Top 10 Tips for Marketing Your Brand in Japan

Trade relations between Asia and the United States are developing at breakneck speed, and as one of the world’s strongest economies with a healthy middle class, Japan is fertile ground for any Western company to market their brand. Luckily for us, American products and culture have somewhat of a cult-like status in Japan, especially to younger generations. But for that extra kick in motivating consumers to buy into your brand, follow these 10 tips and you can’t fail.

Japanese landscape

Photo by Belle Co via Pexels

Know Where You Can’t Compete. Japanese gadgets, technology, and especially automobiles are some of the best, most efficient, and safest the world has to offer. Unless you’re a renowned brand of luxury cars, chances are you won’t get very far competing against Nissan and Honda on their home turf.

Offer High Quality. Conspicuous consumption is not as important to the Japanese, who are less ostentatious in displaying their wealth, and prefer going for reliable, high-quality products. This is what they’re used to domestically, and as a newcomer, it’s important that you deliver in that aspect.

Localize Your Brand. It is a shrewd business tactic to adapt your company and services to local cultures without betraying your essence. For example, various fast food chains offer seafood menus to appeal specifically to Japanese tastes, while offering a higher level of comfort and service than you might see in the west.

Cater Towards Aging Population. As the Baby Boomer generation is now in their 60s and above, a good deal of Japan’s population consists of the elderly who possess great buying power. Since the economic bubble burst in the 1980s, those who lived through that time want to be provided with comfort and security.

Satisfy Immaterial Needs. On the other hand, their children, currently in their 30s, are trying to move away from materialism—for them, try to spin your brand to appeal to a more holistic, self-actualizing need.

Embrace the Future. For the Japanese upper and middle class, Western styles and clothing brands are considered popular and modern.

Appeal to the Individual. Japan and most of Asian society, in general, are very communally minded. Younger generations are headed towards a more individualistic society, which automatically recommends Western brands to them.

Cater Towards Single, Working Women. With more women than ever before choosing to stave off family life to develop a career, women ages 25-50 exert a great deal of buying power in the Japanese market. Actually, the government and businesses are trying to increase the number of women in management roles to 30 percent by 2021.

Japanese woman working

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Make Use of Online Marketing and Social Media. Japan is one of the world’s most connected and technologically advanced societies and this is reflected in the number of people who use social media. In 2020, almost 70% of the population uses it to some degree. Including social media in your business strategy, then, means having access to 86.06 million people.

Learn Japanese. As Japan is a very exclusive country with a very specific culture, it’s imperative that you be able to communicate with your consumers in their native tongue. And Japanese is known to be a somewhat difficult language, so it’s best if you get started immediately. Contact us for information on classes, or take our free online Japanese language test to see where you would be best placed.