let's take some time to think, reinvent ourselves and prepare for total recovery.

Remember, however, that there are no miracles! You have to rely on the world of social marketing, but not alone. There are specialists in the field, people whose job it is to advise you and accompany you in the world of social marketing and communication without making you run into obstacles (like us).

comunicazione pandemia

photo credits: mosaikoweb.com

Never put your business activities on hold.

We are lucky enough to have the internet, why put a job or business on hold? The idea that one day the internet could go from being important to essential has been around for a while. We can attend meetings, we can organise, we can actually work together and stay in touch with our customers, all online. We can also focus on stepping up the content of our social media, of our websites, so that as soon as there is a chance to restart after the pandemic, we will be ready!

If our shop is closed, why take away the possibility of creating an e-commerce to continue selling our products? If we haven't felt the need to do so until now, we are now faced with this possibility, which is gradually becoming more and more important. If we can, let's try to build an online channel to communicate and continue our business! Let's also try to 'decorate' it as best we can.

Let's reinforce our corporate values and corporate image online!

Let us be seen, we have the opportunity! Let's not stop events, let's create them online and if we really don't want to do that, let's stop and organise the ones in presence, we have the possibility to do that, let's strengthen our communication network now!

Let's keep in touch!

Many children can continue to study and attend school thanks to Distance Learning, what we all know now as DAD. Is it important? Of course it's a help. If there wasn't this possibility of online meetings, children would surely be completely excluded from teaching and meeting their classmates. Instead, thanks to Distance Learning, students are able to interact with each other and maybe even distract themselves. Distraction in these moments of closure is very important, if there were no possibility to communicate online, we would really be locked out of the world. Perhaps now more than ever we realise how important online communication can be.

Still having doubts? Let's go and see what's happening in the rest of the world and especially in Japan, which has always been our focus.

The importance of communication and marketing in Japan in times of pandemic

Japan has always been very technological, it has always believed, almost more than anyone else, in the importance of online communication and marketing, and in fact it is now certainly at a better advantage than those who have stuck to tradition.
Japan lives with social networks in order to stay in touch with the rest of the world. Let's take a look at the most used social networks in this country with the relative percentages thanks to Statista:

  • LINE 77,4%
  • Twitter 38,5%
  • Instagram 35,7%
  • YouTube 23,2%
  • Facebook 21,7%
  • TikTok 8,1%
  • Skype 7,1%

Il caso LINE

comunicazione pandemia

photo credits: google.com

As you can see from the statistics, if in the West we use Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram more, in Japan they rely a lot on LINE and Twitter. Do you know LINE? It is considered to be the Japanese Whatsapp, and has around 84 million monthly active users in Japan (end of 2020 statistics).

What makes LINE so popular?

LINE was born in 2011 from a collaboration with Naver, a South Korean platform.
Immediately after the great earthquake in Japan in 2011, most conventional communication channels were disrupted due to power outages. Therefore, official sources turned to online to communicate the news and confirm the safety of friends and family. The app was released for public use later that year, and proved very appealing to Japanese consumers due to its unique and customisable design, allowing for both private and business use.

How do the Japanese use social networks?

Compared to neighbouring countries, Japanese people used social networks 65% compared to 88% in Taiwan and 87% in South Korea. In contrast, as of January 2019, Japanese internet users spent an average of 4.8 hours a day with digital content, while Japanese 18-34 year olds used up to six hours. According to a survey, the main reasons for using social media among the younger generation are the convenience of gathering and sharing information, as well as connecting with friends and colleagues.

comunicazione pandemia

photo credits: epigeum.com

We have this moment to think about it and to reactivate as soon as possible. this has always been our job and now we finally realise that it has never been more useful. It was already before, but now it has become essential. We are ready to accompany you and are you ready for the (online) rebirth?


Business Focus: Digital transformation, the key to increase the economy

This pandemic has hit the world economy hard and one of the keys to recovery is digital transformation. Let's continue our business focus and today we are talking about just how much an online presence can influence the economic development of Italy and Japan.

