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Dentsu Live makes brand experiences personal

More and more marketers are looking to stronger personal and emotional connections with their customers. They are looking to go beyond the boundaries of traditional and interactive media in their desire to create impactful, real-life brand experiences.

Dentsu Live makes brand experiences personal

In response to this growing trend, Dentsu Live was established in January, 2017. As part of the Dentsu Group, its mission is to produce events and physical spaces that connect people with brands in the ‘real world.’

For Dentsu Live’s President and CEO, Representative Director Keiichi Maeda, Live Marketing must be impactful because live is face-to-face. “It has the potential to change consumer behaviors and society at large. It has the power to change everything, to move everything. Its goal is to ignite. Live Marketing re-envisions the development of events and space as an operation that creates real experiences and values.”

Dentsu Live’s business is divided into two main businesses: one produces events like auto shows and sports events; the other works to design and build physical spaces like showrooms, cafés and even museums.

In terms of revenue and staff, Dentsu Live is by far the largest experiential marketing agency in Japan. It’s very likely the largest and most versatile experiential marketing agency in the world.

Dentsu Live makes brand experiences personal

Dentsu Live designed Intersect by Lexus to help its customers immerse themselves completely in the brand.

While other media mostly use sight and sound to communicate, Dentsu Live is able to immerse people in experiences that use all five senses.

Part of what makes Dentsu Live special, even within the Dentsu Group, is that it draws upon so many creative disciplines in its work. “Each of us has a special ability or skill to contribute to concept creation and production process. Some of us specialize in visual imaging; some in space design; and others work to develop consumer insights and strategy,” notes Taro Ishisaka, Dentsu Live’s Executive Officer.

Dentsu Live makes brand experiences personal

Taro Ishisaka, Dentsu Live’s Executive Officer

In addition to the people you’d expect to find at marketing agency, Dentsu Live’s staff of approximately 400 includes specialists like urban designers, architects and engineers who work together to realize a creative vision into the real world. The diversity of expertise within the agency enables it to imagine and execute projects in new and unconventional ways.

Ishisaka adds, “we like to think of ourselves as having deeper talent and more varied networks than other experiential agencies.”

Dentsu Live works seamlessly with Japanese and non-Japanese clients alike. Many of Dentsu Live’s non-Japanese clients are interested in tapping into essential Japanese esthetic values and our culture of production excellence. “Our company works with them to integrate technology and beauty to create new expressions. This is one of the reasons why so many global clients succeed with us,” says Ishisaka.

At Dentsu Live, each person and project is connected by a commonly held set of beliefs which can be summed up in the agency’s corporate slogan, “Moment of Truth” that’s defined by:

Designing and materializing solution scenarios from business issues to local and societal issues by facing them head-on, Dentsu Live creates “Moment of Truth” that moves people and creates energy that drives changes in the world.

For Jun Naito, Dentsu Live’s Vice President and COO, Director, the basis of what does move people is “communication between people,” and, “staging the meetings for real encounters.” The motivation and energy for things and people to act comes from emotionally powerful experiences and sharing them with others. The “Moment of Truth” is focuses on the first surprise, encounter, and emotion that shakes your soul.

“There’s too much information out there about different brands,” Naito explains. “Most people don’t know what to believe. The only thing we know is true is through our actual, real world experiences. When people experience something real they will want to learn more about a campaign or a brand.”

At Dentsu Live, “we are not artists; we are producers. We have the ability to choose the artists. This is why we can provide to the client the best solution,” explains Go Kashina,
Dentsu Live’s Executive Creative Director.

Dentsu Live makes brand experiences personal

Go Kashina, Dentsu Live’s Executive Creative Director

“Sometimes, in a project orientation from a client, there are dilemmas. They want something that’s cutting edge but they want to put it into mass market. My goal is not only to answer a client’s request. It’s to go beyond this and make something beautiful,” says Kashina as he talks about his aspirations for Dentsu Live’s work.

“I want to help our clients resolve the tensions found between wanting to do something on the cutting edge while reaching the largest audience possible.”

Executive Creative Director Kashina’s greatest professional satisfaction is, “when we can achieve a balance between pure beauty and business goals. So we always want experiences that are real and true —a “Moment of Truth”— that brings brands closer to the people they care about most.”

The company’s creative approach relies on understanding the emotion behind a client and business to create an experience that can convey the emotion and passion of clients to their customers.

Dentsu Live has a unique approach to bringing the vision of their clients to life. It strives to engage clients to envision their ambitions and future. Kashina explains, “we always try to understand our clients not just as businesses. We want to know about the people and culture. We use many kinds of data to inform our work, but our job is to go beyond what data alone can tell us.”

Dentsu Live makes brand experiences personal

Dentsu Live wanted to show how Mizkan, a vinegar and seasonings manufacturer, makes vinegar using the same brewing techniques that it used 200 years ago.

“When I start an assignment,” Kashina explains, “I like to go together with the client to places like museums and restaurants and talk about ideas beyond just the project at hand. This helps me with the process of really understanding my client and allows us to freely share and co-create ideas.

These conversations are critical resources. How deeply Dentsu Live speaks with our senior clients and as well as the company’s people at every level helps us get a clear understanding of what kinds of experiences and outcomes our clients will consider a success.”

Live Marketing at Dentsu Live utilizes an array of data and technologies to support its clients. “Sometimes you need to rely on intuition and experience though,” explains Kashina. “Based on our own interactions and emotional feelings when working with a client, we can create an experience for them that's truly worthwhile.”

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