Aaker in 1990 pointed out that Japanese retailers faced a challenge in terms of being able to compete globally citing its traditional practices and production methods need to be updated to keep pace with multinational brands. Japanese retailers and manufactures answered the challenge by modernizing and increasing technology inputs but did not change its traditional product ideologies. The tenacity has worked well for most companies and has even secured significant sectors of markets for Japanese products not only in term of the brand but more importantly because of the philosophy behind the products.
Muji or Ryohin Keikaku Co. , Ltd. is one of the most successful fashion brands today in its segment. The company is characterized by its no brand or logo policy and its focus on recycling. It also is characterized by a Zen style in product design emphasizing minimalism and the environment. Though these features were designed to be simply unique product features, they have since become the brand’ s main selling point establishing its niches in the market. Considering that they were marketing very specific products, the company has had to conduct extensive and relevant market research not only with regards to their product but also with regard to the philosophy of their products.
In some ways, the products can be considered a counter-cultural movement in the fashion industry which traditionally centred on branding merchandise. Though the market is still overwhelmingly still brand focused, Muji provides an alternative and philosophical statement in contrast to the trend. The products are supported by a significant number in the market that demands quality over brand (Cox & Brittain, 1996). At the same time, the number of suppliers that it has been able to gather that support its product ideology has been developed to meet the growing demand and popularity of the products which have even become a preference of characters in fiction and literature (Gibson, 2001).
Thus, Muji has also been able to show that it is responsive and sensitive marketing strategies. In an international environment, a company’ s concerns will have to consider more external factors.
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