The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


JULY 2014
Mixing Business and Pleasure
Informal, interactive events provide forum for exchange of ideas

By Dominic Carter

The Marketing Programs Committee is co-chaired by Dominic Carter, CEO of market research consultancy CarterJMRN K.K., and Koichi Hama, CEO of design firm Koichi Hama & Company.

With 159 members and counting, the committee provides a forum to share and discuss a wide range of marketing issues relevant to businesses operating in Japan, including brand building, advertising, public relations, and consumer insights.

Our committee is particularly interested in shining a light on innovation in marketing, both in Japan and overseas.

We aim to do this in an informal atmosphere that readily allows for the sharing of ideas among peers. To this end, our events are presented in a variety of formats and hosted at an array of different venues.

We have held business luncheons with domestic companies addressing the challenge of attracting a wider international audience, dinner events featuring foreign companies’ efforts to adapt their products and services to the Japanese market, cocktail parties highlighting the advertising campaigns of arts organizations, and the occasional networking get-together to facilitate business and social relationships.

We strive to make our events as enjoyable as they are informative.

Numerous creative, innovative, and sometimes unorthodox marketing methods are constantly being formulated in Japan, and the marketing committee is actively keeping an eye out for speakers engaged in such groundbreaking activities.

The breadth of the marketing efforts being put forward every day, successful or not, offers countless lessons to be learned and applied to our own businesses.

We look at case studies, asking, “What worked; where did it go wrong; and what’s next?” We plan events to offer insight on these and other questions.

This we accomplish by bringing together three elements: knowledgeable, engaging speakers; an audience acutely interested in finding and applying creative solutions; and a platform for questions and answers to circulate in a productive atmosphere.

Last year, we hosted the director of Spotify Japan for a lunch program to discuss the firm’s efforts to enter Japan’s embattled world of digital content streaming.

We also hosted the Asia–Pacific director for Tesla Motors, who spoke about how the company is working to shape the perception of electric motor vehicles in Japan.

More recently, we hosted the permanent director of the Andy Warhol Museum for an evening of cocktails and canapés while hearing about the venue’s campaign to promote the recently concluded 15 Minutes Eternal exhibition at the Mori Art Museum.

On June 20, we held a networking mixer at the newly established design boutique and art gallery Wa Space, in Akasaka. Hosted at an establishment that is focused on uncovering and promoting the best in Japanese art and design to a domestic and international audience, the event coincided with the opening of the gallery’s current exhibition, which features collaborating artist Rie Okabayashi.

Our events always mix business and pleasure. We invite you to our next gathering to get a first-hand, behind-the-scenes look at the scope of Japan’s cultural soft power push, while enjoying a drink with colleagues and friends. •



Dominic Carter is representative director and CEO of CarterJMRN K.K.