The Digital transformation: could it be the key to increasing Japanese consumer spending?

Author: Erika 

In recent months, many companies have launched themselves into the digital world and many shops have transported their windows into the area of e-commerce. This clever move has allowed them to continue working even during the months of lockdown, and not to stop their production.

However, in Japan, as well as in Italy, the economic recovery has slowed down considerably. For what reason? The reason for this is that in both countries the spread of e-commerce and online presence is lagging far behind other countries.

digitalizzazione giappone

During the months of the lockdown, people drastically reduced their visits to shopping areas. However, in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, retail sales have increased and on average above the pre-pandemic level. This means that the majority of sales were made through online sites and e-commerce.

The situation is different not only in Italy but also in Japan. Here, sales are still below the levels recorded before the pandemic. In these two countries that are so different and yet so similar, people have locked themselves in their homes without spending money. In fact, at the end of June, Japanese households' cash and bank deposits reached a record figure (1,030,000 billion yen).

However, this did not help the economy, which was already severely affected by the repercussions of COVID-19. According to some, this brake is due to the insufficient development of the e-commerce sector and the scarce online presence of companies in the two countries, both Italy and Japan.

digitalizzazione

In fact, according to a 2019 statist survey, only 16% of Japanese people said they had purchased online in the previous year. This figure ranks fourth among the 45 developing economies. It is therefore conceivable that once the digital transformation arrives in Japan, the potential for increased household spending could be enormous. In fact now, after months of pandemics and constraints, consumers are tired of staying at home and are willing to spend.

How to get the digital transformation to Japan?

Everything we have said so far, are hypothetical speeches with enormous potential. However, in order to turn this potential into a real economic recovery, the government and firstly the companies themselves would have to invest in digital. We are referring to the creation of e-commerce, websites, social media channels and influencer marketing so that the business linked to these companies can restart.

In support of this theory, leading Japanese companies plan to invest 16% more in digital for the fiscal year 2020. In fact, a total of 765 companies aim to spend 471.8 billion yen ($4.45 billion) on technology, shows a survey Nikkei on listed companies and those with 100 million yen or more capital. This marks a second consecutive year of double-digit growth.

With the pandemic disrupting the flow of people and goods, companies are turning to technology to adapt sales and distribution channels to the new norm. Seven & Holdings, the company behind the 7-Eleven convenience stores, expects technology investment to increase 19.9% to 121.2 billion yen - the largest sum on the list.

Investments in technology have already borne fruit and a return on these investments that can only accelerate. In fact, the companies that have embraced the digital transformation are the ones that are doing the best in this pandemic.

"Business leaders are forced to adapt to the coronavirus, and now they realise the importance of digital transformation," said Saisuke Sakai of the Mizuho Research Institute. "IT investments could grow even more in the future." / source: Nikkei

This leads us to understand that now more than ever it is time to invest in digital and create an online presence for your company in both Japan and Italy. Only in this way, companies will be able to keep their work going and have constant sales even in these uncertain times.

Japan Italy Bridge keeps you informed about the suggestions for companies in our business focus feature, or you can find us on facebook and tell us your opinion. Alternatively, you can join our newsletter or request a quote on our services to communicate your company in Japan and Italy and be part of the digital revolution.


Business Focus: Digital events during the pandemic

In 2020 we had a very special year and also for those who like us work in marketing there was an invasion of digital events. We experienced new ways to stay in touch, new ways to embrace each other, new ways to study and work. These are not ways of living and working that we should never have known, on the contrary! The year 2020, said in a very positive way, has accelerated many of these processes. What can the positive pandemic bring us? Surely, looking at the situation, we can answer with "very little", but let's try to look beyond everything.

Digital events: opportunities during the pandemic

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Did this 2020 make the leap into the future shorter? Definitely yes! As for us at Japan Italy Bridge, for passion or need, we made sure to stay afloat and continue to present our proposals ... online!

