Japan is a hotspot for international brands seeking to expand new markets. This country has the third largest economy in the world, making it a haven for global businesses. If you’re a business that wants to cater to a specific geographical area, it’s important to know how to navigate the advertising environment in that region to have an effective marketing strategy.
But marketing can be difficult for the inexperienced. It’s more complex than going to your Facebook page and making a sales pitch for your product. This is where marketing agencies can provide big benefits. Professional agencies know how to avoid the online pitfalls that everyday business managers and staff often make, meaning that they can easily save much more than they cost.
The Japanese advertising market is one of the largest advertising markets worldwide. Total advertisement spending saw stable growth until the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020, which led to a decrease of the market size by about 780 billion Japanese yen. In 2021, the market recovered considerably and reached a value of 6.8 trillion yen, which was close to pre-COVID-19 levels. Given its size, the advertising market is one of the most important markets for Japan. It regularly accounts for more than one percent of the country’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP).
In Japan, agencies are becoming more specialized according to their individual needs, rather than one agency controlling all touchpoints. “Ideas are still important, but the means of getting them across to our consumers are becoming more diverse,” says Masanori Tagaya, executive creative director at Grey Tokyo (joint 60th in the World Creative Rankings, and 9th in the APAC agency category.
Japan has an abundance of digital agencies that offer marketing and advertising services. Some are local agencies while others are Japanese branches of global organisations. Technology has forever changed how companies attract customers and generate revenue. If you’re considering hiring a Japanese marketing company to help you boost your brand image, position your company in search rankings, or manage your social media presence, we’re here to help. Here is a selection of 10 marketing and advertising agencies operating in Japan that will help you capture the distinct Japanese market.
URALA Communications is one of the top marketing and advertising agencies found in Japan. The long-established agency is part of a full-service media, creative content, web development, PR and events solutions group with 120 staff across offices in Tokyo and West Japan (covering the Greater Osaka area).
URALA’s international team provide brands, corporations and SMEs with “Faster, Cheaper, Better” marketing services just like a sushi chef making all sorts of sushi in one go! Their creative directors, marketers, producers and engineers have particularly experienced in the media, education, healthcare, lifestyle, tourism, finance and consumer goods sectors. Clients include Nikkei, Reuters, Kaplan, Rakuten, Recruit, DMM Fintech, NHK, Dentsu, Bandai Namco, NTT, Tokyo Gas, Kansai Electric Power, KPMG, Meiji Yasuda, Marubeni, Amber, Kraken Japan as well as governmental bodies.
URALA is the only agency in Japan with a dedicated, long-standing Digital Asset (+NFT and Metaverse) marketing practice in Japan, as the owner and operator of Cointelegraph Japan, the country’s most influential crypto media brand. URALA’s global crypto team works with Tier 1 digital asset projects globally and provides brands and Web3.0 aspirant clients with “crypto-native” solutions.
2. KKBC Japan
KKBC is a B2B communications agency that uses and maximises data to understand human behaviour, to create successful strategies, and convert marketing investment into marketing return. They provide bilingual services that enable them to do what they do best in these specific areas of clients’ needs. KKBC focuses on maximizing the value of multinational corporate and product brands in Japan.
A number of their capabilities include marketing, digital marketing, public & press relations, creative, promotion, and media – providing an integrated solution for communication management. KKBC’s team of multicultural strategists and planners in Japan, focuses on delivering cost-effective results, at the speed of global business, to develop integrated programs, that separate our clients from their competition.
KKBC is a company dedicated to maximising the value of multinational corporate and product brands in Japan through media planning, media buying, audience insight, search & display advertising, social media advertising, transportation media, newspaper & magazine. Their multicultural Japan team of communication experts is experienced at partnering with multinational clients to solve unique international marketing challenges, and achieve aggressive outcomes in the Japan market.
They provide research, digital, marketing, advertising, PR, and media in Japan, delivering integrated programs at the speed of global business, separating our clients from their competition. KKBC also services a wide range of clients with a focus on multinationals headquartered in the US, and sectors including technology, services, healthcare, consumer staples, consumer discretionary, to name a few.
Mozmene is a multilingual independent creative agency that incorporates the whole spectrum of a client’s communication needs under one roof. From a comprehensive marketing campaign to simply adding subs to a video. From a full rebranding strategy to a tiny icon design. No matter how big or small the task, they’ll be there to promptly fix any problem our clients may have.
This makes them the best fit for those companies that are looking for a one-stop shop creative team that can handle multiple tasks and become a trusted business ally. One that’s always there for any issue that may come up. On the other hand, they also work as a production studio for the world’s top advertising conglomerates and as a result have production experience with some of the most prestigious brands in the world.
This experience allows the company to offer the most professional service to all our clients, no matter their size. Last but not least, a special mention goes out to our capability to work as a cultural and linguistic bridge for all those foreign companies that want to enter the Japanese market and those Japanese companies that want to get global.
An-yal offers end-to-end strategy, planning, and execution for large-scale digital and integrated projects and campaigns. They specialize in beauty and lifestyle and have a wealth of experience with big-name brands in cosmetics, hair care, confectionery, food and beverage, and consumer lifestyle products.
They offer a long list of digital marketing services that include social media strategy and management, along with influencer marketing and talent collaborations. One of their main services is augmented reality, fusing immersive AR experiences with top-notch marketing strategies. For the cosmetics industry, AR is fast becoming a key tool in marketing, with virtual try-ons quickly gaining popularity. An-yal develops AR filters for brands who are looking to capture more of the social media market, particularly on Instagram and Tiktok.
