The choice criteria of Japanese consumers is complex and changing rapidly. The approach to such cross-sectional variability would be niche marketing. United States marketers would find segments of the market in which the company has advantages over rivals and concentrate on those markets. But because Japanese consumers have traditionally been hard to segment and consumer choices have changed quickly—and, in many cases, randomly— Japanese firms instead developed a “rapid fire” approach to marketing to deal with the tremendous variability of their markets (Kotler and Keller 62). Traditionally, Japanese companies have focused on building large, ambiguous corporate brands, so the “what” of brand positioning has been very difficult to pin down. In a market perceived to be homogeneous, the “whom” of brand positioning has also been very difficult to determine. In effect, the “what” and “whom” of Japanese brand positioning—other than an overall sense of quality and stability—were essential “all things to all people.” Today, this is changing (Bearden et al 44). The declining importance of the “big and ambiguous” corporate brand can be seen in the decreasing size of corporate logos in advertising. .
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