More and more, the Japanese are using social media to get informed on a mass of subjects, but also to shop. As they tend to ask for advice from their entourage, these users are thus less impressionable through advertising. As a result, this leads to a behavioural modification. Beforehand, the Japanese preferred to pay more in order to get better quality. With the anonymity offered by the internet however, a bridge between the customs of North-Americans and the Japanese can be seen. In fact, the Japanese have begun to buy cheaper products thanks, among others, to the mass arrival of online shops.Read More
The division of social networks into sub-groups means that the networks connect the public more precisely. The people of Japan and their unique culture have enabled the hatching of networks that are, on the whole, only used by the Japanese. The major players, such as Facebook, are practically unused in the country and are disregarded in favour of sites such as Mixi, Gree and Mbga. Mixi, which allows a user to open an account by providing a Japanese cell phone number, currently has over 21 million users. Gree, which is aimed at the young, has recently become the most popular social network in Japan with 21.25 million registered users. The success of certain social media is linked to the considerable interest that the young Japanese have in video and online games. MGBA, the leading site in this regard, is one example of these social media that targets a very specific audience and that achieves success. In comparison, Facebook is used by less than 2 million Japanese.
The weak popularity of Facebook in Japan can be explained partly because Mixi and Gree have functions that are very similar to those offered by the American giant. The Japanese adaptation of Facebook however, is not enough to convince the young to use this network. Mixi and Gree, being Japanese products for the Japanese, understand more the tastes, customs and interests of its users. It is thus normal that these networks are more popular in Japan.
Several communities are created within these social networks based around a specific interest. Each network has its own audience that is often specifically targeted: white-collar workers, women, young people, fans of online gaming, etc. As a result, it is important for companies wishing to communicate with their customers to establish a presence on all major social networks. This allows them to further understand potential customers and to create loyalty among their current customers.Read More
The strong penetration of the Internet in Japan has resulted in a very sophisticated use of it by the Japanese. They use powerful online tools and are not hesitant to voice their opinions on them. The opinions of users are published on the Internet and are available to everyone around the world. User access to such efficient communication tools can cause a lot of damage to the brand image of a company. This thus aids to slacken the control companies have over their transmitted messages and increase the power of Internet users. This explains why more and more companies are setting up shop on social networks. Such an emergence on social networks allows users to communicate directly with companies, to put forward their opinions and to influence these companies.Read More
Social media on the Internet have exponentially grown in popularity across the world in recent years. One can find numerous social networks on the Internet, some of which have a very precise target audience. Japan is no exception to this phenomenon.Read More
To help you maximise your meetings with Japanese partners and avoid offending them, here are five points to look out for:
- Never arrive at a business meeting looking casual. The Japanese place a lot of importance on appearance and it is imperative to always be well dressed (suit and tie), even when the weather is hot and humid.
- The exchange of business cards is much more formal and respectful (as in many Asian countries) than in the West. When you offer your card, it is important to do it holding the card with both hands, and to position it in a way so that the recipient can read it. The same etiquette applies when you receive a card. You must read it attentively, avoid putting it in your pockets and never write on it.
- The handshake is generally accepted and widespread during business meetings. If however, you wish to use the traditional greeting, remember that seniority is very important and that the gradient of the bow must be more pronounced and more repetitive the higher the rank of the recipients.
- Avoid saying “no”, which is considered too direct and could be badly perceived by some people. Instead, get into the habit of using phrases such as “this would be difficult” and “we will look into the possibility”.
- As personal relationships are a prerequisite, it is likely that they will want to get to know you outside of a business context, and thus you will be invited to go drinking or to do some karaoke with them. Go for it, participate! But remember, avoid drinking before the first toast “kanpai” is made, and above all, don’t refill your own glass.
Although in times of crisis the tendency is often to cut marketing expenses, certain specialists recommend that companies should, on the contrary, take advantage of this drop in activity and action by their competitors and double the effort to increase market share*.
When trying to penetrate Asian markets, notably the Japanese market, this is even more vital. Doing business in Japan needs much more time than in the West. Indeed, the Japanese strongly favour trading with people they already know.
This means that companies have to devote lots of time and money and simply persevere not only to establish, but also to cultivate these relationships. These efforts generally tend to be compensated by the durability of the business relationship and the loyalty of the partners.
As the crisis ends, those who persisted in their relationship efforts will be in a better position and will be strides ahead of their competitors.
* Michel Salmon, Lumas http://www.lesaffaires.com/utilitaires/detail-auteur.fr.html?id=396Read More