An-yal works closely with global brands helping them to bridge gaps with their Japan entity or subsidiary. They utilize their Japanese market knowledge to help their clients meet goals for the Japanese market, and facilitate local teams that need more capabilities or human resources for successful project execution.
5. Nextclicks Digital
At Nextsclick Digital, creative output is backed by scientific knowledge, numerical data and technical know-how. They research, plan and execute. Their result-driven strategies have proven successful as they continue to build trust and loyalty with companies and businesses, whether small enterprises or multinational corporations. With KPIs at our core and digital innovation at our fingertips, we aim to help you and your target audience achieve your goals with marketing tailor-made to your brand.
Regarding accomplishments, they have a diverse repertoire with speciality in B2B and E-Commerce businesses. Most recently, we were awarded Gold in the Asia eCommerce Awards for a successful campaign with Slumberland Asia. In these tough times, we have also transformed a retail store into a hybrid online business where they continue to rake in lucrative results. Other notable works include generating 4,000+ B2B leads for Fintech during the heights of pandemic as well as placing regional brands on the map by localising website content into multiple languages.
6. The Frameworks
The Frameworks is an independent design consultancy made up of Frameworkers: smart, creative thinkers who will drive to the heart of business and communications challenges. They combine the role of traditional agency, delivering award-winning content and campaigns, with that of an emerging breed of creative consultancies, offering research-driven brand, communications and digital strategy services.
They mostly service enterprise level B2B clients globally, with studios in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. Their strategists, writers, designers and developers follow a rigorous, proven approach to problem solving that ensures we capture the true challenges and opportunities our clients are facing – and consistently deliver outstanding results.
7. Ashton Consulting
Tokyo-based Ashton Consulting is an international corporate communications company that provides communication services for businesses of all sizes. Primarily working in Japan, the company services other Asian markets through its network of partner agencies.
Because of their international work in communications, Ashton consultants have strong language skills, ensuring that nothing is lost in translation. With a host of services that includes social media, PR, media training, crisis communications, and research, Ashton provides first-class implementation of communication strategies suited for foreign companies who want to enter the Japanese market or local companies who want to expand overseas.
Ashton Consulting has a strong track record in everything from social media policy development and training, through to content management, monitoring, and inventive engagement campaigns. They have had dramatic results connecting clients directly to their audience through social media. However, they believe that traditional media channels still have a vital role in modern marketing, so they bring them together to create a consistent communications strategy that connects you with all your audiences.
8. Hatago Consulting
Based in Tokyo, Hatago Consulting initially started out as a digital marketing agency that helped Japanese businesses to attract foreign audiences. Their experience with connecting local brands with global audiences helped them develop the expertise to go the other way around—helping global brands enter the Japanese market. Their multicultural team fostered good relationships with other countries, and they were able to use their intimate understanding of Japan and its market to expand their services to digital consultation for global brands.
In addition to social media marketing, they can also help with web creation, influencer marketing, and content creation. One of the characteristics that set them apart from other Japanese social media marketing companies is that they have a young team. As they grew up in the digital era and actively use the various platforms, they have an in-depth knowledge of all the key elements of digital marketing.
9. Info Cubic Japan
At Info Cubic Japan, they can either work directly with your client or provide a complete SEO/SEM “white label” package for you to present to your customer. The people at Info Cubic Japan pride themselves on our world-class customer service that helps clients avoid pitfalls, is always transparent, and always keeps our clients’ ROI in mind. They care deeply about the reputation of clients and make sure not to do anything that would harm their corporation’s image or website. Through their “Asian partnership”, they will work with you to prepare a detailed proposal that meets all your needs for successful marketing in the region.
Through the services provided at Info Cubic Japan, it is their goal to help as many companies as possible expand their boundaries globally, so that they too can fulfill their international business aspirations. At Info Cubic Japan, they can either work directly with your client or provide a complete SEO/SEM “white label” package for you to present to your customer. They pride ourselves on our world-class customer service that helps clients avoid pitfalls always transparent| and always keeps our clients’ ROI in mind. They care deeply about the reputation of our clients and make sure not to do anything that would harm their corporation’s image or website.
FICC is primarily a brand marketing agency that aims to create value by connecting brands and people. They believe a brand’s social significance holds more weight in today’s market rather than function or technology. For this reason, FICC’s services focus on promoting their clients’ social significance through careful brand marketing.
Communication is vital to FICC’s brand strategy management, so advertising—including social media—plays a critical role in their work.
FICC provides evidence-based marketing using data to perfect the results. To deliver valuable content and experiences to consumers, they consistently offer strategic planning and implementation measures. They believe that they can contribute to society by raising Japanese digital marketing to the world standard and providing new value to consumers. They offer everything from strategy planning to promotion execution.
They support all types of digital marketing, including social, to help their clients meet their goals. They believe that by understanding consumers’ minds through data and delivering valuable content and experiences, they can contribute to a brand’s business.
Japan’s place in the global cultural zeitgeist as the 3rd largest economy cannot be understated. As global markets recover from the shocks brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has slowly been embracing digital as the future of its competitive advertising strategy. With the global print advertising industry further declining since 2019 and demand for faster Internet access, more digital advertising, and an increase in the use of social media, it is no surprise that more key industry players are turning to digital as the surefire way to reach the masses.
Even big companies can benefit from hiring media agencies that either specialize in certain aspects of marketing or operate effectively in specific countries. This is the case for many countries around the globe, including Asian countries such as Japan. Through advertising and marketing, Japanese brands can communicate with the world, and global brands can reach Japanese audiences.