Corporate communication on sustainable development in Japan


Nikkei Research’s brand strategy survey revealed insights into the current state of Japanese corporate sustainability communications.

Data from Nikkei Research’s brand strategy survey revealed the current status of some notable Japanese companies with regards to their sustainability communications.

Toyota Motor Corporation was considered the first company to carry out activities related to the SDGs. The results show that nearly half of people recognize Toyota’s SDG activities.
Others in the top 10 were Starbucks Coffee, Honda, Suntory, Nissan, Sony Group, UNIQLO, Panasonic, Hitachi and Kao.

By publicizing the SDG initiatives, this will have a positive effect on brand penetration and loyalty. For example, “empathy for company attitude, activities, and mindset” showed a large gap between people who are knowledgeable about the brand’s activities and those who are not.

It has also been discovered that depending on whether a person is aware of the activities or not, certain perceptions towards the company differ greatly. Recognition of brand SDG-related activities improves beyond mere popularity (name recognition), but also perceptions such as “reliability”, “exceptional technology and craftsmanship”.

To spread recognition and understanding of SDG-related activities, we believe the following three elements are important when communicating; (1) touchpoints, (2) target and (3) content.

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Touchpoints differ from company to company and this can be considered a hallmark of every brand. For example, Toyota has ‘TV/Radio Ads’, ‘Purchase/Use’ and ‘Online News Articles’ as the main channels of awareness. On the other hand, Starbucks Coffee Japan has “purchase/use” and “in-store” as its main link, while also being relatively strong with “social media”. Suntory offers a balanced media mix of “purchase/use”, “ads” and “in-store”.

The results also indicate that the target and the content form a whole. To cultivate a good understanding of the brand’s SDG-related initiatives, detailed information is necessary, but for people to fully absorb this content, it is essential to target a specific level and experienced professionals, rather than employees or consumers. in general.
It is essential to approach industry leaders or people involved in SDG initiatives, otherwise you will not have a good and correct understanding of your activities. In addition, it will be effective for faster penetration.

Through our ability to access Nikkei subscribers – 10 million members who have signed up for Nikkei Group services – we are able to reach top professionals who have deep knowledge of sustainability issues. Nearly two-thirds of them are executives or higher, and half of them work in large companies (more than 1,000 employees). They are very familiar with terms such as ‘SDG’, ‘ESG’ and ‘carbon neutral’, where many engage or relate to sustainability and other activities within their company.

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