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Marketing Tips From The Japanese Unique Promotion Culture

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When we think of Japan we tend to think of cutting edge tech, gripping anime, bright colored signage, sprawling cities, odd commercials, strange TV shows, and of course their vibrant history and culture. We don’t necessarily think of their web design or marketing prowess, but perhaps that needs to change. We have been studying the japanese promotion culture quite closely lately and we have found that there is much to learn in the new techniques that have arisen from our friends across the pond. Japan is pumping out some truly innovative marketing strategies and it’s time we take note. Our first, and main, subject in this article is the amazing Cardloan Girls website.

Make It Interesting

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Cardloan Girls – Japanese Website

When I stumbled upon the Cardloan Girls website I was truly stunned by how amazing this site was. Not only is it pleasing to the eye from a web design standpoint, it was pure art! The website is taking on the impossible, which is making credit cards, money, loans, and banking/financial information not only clear, but extremely fun to explore and take in!

The theme here is that each credit card featured on the site has one Manga(Moe) character representing it as an avatar of sorts. Each character explains characteristic and differences of each credit card service using various manga/comic frames that tells a cute or funny story.

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The cute(kawaii/moe) characters names are Acom, Lake, Aiful, Orix, Mitsui Sumitomo, Mizuho, Mobit, and Promise.

The website doesn’t just put on a show on the splash page, if you explore the site even the other pages that could have been left boring and purely informational are full of clever artworks and depictions of the characters (services). A page explaining how to sign up for the bank service could be very mundane and boring, but not here, just check out http://cardloan-girls.jp/mizuho-bank/.

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The site is also considerate of mobile devices and sports an impressive responsive design to match it’s fully functional and creative design on the desktop version.

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User interface and usability was not an afterthought with this site either, it’s easy to navigate around and no matter what language you speak you can find your way easily. This website carries many references to Japanese culture and really represents all that is great about Japan. All in all I believe we can all learn from the examples set here in this web design, no matter what country we are in or what company we are promoting. Doing good work and telling a good story is universal.

Getting Noticed


Rina Takeda in Japanese ad

Some of the earliest “viral” sensations came about in the 90’s when we first got a glimpse of some of the best Japanese commercials on those great ad compilation shows, this trend continues to this day, as Japanese businesses really know how to get noticed in a sea of blandness.

To get noticed you have to be doing something that no one else is doing. Some of the trends that can be found in the viral Japanese ads are 1) Memorability 2) High Entertainment Value 3) Shock value. These three things can lead to consumers not only remembering the commercial, but having such a positive experience when viewing it that they just had to share it with their friends and family. From there the exposure just multiplies exponentially – giving any brand a huge boost!

It isn’t always this easy

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Why Japanese Companies Struggle with Marketing

Like many sayings go, the past can shape your future. Now this can be a good thing or a bad thing – you can decide. Japan has both advantage and disadvantage in this regard. Japan has evolved a lot since the 1600s but many of the social constructs of that time remain to this day. Also, pride from past technological advances can be out-shown these days by better tech inside and outside of the company. No one can rest on past successes the same way that no one should let the shackles of the past stagnate their future. A lesson everyone can learn from this is the success Sony had with the Walkman in the 80’s. Sony was the king of it’s industry back then, but companies willing to adapt, change, and innovate at the pace of technology have overtaken them (Such as Samsung, and Apple). Technology is paramount to advancing, but even more than that, adapting to the environment, and marketing the product to the consumers in the right way, are also crucial.

So don’t be a one trick pony, constantly evolve and shake things up – or one of your competitors might just do it for you!

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