Trademarks & Japan

This holiday we have experienced the intriguing consumer market of Japan up close. This yields a number of notable features.

First of all, consumers in Japan are fond of different tastes and brand variations. The more the better. There are various flavors of KitKat (from green tea to red beans). Coca-Cola also has several flavors such as transparent cola (!). As a large brand, there is a market (but also a duty) to distinguish yourself with various flavors and variants. The consumer is king in Japan and the consumer is used to getting the best service. A wide choice in products fits this.

What also stands out is the love for French names. A coffee shop with Chez Loulou works better than a Japanese name, apparently. That way various names pass by, whether it is completely good French (or English) does not matter, it is about the image. We encountered this situation in China before. Western brands are more respectable if they are not translated into Chinese characters. Bordeaux wine, for example, must have a French name to show status.

This is an important thing to remember when starting in countries with their own transliterations such as Japan and China. If you want to reach the consumer, a transliteration is recommended. But if a Western name contributes to the image, then this transliteration is not necessary.


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Arnaud Bos

“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”



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