Turning Japanese — What we learned at Japan’s biggest marketing conference
There’s a reason why Facebook and other major social networks didn’t take much hold in Japan compared to the rest of the world. Local culture values meaningful human interaction and despises sharing too much personal data online. In order to grasp the undercurrents of Japanese culture and business before the launch of Clash & GO, Elyland’s marketing specialists visited Tokyo and Kagoshima in July 2018.
Dmytro Kustov and Julia Morar gathered valuable insights from Japan’s top brand marketers on iMedia Brand Summit. This global conference, largest in the country, offered an amazing opportunity to identify guidelines for the Elyland’s future and to build firm relationships with other marketers.
“I felt like a child in a free ice-cream buffet”, — Julia said.
Considering the sheer number of world-class professionals on the conference it was hard to meet with everyone. But the organizers, impressed by our product, guided us and helped conduct all the meetings we needed. We were also told beforehand that Japanese businessmen prefer to deal with their own countrymen and value close personal connections. Thankfully, our partner CoinJapan got us covered, proving Elyland to be a valuable partner to make business with.
In addition, top Japanese marketing agencies cherish their reputation the most and don’t waste time on low-quality products. However, if they do take interest, it means that brands can receive some invaluable insights and fair assessment of their products. Luckily the pre-release version of Clash & GO impressed agencies and brand marketers alike. We received feedback about the strong features of the game and some useful marketing tips.
“We had five more days in Tokyo after Kagoshima and were able to visit the offices of a number of agencies — YouAppi, Vectorinc, Septeni and a few others. Japanese marketers are eager to do business, even if it’s Saturday or a typhoon is raging outside, Dmytro says. Thanks to their professionalism and politeness we were able to gather a lot of info about local marketing specifics that would be impossible to get anywhere else. For example, we’ve learned that most of global brand names are rather hard to pronounce for a native speaker, and a shorter, simpler title would improve the chances to impress the local audience. So it seems we hit the right spot with the name for Clash & GO.”
On a personal level Japanese users are often shy and reluctant to show their faces or share other personal info with the social network. Though, they’re eager to participate in activities that involve copying and one-upping someone’s movements or completing quests for fun. That’s one of the reasons why social photo and video platforms have gained so much popularity in Japan.
There’s also a noticeable generation gap in Japan as young millenials are perceived to be brazen and improper at times. This is usually frowned upon by older generations who were raised up with much stricter rules about keeping one’s dignity in public. But the times they are a-changin’, even for a society that values traditional values that much. Nowadays more and more people love to share their individuality with the world.
Japanese gaming culture seemed more diverse though. We were surprised to learn that Pokemon GO audience in Japan includes a high percent middle-aged people. They started playing to connect with their children and got addicted pretty fast. Also the japanese arcade culture highly contributed to include gaming into the list of appropriate activities for all ages. That’s why everyone we’ve shown the game easily grasped the concept of Clash & GO and approved the innovative combination of AR and RTS elements.
And speaking of personal impressions from visiting Japan, Julia puts it best:
“Tokyo is the city of feeling lonely in a crowd.
Yet a restaurant owner here will shelter you during a typhoon, offer you some tea with sweets and won’t take any money. You’ll get help without even speaking the language.
A city where a crowd of runners can knock you off your feet. A city where vegans can’t to survive. The city where sushi is served 24/7, but the subway closes at 11 PM. A city where life begins after sunset. There’s a district for everyone: Akihabara against Ginza, and Shibuya vs. Shinjuku.
Tokyo is a city you will remember for years and years to come but then you are happy to return home.”