How Nestle tapped into Japan

Coffee was never a new product for Japan. Ever since the Dutch trading ships brought coffee into the country in the 1800s, coffee has been widely available in Japan, especially in the Kissatens – the Japanese coffee shops. However, even though it was available, and the Japanese were very influenced and interested in the western culture, coffee didn’t really make it as a preferred beverage. The emotional connection was still with tea. In the 1970s, Nestle set out to change this.

They hired French child psychologist and market researcher, Clotaire Rapaille, to seek some clarity. He has casual sessions with different demographics to understand the Japanese relationship with coffee. Turns out they didn’t have one. What needed to be done was simple – create an emotional imprint of coffee on the Japanese people.

To build a cultural imprint of coffee, Rapaille suggested to begin with the demographic that influences the future – children. And what do kids love most? Desserts! And so, the first target audience in this plan to create an emotional imprint of coffee turned out to be kids. Since you can’t really get them to have instant coffee that consists of caffeine, Nestle introduced caffeine-free, coffee-flavoured desserts. The children began to really enjoy this new flavour.

An audience’s relationship with a brand begins at a very early age. The positive impact that Nestle had on children with their coffee-flavoured desserts led to the start of an emotional connection with the brand. The kids grew up to be loyal to Nestle, allowing Nestle, as a brand, to penetrate into the Japanese market with their range of coffee products. These kids grew up to be coffee-loving adults, making Japan the 6th largest importer of coffee in the world, today.

Nestle was able to make this breakthrough because they took the time to understand the Japanese culture, dared to invest in a new product (coffee-flavoured desserts) that had the potential to tap into the market, and had the patience to wait for an entire demographic to grow up and adopt a new product into their culture.


Source: Internet Search

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