How can partnerships help market my product outside of Japan?

Reaching out to foreign markets can be fraught with challenges. An effective way to navigate these waters is through strategic partnerships.

Let’s explore how collaborations with various entities, including business counterparts and specialized agencies, can drive success in marketing products or services overseas.

Brand partnerships

Crossovers
The 2020 Toyota Supra and BMW Z4 are built on the same platform.
Collaborations with businesses in similar sectors can be a powerful way to enter new markets. By partnering with companies that share your industry focus, you can pool resources, share expertise, and capitalize on joint marketing efforts.
 
For instance, the alliance between Toyota and BMW, two giants in the automotive industry, led to shared technology and design projects. This collaboration enabled both companies to enhance their global reach, innovate more rapidly, and leverage their combined reputations.
Unconventional Collaborations
Apple and Hermès joined forces for positive brand association.
Sometimes, the most innovative partnerships arise from connections with businesses in entirely different sectors. These collaborations can lead to exciting crossovers that offer unique value to customers in foreign markets.
 
A celebrated example of this is the collaboration between Apple and Hermès, a tech company, and a luxury fashion brand. Together, they developed a range of exclusive Apple Watch bands, merging technology with high-end fashion. The crossover appealed to diverse consumer interests and delivered positive brand association with each of their respective customer bases.

Specialized Partnerships

Agencies and Production Houses
Spotify's recent Sound Tour generated a lot of buzz.
Partnering with local marketing agencies or production houses in foreign territories is crucial when creating content that resonates with native audiences. Such businesses offer deep insights into local market trends, consumer behaviors, and regulatory norms.
 
Take, for example, the US-based music streaming service Spotify. They worked with Geometry Ogilvy Japan to launch “Sound Tour”; specially curated experiences using ambient Spotify Codes which triggered bespoke music, reacquainting Japanese with local sounds and culture in a fresh, modern way. Without the ideation and support from their Japan based agency, Spotify’s marketing initiatives are not likely to have resonated.
Local Representatives and Brand Ambassadors
Work with the right influencers for your brand.
Local representatives and brand ambassadors possess intimate knowledge of regional preferences and social norms. Engaging with these experts can facilitate a smoother integration into foreign markets.
 
For instance, UNIQLO collaborates with designers to create unique capsule collections that communicate the brand’s pop cultural relevance and connect with the masses. To drive traffic and pre-holiday season sales for their latest KAWS x Peanuts collaboration, UNIQLO worked with marketing agency BMF to develop an amplification strategy via the identification, sourcing and management of 17 notable influencers to create posts across their social platforms featuring the new collection.

Making it work for you

For Japanese businesses looking to expand globally, partnerships present an essential tool for success. Whether it’s forming alliances with like-minded industry players or venturing into unexpected collaborations, the synergy created can lead to exciting innovations and market penetration.

Coupled with the expertise of specialized marketing agencies such as GK, where our mission is to bridge the communication gap between Japan and the world, these partnerships offer a well-rounded approach to thrive in foreign territories.

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