Being a next-generation marketer. Bringing value creation to digital transformation

Mar. 5, 2021
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The Sei-katsu-sha Interface Market (Part 2)

The growth of the Sei-katsu-sha Interface Market, as Hakuhodo has dubbed it, will require a new marketing approach that creates engaging data-driven experiences for sei-katsu-sha—the term Hakuhodo uses in place of “consumers” to mean real people with their own lifestyles, aspirations, and dreams.
What mindsets and innovations will it take to be a next-generation marketer? That question was addressed by Hakuhodo Corporate Officer Masato Aoki at the Sei-katsu-sha Interface Market Forum 2020, which was held online in December 2020. Here’s what he had to say.

Click here for The Sei-katsu-sha Interface Market (Part 1)


Being a next-generation marketer. Bringing value creation to digital transformation

What’s the secret to becoming a next-generation marketer as the Sei-katsu-sha Interface Market expands? And how can Hakuhodo help you pull that off? Those are the questions I’ll be answering here.

First, take a look at the following diagram of what next-generation marketing involves. In the middle are “sei-katsu-sha interfaces.” The red arrow represents the collection of sei-katsu-sha data. The blue arrow represents new sei-katsu-sha experiences leveraging that data. I’ll explain each of these in turn.



The first key to being a next-generation marketer is delivering engaging experiences via sei-katsu-sha interfaces. It’s important to map out a customer journey that integrates a full range of sei-katsu-sha interfaces: mass media, digital media, owned media, retail outlets, ecommerce and D2C, salespeople, call centers, and so forth. That requires the ability to look beyond conventional media and customer touchpoints. It’s essential to ask yourself a few questions. Can you design more engaging experiences for sei-katsu-sha by combining online and offline touchpoints? Besides media and owned assets, are you making effective use of digital platform and retail platform assets as well?

The second key is collecting sei-katsu-sha data. Delivering an engaging experience to sei-katsu-sha generates data on how they respond. The important thing is to design the data and system platform to enable integrated analytics across multiple interfaces. There shouldn’t be separate data or systems for each interface.

The third key is creating new sei-katsu-sha experiences that leverage that data. Performing integrated analytics on sei-katsu-sha response data as I’ve just described lets you isolate bottlenecks in the customer journey and identify where to concentrate your firepower. Those analytics will empower you to create more engaging experiences for sei-katsu-sha.

Successfully designing all three elements: sei-katsu-sha interfaces, sei-katsu-sha experiences, and sei-katsu-sha data and systems. And getting both arrows moving in a constant cycle. That’s what it takes to be a next-generation marketer.

We hope you’ll make good use of what Hakuhodo can offer as your partner in becoming a next-generation marketer. Hakuhodo possesses an unrivaled advantage: the ability to bring value creation to digital transformation. We have the prowess to organically integrate sei-katsu-sha interfaces, sei-katsu-sha experiences, and sei-katsu-sha data and systems, coupled with a flair for delivering value to sei-katsu-sha and society at large. And we’re proud of it.

The new order of the day: A purpose-driven approach to branding

Hakuhodo will bring value creation to next-generation marketing by using two engines to power the sei-katsu-sha interface: Brand Transformation™ and sei-katsu-sha interface technology.


I’ll describe the first of these engines—Brand Transformation™—in detail. The traditional approach to branding revolves around brand perception. It involves distinguishing your product from the competition by means of one-way advertising and design. But the Sei-katsu-sha Interface Market is growing, and the competition to deliver functional value has become saturated. There is now greater emphasis on providing services as people become more interested in experiencing than in owning. In that context, the old approach to branding doesn’t work as well anymore. And so it’s being replaced by a new, purpose-driven form of branding. This new form of branding is about designing experiential value in an era of 24/7 connectivity, and it revolves around brand participation. When a brand declares its purpose, an alliance of companies that identify with the cause emerges. The ecosystem where those companies and their technologies come together engenders a new set of sei-katsu-sha interfaces. Those interfaces are leveraged in growing businesses, developing services, and implementing next-generation marketing. That makes it possible to establish a cycle of brand participation, with sei-katsu-sha who are attracted to a particular enterprise or service forming their own communities and themselves taking part in the service development process.

This approach involves transforming companies and their businesses with branding. Here at Hakuhodo we refer to it as Brand Transformation™ (BX). We provide support in three phases.

(1) Transform your vision and purpose
Identify challenges facing society and sei-katsu-sha through future visioning. Then define your vision and purpose.

(2) Transform your organization, business, and people
Establish a multi-company ecosystem by declaring your brand purpose. Provide support with formulating business plans and implementing organizational design with a view to creating new business.

(3) Transform the sei-katsu-sha experience
Design sei-katsu-sha experiences, complete with data and system platforms to underpin them.

Executing digital transformation with the goal of creating value, rather than simply enhancing efficiency, requires a pivot to a new type of branding. Stop relying on advertising- and design-based branding techniques that involve statically nurturing perceptions within a predefined framework. Instead, adopt a new, purpose-driven approach that engages a full cast of stakeholders and dynamically creates new experiences and services for sei-katsu-sha. We certainly hope you’ll turn to the pros at Hakuhodo for assistance with rollout of this new type of branding.



