Happy New Year.
The wave of advances in digital technology will continue to surge across all industries in 2019 and, I believe, this will be a year in which the pace of change only accelerates.
Each time I visit the United States and China, I am astounded at the speed of change there. In the urban areas of China, electronic payment is used in transactions not just at supermarkets and convenience stores, but for donations made on the street, and even between individuals when splitting a bill. Already spreading, too, are staffless convenience stores where payment is made by facial recognition authentication and vending machines that work by palm vein scanning. Aside from surprise at these changes in the social landscape, one also senses infinite possibilities for business.
This wave of change is also surging toward Japan. Smartphones, smart speakers and smart appliances: the use of artificial intelligence, the expansion of the Internet of things and other advances in digital technology are changing the social landscape here in Japan, too.
At the same time, that which only humans can undertake is also becoming clear. That is: the creation of new value. Digital technology alone cannot create new value; it must be coupled with ideas born of the human imagination. The digitalization of marketing is creating a best practice that identifies the optimal target and boosts efficiency. But relying on this alone would, I feel, make discerning new sei-katsu-sha “wants” difficult.
In 2019, Hakuhodo will take on the challenge of identifying portents of change in sei-katsu-sha and designing new value.
We have strengths honed over the years that will serve us in “designing new value.” The first is our ability to identify changes in sei-katsu-sha before others can. The Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living was established in 1981, and has studied the lives of increasingly diverse sei-katsu-sha in depth ever since. From 2014, we started building our Sei-katsu-sha Data Management Platform—which monitors sei-katsu-sha in their entirety 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—and leverage the data it amasses to understand sei-katsu-sha even more deeply and broadly.
Another strength is our capacity to use creativity to create output that moves people. This means providing things that captivate and electrify sei-katsu-sha. The output we deliver goes beyond the production of advertising; it extends to product development, business strategies, talent training, management strategies and much more besides. We work with companies and local authorities to further grow existing enterprises, develop new services and more.
At Hakuhodo, we have long supported individuality so that employees with differing personalities and skills can each shine in their own ways, and it is this that will enable us to nurture the talent that will design new value. We have also, for many years, valued a team culture that allows our eclectic talent to get the most out of their creativity.
I would like to further hone these Hakuhodo strengths so that they might contribute to designing new value for you, our clients, and for society
As digital technology evolves, and we work to solve the social issues outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the social landscape is undergoing rapid change, both in Japan and around the world. Against this backdrop, Hakuhodo will work to serve as a bridge between sei-katsu-sha, companies and society by identifying changes in sei-katsu-sha before others can and designing new value. Look forward to more from us in 2019.
President & CEO