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Future, new opportunities and human centricity at the Brands Forum 2018

Brands Forum 2018 at Dentsu Isobar

On February 20, the Brands Forum, chaired by Jérôme Bruhat, President and Representative Director of Nihon L’Oréal, held its 2018 edition at the Dentsu Isobar offices in Tokyo. The aim of the event was to gather professionals of the luxury sector in Japan to reflect on the future and the new opportunities of the industry.

Norbert Leuret, President of LVMH Japan, started the seminar with a presentation of the new opportunities that arise for the luxury industry in Japan and a presentation of the study on the luxury market conducted in Japan by the French Foreign Trade Advisors. Japan may be considered a mature market with a shrinking population and salaries that haven’t raised in years, but cities like Tokyo hold an “incredible appetite” for luxury goods with well-versed consumers who are willing to spend money and seek for a special experience rather than a luxury item in itself. The market is large and almost any category of people can be targeted: from the seniors to children, women and men alike. Even pets are a potential indirect target as seen in the success of luxurious grooming salons. Curious and hungry for luxury goods, Japan has seen new markets developing: fragrances which used to have difficulties penetrating the Japanese market are finally getting popular, and high-end cars, yachts or even bicycles are currently developing fast. According to Norbert Leuret, Japan is set to remain one of the top 5 markets for luxury goods for many years to come.

The second part of the seminar was presented by Dentsu Isobar’s Phil Pearson, Global Account Manager, and Aya Kamimatsu, Senior Communication Designer, on Japan’s cultural and technological evolutions through the lens of craftsmanship. With the rise of smartphones and their evolution, they wondered how technology is shaping a new vision of the future in a post-digital age. With references to the iconic animated film Akira, set in 2019, and through a visual presentation, they presented several artists and professionals who integrate innovation and technology in their art. As an example, the use of a camera flash on clothes from the fashion brand Anrealage reveal hidden patterns. If Akira pictured a bleak 2019, the creativity of today’s artists and the ingenuity they use to mix their craft and innovation, coupled with education that helps future generations maintain human agency within an increasingly technology and media-rich society, may let us think the future is not so dark. The importance is not if, but how we use new technologies: “The future is not a straight line – human-centricity is the difference between Japan and the world of Akira”, Phil Pearson and Aya Kamimatsu concluded. 

Human centricity is also a theme dear to Hervé Mazella, General Manager at Park Hyatt Tokyo. He showed during his presentation how the technology of data monitoring is an example of innovation and enhancement for the luxury industry, through several illustrations based on his own experience in the hospitality business. As people crave more empathy and care, the Hyatt brand strives to identify what matters most for their guests and try to provide the best possible service and experience through the gathering of data. It is not meant to replace humans, but to help the team providing the best possible services and giving a personalized experience for the guests. It can be several meaningful attentions such as a surprise personalized birthday card and cake for a child without the family having to ask. In a competitive world, brand identity, emotional connection (people), storytelling and experiences are what sets them apart.

The event was concluded by a lively networking reception where attendees were able to exchange with the speakers around a buffet and a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rich, courtesy of MHD (Moët Hennessy Diageo).

 

Created in 2015, the Brands Forum committee brings together actors from the selective distribution. Those meetings are true thinktanks aiming at offering perspectives on local issues and suggesting solutions. Around prestigious speakers, they gather diverse participants and societies of all nationalities and background.

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France Japon Eco N° 158