Anyway, we were already organized and prepared for this, considering the sentence we always said when introducing ourselves as "The future is online". Now, we are sure that that phrase, which we were waiting for it to become our daily heritage maybe in a while, has suddenly become customary good from this moment! We at Japan Italy Bridge are committed, waiting to be able to physically embrace you again, to build and propose digital events and situations that can give you emotions, if not equal, but similar to physical ones.

eventi digitali

We have experienced, during the lockdown, many online events such as school, work, webinars, meetings, often seeing them as something new and more exciting than the online presence. Why? Simply because we are facing something new. Before we get used to this too, let's try to exploit the enthusiasm in all its essence.

Digital Events

Let's talk about online events, for example. Yes, because apart from the online work we have always done, events were the only thing we kept offline and based only on the presence of people. While waiting to do it again, we looked for online solutions that could actually, for the moment, create if not the same enthusiasm, something similar.

How do you organize an online event?

First of all, you have to focus on the guests, just like the event in the presence, nothing changes! You have to identify the people who might be interested in that event and become an interesting link for companies that want to communicate their work to others.

What is the main goal of the online event?

The online event, like the offline one, is to reach as many interested people as possible. You have to make sure that you create the right platform and the right place for them to best facilitate their presentation and communication with other participants. The online event, therefore, becomes a favourable place to exchange opinions that can then become a tool for the contact between companies. One of the positive things we find in this is the reduction of organizational costs. It then becomes completely free without any problems of audio, lighting, culinary entertainment. The most important thing is to have a platform capable of holding and maintaining the event without problems and, certainly, a good connection. Among the most popular platforms are zoom and meet.

Another absolutely essential thing is the ability of the event's creator to entertain guests by ensuring that spaces and moments can be respected. In this case, we need a good "host" who is not very different from those we see on TV programmes. The presenter must be able not only to ensure that the times are respected but also to keep the enthusiasm high for the entire duration of the event, intervening when the situation fades away or when it becomes too bright. Nothing so different from the offline event, in short. This is proof that the creator of the event is part of a consolidated company capable of dealing with any type of situation.

At Japan Italy Bridge, for example, we focus on creating a bridge, as our name suggests, between Japan and Italy. Until this bridge can be built physically, as we have already done with our previous events, two random names "Japan meets Italy" and "Spindle". we are very keen to keep the interest and communication between these two nations high. For this reason we have studied how to make our events online and interesting.

Obviously, one of the things we think may be essential for a digital event, is not the payment, but at least the registration. Registration will allow us to have a closed list of participants and a beginning of moderation. The registration should at least contain the basic information: name, surname and an email to be contacted. In this way, you will be able to have not only a certain moderation of the event, but also a way to communicate suitable for your profile. The guest will not find a bedlam of people who are not interested in anything about the event, but only and only guests interested and enthusiastic to participate, listen and share.

Listening and sharing

eventi digitali

Let's not go so far from the offline event, in this case, the focus is always the same: finding people and companies interested in sharing. We all know how difficult it can be to connect companies of different nationalities, but we are also sure that Japan and Italy have a lot to share and feel united, otherwise, we would not do this job!

The online event should not be scary, if we look at this carefully, we will realize that it is not so different from the event in presence.

So what do we need to create an online event?

  • Identify people and/or companies that might be interested in the event.
  • Create the right environment to facilitate communication between them, perhaps by establishing a dialogue first.
  • Leave the guests in the right place and moderate the time available to them in order to make it the same for everyone.
  • To have a good interlocutor and manager of the event that can enforce time moments and keep up the enthusiasm of the audience.
  • To have the conviction to do the right thing, without being frightened by the difference between offline and online.

Whether it is on a digital platform and in presence, many things remain the same, one of which is enthusiasm.

Never lose your enthusiasm, it is what will allow you to live properly at any time, making the waiting less heavy and above all fruitful. You will learn to "feel" the enthusiasm of the other person and also to create new connections. make it a new challenge!

As for us at Japan Italy Bridge, we are ready to continue to build this bridge also digitally and then continue to do it in person.


