FEW Women’s Start-Up Club Meeting – Tuesday, 3 February 2015
By Katharina von Tschurtschenthaler
Sofia made it. She started her own business: She is running an online shop selling paintings produced by Ethiopian artists. The webpage looks fabulous, professional and creates the desire to start filling the online shopping cart. Now that the online presence is set up, Sofia is facing the next challenge: get clients, communicate the unique selling point. „How do I spread the word? How do I build a brand? How can I show: What I do is worth paying for?“, questions which apply to everyone who is trying to sell: no matter whether this are products, ideas or services.
One thing is sure: competition is high with many start-ups getting into business – space gets crowded, attracting attention gets harder. Anyone can put content on YouTube, everyone can set up an online store. „When it comes to create your own brand, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd“, states Fiona Berwick. She currently works as Director for the Consumer Practise for Edelman in Tokyo and was speaking at the Women’s Start Up Club 3rd meeting in February.
Brands are a lot more than just a logo. The key point is to create a living brand in a market, which grows faster and faster every day with a consumer who gets more and more empowered. The first task is „to find out who you are“, Fiona explains. „You don’t want to keep adapting yourself, but instead create a unique and consistent brand.“
That means that to get started one has to define what the business is all about and specify the vision, the mission and the goals.
„Create a brand vision“, Fiona explains. „Ask yourself the question: What are the rational and emotional benefits from what I do?“
Once this is achieved we must gather as much information as possible about our (potential) customers: Find out how they share, what they need and what they are not getting so far. „This can be done by sharing a common experience – even if it has nothing to do with the product we want to sell“, says Fiona. „Your brand has to be inclusive.“
This market research must not cost much. Like in Lauren’s case. She created her own homepage about a better living for foreigners in Japan. Her motto: „Get out and get feedback!“ Therefore she travels a lot, attends city tours and exhibitions, visits museums and talks to people in order to find out what information they are looking for – and get new readers.
When it comes to feedback „prepare for good and bad. Be able to respond to negative criticism“, Fiona advises. But most important of all: „Be comfortable with what you do.“ Then, as a last step, lay back and measure the success.
Fiona has over 20 years of experience in branding, innovation, strategy and planning. Before coming to Japan she had been working with many brands including Cancer Research UK and GSK. She currently works for Edelman where she is Director of the Consumer Practice responsible for both international brands entering the Japanese market and domestic brands looking for overseas expansion.
She has also been involved in setting up her own business and was founder of social enterprise fairsharemusic.com so she understands how important branding is when you run or start‐up your own business.
Q&A with Jackie F. Steele and Megumi Ishimoto
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Celebrating Women as Change Agents in Post-Disaster Tohoku,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Jackie F. Steele, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, and Megumi Ishimoto, Executive Director of NPO Women’s Eye. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Join us […]Published on 14th March 2018
March Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]Published on 1st March 2018
February Meeting Recap: Survivor – How to Overcome Adversity
You never know where life is going to take you. That was the message from our February guest speaker, Maxine Van-Cliffe Arakawa, who has had a decades-long career as a fashion stylist, make-up artist, and fashion show director in New York and Japan. She shared her personal experiences dealing with bi-polar disorder and gave her candid advice to […]Published on 1st March 2018
March Community Services Feature: Five Tokyo-Based Organizations That Fight For or Empower Women
In honor of March’s International Women’s Day, we’d like to present to our FEW community a list of five organizations that have established themselves as organizations who fight for or empower women as well as a list of five events that you can attend to show your support for this year’s theme of #PressFor Progress. […]Published on 28th February 2018
How I Got Here: Johanna Nousiainen
I first came to Japan as a study abroad exchange student. That year changed my life, even though at first I didn’t know it would. I was supposed to become a journalist in Finland, since that was what I loved to do – looking for information, interviewing people, writing articles about unique encounters you have. […]Published on 28th February 2018
FEW Spring Hanami Picnic & Party
Join FEW on Sunday, April 1, at Shinjuku Gyoen for a special family-friendly spring picnic celebration under the cherry blossom trees and enjoy connecting with friends, old and new!