Title Energy: A new energy transforming Chinese consumption

Dec. 16, 2016
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Tokyo―December 16, 2016―Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Shanghai (HILL Shanghai), a fully owned subsidiary of Hakuhodo Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo; Hirokazu Toda, President & CEO), Japan’s second largest advertising company, announced findings from its latest research on December 16 in Beijing, China.

Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Shanghai has unveiled new perspectives for corporate marketing under the banner of Title Energy.*1 Through a joint research project with the Communication University of China’s School of Advertising, Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Shanghai has focused on a recent movement in which Chinese sei-katsu-sha*2 who start their own businesses or work on the side have been creating profound changes in consumption behavior. We have dubbed the impact these entrepreneurs bring about Title Energy.

Relying on the Internet and smartphones, soaring numbers of sei-katsu-sha in China have, with little fanfare, been launching businesses and starting second jobs centered on their interests or special skills. Some of these enterprising sei-katsu-sha have spotted social needs overlooked by corporations and crafted businesses to fulfill them. As a result, the livelihoods of many people have started to improve. This movement has been triggered not by individual startups but by a multiplicity of simultaneous events, and the resulting cascade is beginning to reshape consumption behavior.

We coined the word Title Energy to describe the energy these men and women are bringing to the marketplace. Title Energy is set to propel transformations in sei-katsu-sha consumption behavior and furnish companies with the following new marketing perspectives:

(1) Appearance of sei-katsu-sha with dual frames of reference—the materialization of “self+”
consumption needs
More and more sei-katsu-sha examine the world through dual frames of reference: their personal frame of reference and a societal frame of reference. With two frames of reference, sei-katsu-sha are unearthing not only their own needs but also the needs of people around them and the needs of the public at large. You could say so-called “self+” consumption needs are materializing.

(2) Transformed relationship between sei-katsu-sha and corporations—emergence in the interactions between sei-katsu-sha and corporations
Sei-katsu-sha bearing Title Energy will possibly act as experts for corporations, providing them with new product and business perspectives. Emergence in the interactions between corporations and sei-katsu-sha is also envisioned in such specialized domains as development, distribution, and sales.

(3) Formation of networks in consumer society driven by sei-katsu-shathe birth of brand newsystems of consumption targets
Brand-new needs will likely promote networking among sei-katsu-sha, who are both sellers and buyers, as well as among sellers. Their action to re-bundle goods and services to suit new needs is expected to spawn a series of brand new systems of consumption targets.

Those sei-katsu-sha who pick up on social needs will have “titles” attached to their names to play a role in improving people’s livelihoods. A multitude of sei-katsu-sha who have earned titles will appear simultaneously in society to fulfill social needs in all sorts of domains. The source of this huge wave of renewal will be Title Energy.

Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Shanghai will continue pursuing research themes in this project, while observing, from unique vantage points, Chinese sei-katsu-sha and offering insights from new angles.

*1Title Energy (“銜能” in Japanese, “衔能” in Simplified Chinese) is coined from the Chinese words tóu xián [title] and néng liàng [energy].

*2Sei-katsu-sha are more than simply consumers, just as people’s lives and lifestyles include more than just shopping. Hakuhodo introduced this term in the 1980s to emphasize its commitment to a comprehensive, 360-degree perspective on consumers’lives.

■About Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Shanghai

Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Shanghai, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hakuhodo Inc. of Japan, is
a think-tank established in Shanghai in 2012 to serve the Hakuhodo Group in China.
Leveraging sei-katsu-sha research know-how amassed in Japan, the Institute supports companies’marketing activities in China, while developing local insights and making proposals on future ways of living in China.

Key current activities:
・ The Dynamics of Chinese People: Research that intuits the true desires of sei-katsu-sha and puts
forward ideas for new ways of living
・ New method development: Development of new methods that contribute to companies’marketing activities
・ New viewpoint proposal: Offering new ways of looking at sei-katsu-sha and markets

The fruits of these activities are provided to customers through the Hakuhodo Group’s offices.
Some of the results are also made public via presentations of research findings, the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living Shanghai’s website, publications and other means.

The Dynamics of Chinese People is a joint research project conducted by HILL Shanghai and the Communication University of China’s School of Advertising that uncovers new sei-katsu-sha behaviors and desires and reports research findings. The Un-Framing Consumption findings are the project’s third set of findings, following its Whirlpool Creation findings in 2013, Information Bees findings in 2014 and “Un-framing Consumption” in 2015.

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