Business Focus: E-commerce after the pandemic

The effects of the Coronavirus are still being felt, however, we are not talking about positive cases but about online presence and e-commerce. We continue our Business Focus features and today we are talking about how e-commerce platforms have influenced this 2020 and how they will influence our future.

The importance of e-commerce during and after the pandemic

Author: Erika 

During this 2020 we understood how extremely important it is to have an online presence, for any company, even more so for shops. Not only social media but above all e-commerce has also depopulated due to the pandemic. With the forced closure of shops, in fact, many businesses have found themselves having to run for cover and create an online presence very quickly.

The impact that the lockdown has had on the habits of us Italians, but also of the entire world population, is extremely evident. In fact, in recent months, e-commerce has become one of the main channels to buy essential products without having to leave home.

We can in fact see from the data how between February and March 2020 online sales in Italy grew significantly compared to the same period in 2019. The favourite moments for Italians to shop are during the weekend. Precisely because of the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), on 8 March online sales increased by 90% compared to the same period of the previous year.

e-commerce

Some data

According to the GfK Consumer Panel, almost 4 out of 10 Italian households made their first online purchases in March. While, from the beginning of the year to date, 2 million new online consumers have been registered in Italy (out of a total of 29 million).

Between February and March 2020, online sales in Italy grew significantly compared to the same period in 2019. In fact, compared to the first six months of 2019, the total amount was 700,000 new consumers.

According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on individuals' attitudes and behaviour, in Italy, 31% of respondents said that the frequency of buying goods online has increased. On the other hand, almost half of the respondents stated that their frequency of online purchases has not changed at all.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, online retail platforms experienced an unprecedented increase in global traffic between January 2020 and June 2020, even surpassing the Christmas holiday traffic peaks. Overall, retail websites generated nearly 22 billion visits in June 2020, compared to 16.07 billion global visits in January 2020.

e-commerce pandemia

In short, having an online shop is now an inevitable option for any business. Moreover, according to analysts, the online commerce sector is the one that will grow the most in the world economy, with an increase calculated up to +55%.

This is precisely the time to equip and invest in digital technologies and focus on digital transformation. Adapting your services to online sales is the smartest move to make at this moment in history.

The cornerstones of a perfect e-commerce

By now we already know that the online consumer is much more demanding and sometimes more suspicious than the classic customer who visits us in the shop. However, user satisfaction is one of the fundamental cornerstones of a good e-commerce. Reliability and quality of service, user-friendly interface and customer service are fundamental points.

In addition, there can be no lack of excellent communication and marketing management specific to an online shop. Japan Italy Bridge not only builds high-level e-commerce but also communicates your brand online on various platforms. In fact, SEO optimization for an e-commerce and brand awareness help to increase sales and the customer's perception of the brand itself.

In particular, communication and marketing are the highest obstacle to overcome but also the focal point for the scope of an e-commerce. Investing in professional translations and a team that follows the social and digital marketing part helps to position your brand on search engines.
What Japan Italy Bridge recommends is to create a multi-channel system that will lead you to a winning e-commerce and increase your sales and revenues. together with that, you may also discover markets that were previously cut out of your sales strategy.

e-commerce

This COVID experience has taught us that we must always be ready for change and differentiate our presence on offline and online platforms. The way we sale our products and the means with which we do this have drastically changed. Virtual retail market has received disruptive effects that no one would have imagined until recently. This has had a major impact on the economy and organisation of many companies. Nowadays it is in fact normal not only to receive take-away food at home, but also other types of materials.

After the experience of the pandemic, it has become crucial to have an online presence. If your company is interested in building an e-commerce or interfacing with the digital audience, you can contact us and find out about our offers.


Business Focus: Social Media during and post the pandemic

Social media has long been an integral part of our lives, but it was during this global pandemic that we discovered how important this medium is.

The importance of social media in pandemic times

Author: Erika 

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely turned our lives upside down, not only in terms of health care but especially in our daily routine. If there is anything we have learned from this situation, it is that we must be prepared for whatever the future holds. No goal is realistic, but in our plans, we must try to get as close as possible to what will be the reality.

