TAO OF KAGAYA

Short List
TitleTAO OF KAGAYA
ClientRADIUM-KAGAYA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL
Product/ServiceBRAND IMAGE
CategoryC01. Best Integrated Campaign Led by PR
EntrantOGILVY PUBLIC RELATIONS Taipei, CHINESE TAIPEI
Entrant Company:OGILVY PUBLIC RELATIONS Taipei, CHINESE TAIPEI
PR/Advertising Agency:OGILVY PUBLIC RELATIONS Taipei, CHINESE TAIPEI

The Campaign

Taiwan is known to be Japan-obsessed. Its influence is pervasive from cuisine, to makeup and entertainment. So why would a seemingly straightforward brief to launch “Kagaya”, Japan’s most venerated luxury hot spring resort, in Taiwan by a Taiwanese joint-venture partner prove worthy of a Spikes award? This high-profile, make-or-break hotel opening for Radium Corp left many holding their breath. Skeptics doubted that the Chinese would go for a local version of a Japanese luxury brand. The joint venture between Kagaya, voted Japan’s top onsen resort for 30 consecutive years, and Radium Life, a relatively young property developer was dismissed as a ludicrous culture clash. With naysayers watching our every move, the agency, in partnership with Radium Corp, created a culturally-based brand concept “Tao of Kagaya”, and launched a communications campaign to position “Radium Kagaya” as a sought-after resort in Taiwan, worthy of a price tag nearly 3 times average Taipei 5-star hotel rates. The integrated campaign, lead by public relations, delivered opening month occupancy rates 8% above the industry average, with 100% occupancy on weekends. US$4 million worth of earned coverage, including 359 in-depth reports, made Radium Kagaya the most frequently searched hotel on Taiwanese Google for three consecutive months!

The Brief

For this unique premium tourism offering our objectives were: - Create a premium Japanese brand identity for Kagaya - Achieve occupancy rates above national average room occupancy - With national occupancy rates at 73%, Kagaya’s goal was 80% occupancy across the first 3 months. This would prove a successful launch and drive shareholder value for the Taiwanese parent company, Radium.

Results

We exceeded the goal, achieving a room occupancy rate of 81% for the first month with 100% occupancy rate on weekends, New Year’s Eve, and the Chinese New Year holiday period in January. This far outperformed the industry average of 73%. This was achieved through exceptional media coverage of our brand, generating US$4 million worth of coverage including 359 in-depth reports in three months. Radium Kagaya became the most frequently searched hotel in Taiwan for three consecutive months (Google Index, Nov 2010–Jan 2011). The success of the brand identity was demonstrated by Kagaya being voted “the resort hotel Taiwanese office workers would most like to visit” on popular Taiwan portal site Yam (Yam Survey, December 2010). Kagaya attracted highly publicized visits by heads of state and celebrities including former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, former Japanese Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro and the President of Palau, Johnson Toribiong.

Execution

Preparation: We leveraged the Okami culture to introduce our Tao story. We held a highly publicized Okami “graduation ceremony” for the Taiwanese women who were trained in the authentic Japanese onsen service culture. We invited Kagaya’s Okami from Japan to award the graduation certificates, symbolizing that the Taiwanese Okami passed their inspection and were ready to provide authentic Japanese ryokan service. Soft launch: Our media preview event gave key media and influencers in-depth cultural presentations on our three Tao’s: how to appreciate the aesthetic of Radium Kagaya’s architecture; what to expect of Okami-style service; and how to savor the extraordinary Japanese Kaiseki cuisine experience. Grand opening: “Radium Kagaya Japanese Cultural Festival” celebrated Japanese Chado (Tao of Tea), Japanese Ikebana (flower arrangement), and traditional Japanese dance performances, to introduce the Radium Kagaya culture to Taiwan. This was supported with advertising and press to create buzz among target customers.

The Situation

Kagaya is an institution in Japan. Founded in 1906, it has been voted the top onsen ryokan (hot spring resort) for 30 consecutive years. Kagaya formed a partnership with Radium Corp, a listed Taiwanese property developer, to create the first Kagaya onsen resort outside Japan. Formally opening in December 2010, Kagaya was up against 10 new hotel openings in the same year and boasted rates set at a record high US$850 against typical Taipei 5star hotel average of US$300 per-night. The challenge was to communicate authenticity of the Japanese onsen experience recreated in Taiwan and achieve above average occupancy rates.

The Strategy

Consumer Insight The target audience was primarily domestic mid-to-upper class Taiwanese. Research identified that 50% of this group would be interested in a Japanese ryokan-style resort that genuinely matched Japanese quality. Establishing brand position and cultural characteristics became critical. Branding Idea – Tao of Kagaya Tao is Chinese for the ‘way’ or ‘doctrine’. It is a concept that is ‘experienced’ rather than defined and lies at the heart of East Asian Taoism, Confucianism and Chinese-Buddhism. It also means “culture of pursuing perfection” which represented Kagaya’s century of legacy and infused a natural cultural familiarity for the target audience. Branding Actions - Integrated Communication Campaign We capitalized on the hotel’s meticulous attention to recreate a traditional Japanese ryokan. We focused communications on the Okami (female butler service), the authentic Japanese ryokan architecture and the cuisine. Integrated communications included a series PR campaigns, brand advertisements, and digital works to generate word of mouth.

Credits

Name Company Position
Fupei Wang Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide,Taiwan Managing Director
Tammy Cheng Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide,Taiwan Group Account Director
Teresa Liu Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide,Taiwan Planner
CJ Wang Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide,Taiwan Digital Influence Consultant
Milly Lin Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide,Taiwan Senior Account Executive
Nina Lin Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide,Taiwan Senior Account Executive