Thought Leadership for Market Newcomer
A US start-up in the network security industry with no profile in the Japanese market approached us with a challenge: Help them raise awareness of their corporate brand and establish them as the leader in a new product category. Opening doors would not be a problem because the client’s product was unique; the issue was how to maintain interest in the company after its story had been told.
Every newcomer to Japan faces the same challenge: to succeed in Japan you need to build relationships, but to build relationships you must demonstrate your commitment to succeed in Japan. Contact on a regular basis is the key, and it helped that the company spokespeople/executives were both passionate and engaged (good story tellers; good communicators). We decided to position them as thought leaders, making them available to media and other influencers, encouraging them to share their thoughts on higher level issues and hot topics in their industry.
Knowing that the first several months would be committed to introducing the client to media and explaining its value proposition before moving forward with the rest of the program (paid and earned placements, interviews, speaking opportunities), we developed a public relations solution based on incremental goals – much like a high jump competition, we started low and gradually moved the bar higher and higher.
The client’s commitment to the market was demonstrated by the willingness of spokespeople/executives to engage with media – making the rounds of trade publications, telling their story with passion; answering reporter questions in detail; and sharing their thoughts on higher-level issues of relevance to their industry. The client is now a go-to source for media on security-related issues, and its product is now a market leader.