Many are wondering what the post-COVID-19 world will be like and finding an answer is not easy. But one thing is certain, we must be ready to change and adjust our marketing strategies at any time and digital seems to be the right way to do it.

In this article, we are going to see how COVID-19 has affected the use of social media by companies.

With social distancing, digital and social media have had an impact of considerable intensity. In fact, we have seen a boom not only in messaging and video calling apps, but also all those platforms that have allowed us to make digital events.

Both in our private and working lives, our daily lives have been touched and marked by a change in many habits. However, not all the consequences have been negative.

The famous digital transformation, which was at a standstill in Italy, has accelerated considerably as a result of this global situation. Driven by the impossibility of continuing with the old methods, even the most stubborn brands have surrendered to the digital evolution of communication.

Social marketing strategies are changing

Social media Pandemia

Marketing strategies have changed to adapt to new media and tools, but first and foremost the way companies communicate and relate to clients has changed.

In this pandemic period, the public has changed their needs and companies have had to learn how to relate in an advantageous way. This is why a lot of social media marketing has changed during the pandemic.

Spending much more time at home and bombarded by all this negative news, the public felt the need to feel connected to the world in some way. This is one of the fundamental aspects that has allowed companies to take advantage of the opportunities and offers related to digital transformation.

For those of us who are involved in marketing, you will have noticed that the publication times of the posts have been completely overturned. The COVID-19 has shuffled its cards around a lot, and if you used to prefer to post on socials on specific days during the lunch break, now this period has been extended to all weekdays. Instead, what we call "commuter time" has taken a back seat, so from 5 pm onwards socials are now less popular.

Whereas before the weekend was one of the worst times to publish, now post lockdown on the morning of the weekend has become one of the most sought-after moments.

Most viewed social media during the pandemic

With forced lockdown, TV programmes suspended, news monopolised by Coronavirus news, the public desperately needs entertainment. This has caused audiences to pour into social media, particularly Instagram, YouTube and TikTok in search of distraction. For this very reason, it has become even more crucial to publish at the right time.

The volume of messages sent and received has also changed. Although for some sectors there has been a decrease in the publication of posts, for other companies the volume has remained constant or even increased.

In fact, some companies increased the number of messages addressed to the public during the pandemic. For example, the entertainment sector has increased its social media activities to provide a distraction to citizens already destroyed by social distancing.

Other companies linked to the sport and tourism sectors have been particularly affected by the restriction or suspension of all activities. And it is precisely in these sectors where there has been a decline in communication. However, this was the wrong step to take. It may seem the most logical choice to cut communication-related funds in a time of crisis like this, but in reality, it is one of the most counterproductive gestures a company can make. But we will talk about this in one of our next articles.

Social media as a tool to connect people during the pandemic

Social media Pandemia Social media Pandemia

Since the beginning of 2020, we have seen how our lifestyle has changed completely by creating new rules for everyone.

In fact, many companies have found themselves having to recalibrate their strategy in light of what has happened. We have asked ourselves many times whether this content is suitable for the current situation, and many times we have found ourselves removing it. In a period like this where people are particularly sensitive to all kinds of messages, it is very important to control what is shared but even more important is to adapt to each situation.

Listening to your clients' requests and feelings and identifying their needs is fundamental nowadays in order to understand how to orient your strategy. The pandemic has created a general climate of terror and for this reason, the public is now looking for positive conversations. People have grown tired of negativity and all this concern about COVID19 and are looking for social distraction.

In March, the number of messages on the topic of helping others increased by 1.174%, culminating in 19.5 million messages during the month. In this period of insecurity, people are trying more than ever to connect and support each other. Social media has become the epicentre of this movement.

In SproutSocial's #BrandsGetReal 2019 survey #BrandsGetReal, it was found that 91% of respondents believe that social networks have the power to connect people, of which 78% would like brands to use social networks to bring them together. This sentiment became even stronger after the pandemic.

Being able to understand what your audience wants and show them that your company has understood this need is the best solution for good communication even in this strange 2020.


Business Focus: The weird world of Japanese web design

Have you ever wondered why Japanese web design is so different from that in the West?

