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CONNECTING WITH THE MASS AFFLUENT

Part III: How to Communicate with Affluent Women
— Interview with the Originator of the Terms "Celeb" and "Ele-girl"

(The first half of this conversation is here.)

The panel members discuss business opportunities and methods of communication to motivate women. This is based on the results of a survey, jointly conducted by Dentsu and Hearst Fujingaho, that examines attitudes and purchasing behavior of affluent women in Japan.

Part III: How to Communicate with Affluent Women

From left: Hearst Fujingaho's Sogo, Dentsu's Ishii, Dentsu's Koyama

◆ The modest, traditional Japanese woman type holds key to consumption

Koyama:

In this survey, affluent women were classified into five types. Which of these do you find the most intriguing?

Sogo:

I am most interested in the first group, the "modest, traditional Japanese woman." She doesn't care to be fashionable, and owns kimonos that have been handed down from generation to generation, or diamonds she will leave her children for their asset value.

The modest, traditional Japanese woman type

Part III: How to Communicate with Affluent Women

Ishii:

The women in this group tend to be interested in travel rather than fashion.

Sogo:

When I'm invited to overseas events I fly business class. Observing the elderly passengers around me, I've noticed that some of them are dressed for a hike in the mountains. That is probably because, at their destination, they will emphasize mobility and functionality, rather than looking fashionable.

Koyama:

If they start to move, consumption will rise as well.

Sogo:

Yes, very much so. The potential is there.

Koyama:

What sort of communication would be best?

Sogo:

The important thing is to create an incentive. Women in particular will awaken if motivated.
I have a friend who's like the women in this first group. She once came to me for advice because she had been given a position as a company director, and felt that she should be paying more attention to her clothes, but didn't know where to start.
A professional stylist showed her how to coordinate outfits, and I later received an email from her telling me how happy she was not to feel so indecisive each morning about what to wear, and that she had discovered a new self.

Koyama:

It really gives you self-confidence, doesn't it?

Sogo:

That's right. She changed her mood with clothes, and that gave her self-confidence. The women in this first group have not been awakened, but the potential is huge, I think.

Koyama:

Making them take notice is important. What sorts of reasons resonate most with these women?

Sogo:

They have free time, so they're also interested in improving themselves. How about inviting them to seminars or events?
There are various types, like those who are very interested in jewelry, but not in clothes. But they would like to change their makeup a bit. Maybe one could hold a meeting to brainstorm ideas aimed at such people.

Ishii:

A relatively large number of women in this group care about beauty and health, so maybe ideas to make them a bit more beautiful? I think they would respond to proposals that, rather than just neutralizing the negatives, turn a neutral into a positive.

Part III: How to Communicate with Affluent Women

Sogo:

I think people are particular about quality in their lives. But they don't like gaudy, showy things. In terms of fashion, introduce them to chic items of high quality that are appropriate for their age and down-to-earth. Even if the items are expensive, the people will see the difference when they look at themselves in the mirror.

Koyama:

Once they have one high-quality item, it will lead them to start thinking about how to match it with other things.

Sogo:

That's right. Everything is connected, and if you can make them take notice, it opens up opportunities in various areas.

◆ External appearance a weapon: the all-out, enjoy-life-to-the-fullest type

Koyama:

What about the second group, who makes every effort to enjoy life to the fullest? We discussed these competitive people earlier.

Ishii:

These are women in dual-income households, who devote themselves to fashion, contribute to society, and are proactive when it comes to education and investing.

The all-out, enjoy-life-to-the-fullest type

Part III: How to Communicate with Affluent Women

Sogo:

The number of women working will increase, and as a result women will have expanded careers. At the moment there are only a handful of women in mostly male boardrooms. But, as more women take on these roles, they will become more conscious of each other's appearance.

Koyama:

So a spirit of competition will develop?

Sogo:

Of course, while content is what counts in these situations, external appearance can also be a weapon. I believe there will be an increase in the number of career women who are careful about how they dress.

Koyama:

To digress a bit, when women in Southeast Asia are asked what beauty means to them, the most common answer is that it's a "passport to success." That's being really honest.

Part III: How to Communicate with Affluent Women

Sogo:

Japanese wouldn't say that, even if they thought so, would they? We come from a culture in which speaking too honestly is considered vulgar. In that sense, being overly aggressive with communication will cause people to pull away, so moderation is necessary.

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