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The need for incisive, up-to-date market intelligence has never been greater

The need for incisive, up-to-date market intelligence has never been greater

BrandZ™ and Kantar insights can point the way to recovery and growth

Much of the business playbook for Japan has been rendered quaint by the events of 2020. In its place has arisen a host of open questions: questions surrounding the feasibility of e-commerce, shaky consumer confidence, the wisdom of discounting and more broadly the issue of flexibility at workplace and gender equality. To name only a few examples.

Even before the coronavirus crisis, of course, 2020 and 2021 seemed primed to be pivotal, transitional years for the Japanese economy. With the start of the Reiwa era in 2019, the hope was that the country’s Olympics showcase, in 2020, would serve as a catalyst e.g. for increased foreign tourist arrivals – while also providing Japanese brands with a springboard for continued expansion abroad.

But this year promises change of a different magnitude. First and foremost, in the lives of those most directly affected by COVID-19, including the brave medical staff and first responders on the frontline of this health crisis. But also, and more collectively, in the vast project of transforming the Japanese economy to meet the new realities, now including those of a post-pandemic world.  

The next several years will see the Japan undergo major transformations, accelerated as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  The hope is that Japan’s existing strengths – this is the third-largest economy and a long-standing global pioneer in innovation – will help it manage, for instance, a further shift to a more digitized workplace. (This should, in turn, help the country better implement scenarios like “work at home”, in the event of future health crises). The urgency of this current moment may be the final push that Japan needs to fully implement some of the major structural reforms it has long considered. The unexpected change in political leadership may well provide an avenue for this transformation.

Even considering Japan’s ongoing demographic trends – not to mention the perils of a global pandemic – Japan remains a country with strong economic upsides.  The fundamentals that led Japan to some of the world’s greatest technological breakthroughs and cultural achievements have not gone away. What’s more, Japan has retained its collection of iconic, beloved brands and businesses – many of which are detailed in this report.  

Indeed, this report serves as a testament to the varied and successful ways that Japanese brands have risen to meet an extraordinary moment. The BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands is not an easy list to get on. The brands on this year’s ranking are all here because they are committed to adding new and meaningful value to consumers’ lives.

At Kantar we, too, have found new ways to deliver on our business of providing essential market intelligence. This year, in addition to its wide range of existing data offerings, Kantar has launched new, pandemic-focused global surveys to glean real-time consumer insights during this fast-moving period in history. It has also continued to pioneer new metrics and analytical tools in critical business areas like corporate reputation, brand trust, and sustainability.

As the world emerges from the shock of COVID-19, brands will need to find new ways to keep their products and services relevant in a changed society. That’s where we at Kantar can help, as the world’s leading data and insights consultancy.

We help define and build meaningfully different brands with our holistic brand guidance – an approach that combines innovations, experiences, creative content, and media investment to optimize investment and accelerate profitable growth.

Using the vast Kantar and BrandZ™ reservoirs of intelligence, we can help you successfully navigate today’s uncertainty. I am available to personally discuss how we can help you and your brand succeed—building valuable brands that add value to people’s lives. Please feel free to contact me directly or contact any of our Kantar leaders listed in the Resources section at the end of this report.

Shishir Varma

CEO Japan, Insights Division