Culturally-Tailor Global Interview Approach

online interview

Nowadays, global projects need agile movements. And the time pressure often has international projects employ standardized research tools, even for qualitative research operations. However, standardized research tools do not always capture subtle and non-verbal communications in a high-context culture like Japan. We helped a global research project capture insights from implicit consumer communications without slowing down the move for their project. The Context A global company wanted to conduct consumer interviews to get insights into how consumers use personal hygiene products. They have already undertaken consumer interviews in Europe and United States. They tried to understand the current habits of users and test the potentials of their prototypes. The Challenges […]

Sensory Testing with Consumers

Facial tissue paper

“We heard about Sensory evaluations. But what can sensory evaluations do for our product development?“ We answered this question by offering sensory workshops for our clients and sensory tests with consumers to meet their needs. The Context Our client, a consumer goods company, wanted to assess how consumers perceive facial tissue papers and what improvements their products needed to win against the competitors in the Japanese market. The Challenges #1. Interests in sensory testing, but no experiences First, the client asked us what sensory testing can do for their product development. They were interested in sensory testing because consumer surveys and focus group interviews did not direct what characteristics in […]

Building Leading-Edge Consumer Community

Online leading-edge consumer forum

Recruiting the right people is essential to get high quality from qualitative user research. Recently, we increasingly get feedback from leading-edge consumers on potential ideas and prototypes. They offer valuable input to existing and new products contributing innovations. However, recruiting leading-edge consumers requires time and effort. The Context An FMCG company wanted to create a consumer community with around 10 – 15 leading-edge Japanese consumers who can objectively and creatively characterize their user experience of beauty care products. The Challenge Recruiting “leading-edge” consumers in the limited time Initially, the definition of “leading-edge” consumers was general. For example, the leading-edge consumers could be beauty freaks. They could be semi-professional beauty editors, […]

Remote Sensory Testing

Body care sensory test

“We want to set up a sensory panel. But we do not have any budgets for building sensory test facilities. We are also worried about covid-19 effects when doing sensory tests….” Indeed, the requirement of the sensory facility is one of the reasons our clients give up the development of sensory panels. In addition, the covid-19 pandemic is another reason they think of stopping any sensory testing. However, there is a solution to those issues when we think differently. We can conduct sensory testing with trained panelists by applying the principle of sensory testing in-home environments. The Context An FMCG company wanted to conduct sensory testing to evaluate Japanese sensory […]

Capturing implicit Insights from User Community

Video gamer

Online consumer community is an efficient way to have consumers discuss relevant topics beyond the structured interviews. Most online community platforms have machine translation functions, making running consumer studies in multiple countries easy. However, consumers sometimes infer something, which mechanical translations cannot capture. Therefore, we interpret what consumers imply beyond the translations to deep dive into their insights. The Context A global research agency wanted to conduct an online user community ( we also call it Online Bulletin Boards) research among gamers to explore the potentials of new games in Japan. They want to know what games they currently play and what they think of concepts of new game prototypes. […]

Desk Research for Exploring Business Opportunities

Desk research with cats

Secondary research (or desk research) is an effective way to understand the existing knowledge at a low cost. Thanks to the internet, we can find information easily online. However, the internet does not always have all the necessary data.  In addition, sometimes, information on the same topic conflicts with each other.   Now, let us explain how we assisted a company that did secondary research for the first time to collect the existing data to kick-off their business. The Context A startup company wanted to know the market overview of the pet care business as the initial step before founding a company. So they tried to get an idea about […]

In Search of Human Connections in Social Distancing

Online nomikai

When I wake up in the morning, one message keeps coming into my email box. “Zoom Nomi (Drinking party on Zoom) will be tomorrow.  Please make sure that your PC has the Zoom platform!” On the day of the Zoom Nomi, there were over 30 people on the screen. I saw that each participant held a glass of beer or wine in his/her hand. The event organizer said, “Thank you for joining. Let’s start Zoom Nomi with Kanpai (Cheers)!” The participants held up their drinks high in front of their PCs, taking part in the toast. Then, we started talking and laughing without interruption as if Covid-19 could not stop […]

Customer Experience Pitfalls

contact company

Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) attract the interests of businesspeople in Japan. Google “Customer Experience” in Katakana, and you get 50 million search results. User Experience – over 4 million. We also notice that many companies are conducting customer research for their products and services. We recognize that companies are trying to enrich their customers’ experiences.

Influence of Majority

Standing in Line

Queuing is a part of Japanese habits. In rush hours, people stand in line to wait for trains to get on. At amusement parks such as Disneyland, people wait for one or two hours to get into popular attractions. Likewise, people are queuing up in front of restaurants or food shops to get in. Queues mean sales growth. My recent experience tells how the first customer attracts more people quickly in Japan.

Why Senior Women Love Shopping

Elderly women shopping

Women love to shop. And the women’s love for shopping does not fade by age. One Thursday at 9:30 a.m., I passed by a supermarket and saw five to six women making a line in front of the supermarket. They were all around aged the late 60s to 80s wearing walking shoes. Some people held their shopping carts, and others held mobility aids. “Why do they come early even to wait for opening the supermarket? ” I wondered.

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