Enclosed is the report about the culture of Japan and the effects of its culture on our business communications and sales materials. In this report, you will find information about what the Japanese finds important to them when conducting business.
For this project, we have had the full cooperation of the team and it is as follows:
- Audrey Hughes: Introduction & conclusion, section on gender roles, proof reading and APA documentation
- Chris Stover: Section on etiquette and work ethics, proof reading and APA documentation
- Justin Strayhorn: Section on dominant religious values, proof reading and APA documentation.
- Syamak Tabrizi: Report format , research on all topics, introduction and conclusion, proof reading and APA documentation
- Tia Taylor: Introduction & conclusion, section on importance of color, proofreading and APA documentation.
The Japanese are a proud culture with a history spanning thousands of years. Status is very important to them. Therefore, by extension etiquette is important. Japan’s culture is very different from the west. “Decision making is a lot slower, because people tend to seek approval from everyone in the group, especially the elders” (Ghimire, 2006). Japan is a high context culture, meaning less verbally explicit communication, less written/formal information, and more internalized understandings of what is communicated. Our company needs to be indirect since more is implied than said.
In Japan, business cards are of great importance. Great deal of care should be given when handling these cards. We cannot write on them, or put them in a pocket or wallet, since either of these actions will be viewed as defacing it. Furthermore, business cannot begin until business cards are exchanged. In addition, Japanese do not like use the word no, realizing this is very important when dealing in negotiations with them. In Japan, whether doing business or at a social gathering individuals greet one another with bowing. Not following this rule is considered rude in Japanese culture, thus whenever cash is exchanged at a business it is placed onto a small tray. Our company needs to understand they way they communicate. In order to be successful we need to train employees how to communicate or business deal will fail. Communication with customers is of great importance, because no business is successful without repeat customers, and good reputation. Communication is very important to Japanese.
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The Japanese have traditional gender roles, similar to those of the U.S., with men being the breadwinners, and women being homemakers. In addition, childcare is regarded as the mother’s responsibility, thus, full-time working wives have are also responsible for housekeeping and childcare without help. “The traditional gender roles-men as breadwinners and women as homemakers-are supported by 40 to 50 percent of people” (NHK 1994; Ministry of Public Management 1995). Gender roles don’t affect business a great deal However, reach the right demographic certain specialty items needs to be advertised correctly. For example, items used for childcare and homemaking need to be geared towards the mom.
The use of color in the market place can be overlooked. In Japan color is crucial to the success of a product, advertisement or proposal. Color is used to express emotion and symbolizes different things in different cultures. In Japan, red represents a state of being; yellow is used to show courage; green is for the future or positive energy; pink means dedication, and black symbolizes age, experience or nobility. However, the combination of two colors may change the meaning all together. For example, red and white combined represent a celebration. “In Japan great weight is attached to seasons.” (Hall, 2000, p.41) Thus, a great marketing technique would be to change the color of web pages, flyers and other print to match the season. Furthermore, the use of colors on billboards and store signage is of importance. “Garish signage that is visible and eye catching from a distance is becoming the norm” (Hall, 2000, p.41)
Not only is color important in advertisement, but product packaging can also be a factor in the success of the product in Japan. Therefore, our company needs to pay close attention to our color choices, and tailor our sales campaign to the color scheme that will be appropriate to the season of the Japanese culture.
Japan is the world’s second largest advertising market due to its 127 million people. “Japan is the world’s second largest advertising market, only second to the United States” (Gohil, 2006). Japan advertising uses mass media, transit, cinema, postcards, online, cell phones, billboards and more. Foreign companies have difficulties when advertising their products and services in Japan, because Japanese advertising is different than the traditional sense. “Japanese television advertising is dominated by 15-second spots; therefore long narrative stories are not used. In addition, many times the commercials will leave the viewer hanging on the punch-line” (Gohil, 2006). Basically, the Japanese rely on the presentation over message. Since advertising is so different than west and most fail, the logical choice would be to use a local advertising firm.
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Sales Structure Recommendations
Our sales force should focus capturing the audience’s attention with an entertaining appealing ad that does not focus completely on message. It should appeal more to their curiosity where they will want to seek out our company’s product rather that needing us to court them more than is needed. We should appeal to their culture and social structure. In addition, the message should use the indirect approach.
Understanding all aspects of the Japanese market is vital to our success in this country. We must understand the market place and what will appeal to this market and its consumers. We need to appeal to Japanese etiquettes. Therefore, all out-of-country employees need to be trained in Japanese etiquette. As employees of the Kelly Agency we are both excited and optimistic for our expansion into the Japanese business market. As listed above we have researched many aspects of the Japanese culture we feel will make the transition a positive experience for all parties involved. We welcome the opportunity to interact and practice these new cultural techniques as we move into this anticipated partnership.
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