The weird world of Japanese web design

Author: Erika 

Japan Italy Bridge offers services for companies and part of our job is to create websites. "What's new" you might say, yes because there are so many agencies like us, but what makes us different from the others? Well, we have the ability to adapt the Japanese style and visual to Western-style and vice versa.

It is very, very important for every company to have a website that represents their brand. However, it often happens that the style and design we use in Italy is not really suitable for the Japanese language and people.

web design giapponese

In fact, if we analyze even just visually the Japanese sites, the differences immediately jump out at us.

As we know, in most of the Western world, websites have a simple layout. In fact, compared to the early 2000s, we have replaced the myriad of links with relevant and concise content that quickly leads us to our goal.

However, there is also a different culture in Japan in terms of visual taste. In fact, some websites have changed very little since the early 2000s. In this respect, we can really see how different sites are overloaded with links and information. This is totally inconceivable for a Western eye, while it becomes the norm for a Japanese one.

Yahoo was one of the most popular search engines in Japan and still is for many homepages. However, as you can see from the photos, its design and layout have changed very little in the last 10 years.

web design giapponese web design giapponese

Another example is the homepage of Rakuten, the nation's largest online shopping centre.
Rakuten is the Amazon of Asia and every shopkeeper can customize their own page. This results in a large display of various images, banners and pop-ups on different pages that sometimes take a long time to scroll through.

Why is Japanese Web Design like this?

But here's the real question, why does web design in Japan have to follow these certain canons of style? The answer is simple. The majority of the Japanese people are older users who prefer to maintain the tradition. This also happens in the visual style of how websites are built and experienced.
This makes it complicated for companies to change to a style that we might call more international.

Moreover, most Japanese users use the internet via desktop and not mobile support. So even the biggest websites tend to keep the current design, also not to confuse the end-user.

Another reason why Japanese people prefer this style that we would call "old" is also because of their information culture. In fact, if you have ever been to Japan or seen some pictures of the country, you will have noticed that signs are omnipresent. The Japanese are bombarded with bright neon lights and signs that tell of shops, special offers, and occasions not to be missed. This also transpires on websites where the Japanese people prefer to have all the information immediately.

The LINE Case

When the LINE messaging app (the Japanese equivalent of Whatsapp) decided to change and simplify the layout of their homepage, the Japanese people did not take it very well. In fact, at that time, users went wild with one-star reviews and numerous requests to the company to change to the old design.

Change on the horizon

However, despite the preference for a more traditional approach, some young people in their 20s and 30s have stated that they prefer a more minimalist design.

web design giapponese

The Mercari case is in fact an example of this. We are in fact talking about a site that offers online auction services with a simple and user-friendly interface. In a short time, Mercari has taken over Yahoo Auctions, the most popular app in Japan for these services.

The history of this brand has shed light on the importance of a good UX layout, encouraging the Japanese to hire new designers on the verge of change.
Japanese companies will have to start adapting to a more modern design not only to be more attractive to a younger audience but also to become more competitive internationally.

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Business Focus: Influencer Marketing in Japan, 5 things to know

We have all heard of Influencer Marketing but what are the differences in Japan?

Japan Italy Bridge offers services to companies in the field of Digital Marketing and events. Many Italian companies that have requested our promotion services towards the Japanese market, asked us what are the differences between the two countries regarding Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing in Japan: 5 things to know

Author: Erika 

For those who do not know what Influencer Marketing is, we are talking about a branch of marketing that benefits from the use of bloggers and influencers with a specific target audience.

Nowadays, this strategy is one of the most effective methods in most markets, this also applies to the Japanese one. In fact, Influencer Marketing in Japan plays a big role but the rules are different than in Western countries.

Today we share with you 5 differences to help you understand better.

Influencer marketing in giappone

The language barrier

One of the aspects of Japanese social media and therefore also of Influencer Marketing is that everything must be done in their language. Unfortunately, Japan is ranked 49th among the 88 countries and regions in the ranking of English language study and knowledge. A lack of expertise when you think about how much Japanese use social media to get informed and communicate.

