On August 11th, I wrote that some U.S. companies think they just have to put their products into Japan and they will have instant success. That might be true for a well branded product like the I-Phone, but for lesser known products, you need more. Now, I want to give an example from the opposite end as well.
An associate of mine had a Japanese health-care client trying to enter the U.S without doing the necessary in depth due diligence and work needed to ensure their success.
They planned to launch two personal care products in the American market. However, they did not perform adequate market research and analysis. The only thing they knew was that they wanted to sell in chain drug stores.
The Issues the client faced:
1.) Planned to use the same packaging and graphics used in Japan, here in the U.S. without making significant changes to it.
Packaging and graphics that appeal to the Japanese consumer are quite different from what appeals to an American consumer. For example, Japanese make use of cartoon/animated characters on packaging no matter what the age of the desired consumer. I still have my bank card from one of the major Japanese bank with characters from the Peanuts comics. In the U.S., cartoon characters are not often used in advertising for adult consumers.