The Hakuhodo advantage: The ability to apply technology to marketing and make it part of people’s lives

Now let me describe the second engine that powers sei-katsu-sha interfaces: sei-katsu-sha interface technology. Lots of companies out there possess technological capabilities in fields like AI and XR. But there aren’t that many companies, we feel, with the ability to apply technology to marketing and make it an integral part of people’s lives. “technology” comes from the Greek word tekhnē, which means “art” or “skill.” Hakuhodo doesn’t just possess the technical capabilities that will be essential in the coming era. It has the skills to leverage that technology for marketing purposes and apply it in society, as part of people’s lives. That’s what really sets us apart. We’ve coined the term “sei-katsu-sha interface technology” to describe that skill set. Sei-katsu-sha interface technology means the ability to distill a series of features on a device into a sei-katsu-sha experience, to transform a technical interface into an interface that works for sei-katsu-sha, and to convert device or customer data into sei-katsu-sha data. This set of capabilities, this sei-katsu-sha interface technology, constitutes the Hakuhodo advantage.



Let me share some examples of sei-katsu-sha interface technology in action. Spontena, a member of Hakuhodo Group that develops chatbots, offers a chatbot on the official LINE messenger account of a major delivery firm. This can be used for functions like scheduling a delivery date, and it has 42 million users. Most chatbots out there are in Q&A format or require you to click on a series of buttons. They’re incapable of engaging in a serious conversation, and too often they fail to solve the problem. But Spontena’s chatbot is a troubleshooting bot designed to converse naturally with the user, which is why it scores so high in user satisfaction. It features an advanced, patented natural language processing technology called Tinamy. It has an interface built on a messaging app, which allows the delivery firm to get closer to their customers. And it solves problems by offering natural conversation capabilities. It thus ensures greater convenience for sei-katsu-sha while helping relieve the shortage of delivery personnel. These are all sei-katsu-sha interface technologies, and we’re proud to say that only Hakuhodo Group can deliver such a combination.

Next, I’ll describe Hakuhodo DY Group’s sei-katsu-sha interface technology in the data integration field. In 2019, the Hakuhodo DY Group set up a company called Data EX Platform (DEX), which offers safe, secure external data integration solutions featuring its own proprietary technology. The latest revisions to Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information make it harder than ever to link external data with your own first-party data. On the other hand, relying exclusively on owned data for your data marketing is not a very good way to tap potential demand beyond your home market. You risk going into slow but steady decline. DEX, therefore, is working on a method of sifting through the reams of data beyond your horizon for sei-katsu-sha signals that could translate into fresh demand, then linking that information with your first-party data.

The next sei-katsu-sha interface technology I’ll talk about is that of CRAFTAR, another member of the Hakuhodo Group. CRAFTAR employs animation and other communication techniques to solve problems facing sei-katsu-sha, companies, and society at large. Besides producing animation featuring cutting-edge CGI, it has set up a lab that studies and “engineers” the collective know-how and techniques of Japanese animators. It applies the insights gained in various ways. For example, it offers a virtual PoC platform that, by combining VR with CGI, enables a vehicle dashboard, say, to be evaluated at the development stage. It also has its own motion-capture studio and is working on a project to leverage 3D CGI output for marketing and promotional purposes.

Here’s an example of a longer-term undertaking. Hakuhodo DY Group is conducting research and development on what forms communication might take in cyber-physical space. This project applies a new technology, the AR Cloud. Augmented reality has until now been something experienced in isolation by a single individual. We’ve developed a prototype that enables multiple individuals to share an AR experience—a prototype of an “AR City,” where multiple individuals can have fun building a community in augmented reality. We’re also working on a prototype of a cyber-physical version of social media—Spatial Message—where, once you put on your AR glasses, you can view messages others have left in the space. The use of cyber-physical space has advanced tremendously under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re making steady progress in R&D on sei-katsu-sha interface technology for cyber-physical space, and on what forms the next generation of communications could assume in that new dimension.

Helping power your business growth with both engines—and our creative prowess

We at Hakuhodo combine the twin engines of Brand Transformation™ and sei-katsu-sha interface technology with the creative prowess we’ve developed over the years. Now we’re ready to help you reinvent your marketing. We look forward to assisting you in overhauling your marketing playbook, and growing your business, by unleashing the full range of our creativity: our creative flair for designing sei-katsu-sha experiences, our creative ability to engage different stakeholders in constructing sei-katsu-sha interfaces, our creative skills at developing sei-katsu-sha data and systems, and our creative talent in the fields of business incubation and revenue design. In fact, we’ve already gotten started. Several projects with clients and partners are well under way.

The Sei-katsu-sha Interface Market has limitless potential for forging new connections between sei-katsu-sha and your company. Hakuhodo is committed to working alongside you in revolutionizing marketing by making that market much, much bigger.


Masato Aoki
Corporate Office
General Manager, R&D Division
Hakuhodo Inc.
Masato Aoki joined Hakuhodo in 1989. Over the years, he has been involved in marketing, branding, shopping research and other work. He currently oversees research and development in the data marketing and marketing technology domains and at Hakuhodo DY Holdings, he also serves as a Corporate Officer and is the General Manager of the Marketing Technology Development Division.
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