Because of this, classic global influencers such as Chiara Ferragni, Cameron Dallas and others are not as influential as they are in other countries accustomed to the English language. In fact, sometimes they are almost unknown even compared to local influencers with fewer followers.

This leads to a big dilemma for companies: to use local influencers or completely ignore the Japanese market? True, the Japanese market is now not as profitable as the Chinese one. However, Japan is ranked 3rd in the GDP world ranking and this is too important to completely ignore this country and its audience.

As said before, it is true, Japanese Influencers have fewer followers than global ones. However, precisely because they speak in a language closely related to the culture of the Rising Sun, this leads them to not have many followers in the rest of the world.
What we can understand from this data, however, is that in this case engagement becomes extremely important. In fact, Japanese influencers are extremely connected to their audience and the interactions far exceed those of the westerners one.

Japanese hashtags require a cultural background

When a company opens to the Japanese market, it must understand the uniqueness of this country and its culture. It is therefore important to work with correct hashtags and use them properly. This will lead us to find the target community that we can approach and get a return on our investment.

Influencers and micro-influencers can be found using hashtags. However, finding the correct Japanese hashtag is not so easy for those who do not speak the language and do not know the culture. Moreover, very often the most common hashtags are neologisms.

For example #インク沼 is a direct translation of "Bottomless Swamp of Ink". Apparently, this doesn't make any sense, except that "Bottomless swamp of something" is an internet slang used a lot by Japanese people to describe when someone is really passionate about something. However, if we take away the cultural background, this hashtag completely loses its meaning.

Influencer marketing in giappone Influencer marketing in giappone

photo credits: @v_sarasara, @tommy_notes_16 , @mizuki___iz

In addition, Japanese hashtags can often be very complicated for a Western eye to understand. This happens because of the three ways of writing the language, namely the mix of Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana.

So when we use Japanese hashtags, we have to be careful how they are written because the combination of the three ways can bring different meaning. In the language of internet, a hashtag written in a different way also brings different results on an audience level. In fact, this can affect the number of people we might reach.

Influencers in Japan are distributed on different platforms

Even in the West, it is rare that an influencer has the same strength on all the most popular social platforms. Many are popular only on Instagram, others only on Tik Tok or Twitter. This has even more effect in Japan with the presence of some specific platforms for Japanese culture. For example, we have NewsPicks that interfaces with a purely corporate audience. While note is a social dedicated entirely to the content creators such as stories, tutorials, news blogs and especially manga.

influencer giapponesi Influencer marketing in giappone

The top Influencers and agencies

As it also happens in the West, many Japanese influencers are followed by some agencies when they start to become popular. At the moment, unfortunately, there are few influencers who work freelance. So, if you want to work with an influencer who belongs to an agency, you have to go through the agency itself.

All this has its pros and cons.

Pros.

  • Access to major influencers
  • You save time in finding the right influencer since agencies like ours cover this part of the work for you.
  • The agency negotiates contracts and fees

In this case, the work of the agency therefore becomes a benefit for the company that finds itself having a job tailored to its interests.

Cons.

  • Higher costs
  • Minor flexibility
  • Direct contacts of influencers remain private

Unfortunately, when using an agency you have to comply with the rules of the agency and these vary from agency to agency.

Influencer Giapponesi Influencer marketing in giappone

photo credits: @watanabenaomi703 , @rolaofficial

Undisclosed paid posts

Japanese people are very strict when it comes to honesty and transparency. This severity is also applied in Influencer Marketing in Japan. In fact, when paid posts from influencers not reported as such, they tend to be ignored by the public and give a bad impression.

However, there are no direct laws governing the transparency of an Influencer-sponsored post in Japan. In addition, not all influencers are aware of the right way to communicate a partnership.

For a company, it is therefore very important to educate the chosen influencers and not to work randomly to get impressions.

In the West, we now have clear guidelines on the use of sponsorship through Influencer Marketing and these should also be used for collaborations with Japanese Influencers.

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