Making Global Friends

Indra Gardiner Bowers // Sep 8 // Insights

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A visit from Tokyo's Recruit Lifestyle highlights differences and similarities between US and Japanese marketers.

In the nearly ten years I have been a member of PRSA's Counselors Academy (a special section for agency owners and leaders) I have formed many important relationships with agency colleagues. One of the most surprising has been my association with Natsuko Mochizuki, owner of a PR firm in Tokyo called Moonlight Wave (seriously, that name is too beautiful for a PR firm!).

Natsuko showed up in Austin two years ago at our Spring Conference PreCon for a session called Creative Braise, that tapped into our inner creative selves. It was a perfect introduction. Since then, she has shown up at the PRSA International Conference and again in Key West at the 2014 annual Spring Conference. She found us on her own and flew across the globe because she could tell this was a group that would help her grow professionally. She is intrepid and I admire her so much for that.

Last week, i.d.e.a. had the privilege of hosting Natsuko and members of one of her clients, Recruit Lifestyle, based in Tokyo. Despite an 11-hour flight, they headed directly to the office for pizza (we're based in Little Italy after all) and conversation. We talked about integration, digital marketing, creative process and, the thing that got them the most animated, a Q & A with members of our junior team about social media and how they use their mobile device.

Here are a few things I learned that day:

1. Japanese marketers are still working in silos and feel just as frustrated as we do by them. They are seeking ways to integrate teams.

2. Instagram is huge in Japan.

3. The Japanese are much further along in their use of iBeacon technology than we are here in the States.

There are many reasons I have found value in Counselors Academy over the years. Last week was a reminder that saying yes is almost always more interesting than saying no.

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