CategoryB05. Self Promotion
Advertising Agency EAT CREATIVE Tokyo, JAPAN

Brief Explanation

As any foreign firm that has tried to break into the Japanese market would likely attest, there are many unique characteristics to business practice and media culture that can prove extremely difficult for outsiders to grasp. Back in the 1980s, the agency was receiving numerous requests from multinational clients for an English-language guide to PR in Japan that would explain the situation clearly. The first edition of “Communicating: A Guide to PR in Japan” was subsequently published by the agency in 1988, and over multiple revised editions since, it remains the only English-language publication that explores public relations in Japan.

The Brief

The publisher is Japan’s leading PR agency founded in 1961. It handles a diverse range of domestic and international clients, from government organizations to multinational corporations in numerous fields, including 50 Fortune Global 500 firms. This varied and extensive experience, coupled with a thorough understanding of how Japan’s powerful media functions, place the agency in the ideal position to provide valuable insights into effectively communicating in Japan, from a neutral, PR-focused perspective. As such, it receives many inquiries from foreign clients anxious or inquisitive about the peculiarities of the Japanese market.

How the final design was conceived

In March 2014, the in-house multi-national editing team convened to discuss revising “Communicating”, to publish the seventh edition in October. This latest update was to be one of the most extensive yet, reflecting the many changes in the Japanese media landscape since the sixth edition in 2007. New case studies gathered from foreign corporations in Japan were included, along with recent market trends and regulation changes affecting PR practices in Japan. Alongside the written content, a new emphasis was placed on the look of the guide, incorporating cover design, typography, and paper quality. The bold typography on the cover dividing the word COM-MUNI-CAT-ING into four, ignoring syllables, reflects the content by implying an approach to communications that doesn’t follow Western rules. The use of matte and uncoated paper stock, sans serif font and white space with limited use of red and silver accents conveys a Japanese design aesthetic – both visually and texturally. A simple layout makes it easy to read. Keeping the font variations and sizes to a minimum, using equal word spacing and simplifying the graphic elements enables the hierarchy of the content to be clearly visible and a large amount of information easily accessible.

Indication of how successful the outcome was in the market

The guide has been extremely well-received since being published in October 2014. Not produced for commercial sale, it is instead provided free of charge to existing and potential clients and partners. Initially, 800 copies were printed, with 400 of these having already been distributed on request as of February 2015, despite being written in a foreign language in a country where English is not commonly spoken. The reputation of the guide has spread to the extent that even some rival agencies, and Japan’s largest bookstore chain/publisher Kinokuniya, have requested copies. In Japanese companies also, it is a valued resource for growing numbers of non-Japanese staff and native PR managers who use it to explain matters to their non-Japanese superiors. Paul Holmes, publisher of the Holmes Report, the leading PR trade media, says it “serves as a great guidebook for anyone entering the Japanese market…and anyone managing PR (in Japan).” Meanwhile, Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, USA, commented on the book ” every marketing professional should have a copy on hand! It is bound to be an award winning book and the subject of conversations at meetings and work.”


Name Company Position
Kyoko Fujii Takagi Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Editor-in-chief
David James Vickers Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Editor
Kei Timothy Yoshida Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Editor
Timothy Cooper Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Editor
Kensuke Manaka Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Editor
Mariko Takasu Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Editor
Russel McCulloch Advisor
Ayako Chujo Eat Creative Project Manager
Alex Sonderegger Eat Creative Art Director