Product / ServiceCONCUR EXPENSE
CategoryA06. Financial Products & Services, Commercial Public Services, B2B Products & Services


Name Company Position
Masamune Mimura Concur Japan, Ltd. President & CEO
Taku Kakino Concur Japan, Ltd. Marketing Director
Hiroaki Funakoshi Concur Japan, Ltd. Director, Strategic Initiatives
Takashi Inoue Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Chairman & CEO
Takanori Suzuki Inoue Public Relations, Inc. President & COO
Reona Onoue Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Operating Officer, Client Relations
Kazuaki Yokota Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Director, Strategic Planning Group
Stuart Baker Inoue Public Relations, Inc. SVP, Client Services
Fukutaro Senoo Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Account Executive
Kenta Ogasawara Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Assistant Account Executive
Jeanett Thomsen Inoue Public Relations, Inc. International Account Coordinator
Toshiaki Matsumura Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Designer
Nanami Shimura Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Ass't Account Executive
Hiromi Taga Inoue Public Relations, Inc. Ass't Account Executive
Chika Ando Concur Japan, Ltd. PR Manager

The Campaign

To instigate change in Japan’s outdated regulations, we realized we needed to work simultaneously on many fronts. Not only did we need the support of relevant associations, but also competitors. One industry association we reached out to, representing multi-function printer manufacturers, was concerned that deregulation would negatively impact demand for paper used in receipts. We patiently pitched the mutual benefits of a cloud-based expense management solution and encouraged their shift from paper to digital. As swift unified action was required, we also invited competitors to participate in the campaign to foster a new market, rather than merely seeking Concur Japan’s growth. Furthermore, to reach out to a wider audience, we issued an April Fools’ press release that went viral on Facebook. The prank claimed Concur had built a biomass power generation plant to burn huge volumes of soon-to-be-unnecessary paper receipts. This helped push public opinion in support of the campaign.


(See attached Timeline) We created a comprehensive, fact and figure-based Information Kit; interviewed and collected case studies from companies encumbered by existing regulations; surveyed CFOs with the Japan CFO Association and built relationships with affected companies and associations; securing full support for Concur’s campaign. We leaked progress reports to journalists and the final results to The Nikkei ahead of the official press release; collaborated with Concur’s US headquarters and global offices, organizing media seminars on deregulation; arranged interviews and gained feature coverage. We repeatedly briefed government officials, including Ministry of Finance, National Tax Agency and senior representatives of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI); met with the Vice President of the incumbent Liberal Democratic Party, a key figure on the Tax Research Panel and surveyed other influential administration members. Once they decided to back deregulation, Concur held lectures to assist in drafting guidelines; ensuring the desired deregulation outcomes.

•December 2015: The administration in effect authorizes deregulation with the announcement of its Outline of Tax Reform Proposals, which includes granting mobile snapshots of receipts the same validity as originals. In September 2016, revision of the eDocumentation Law brings about deregulation. •Exposure in print and broadcast media more than quintupled compared to before the launch of our program pitching deregulation •The market and customers both welcome deregulation, with Concur Japan receiving 2.5 times more inquiries from interested prospects. This leads Concur Japan’s 2016 sales to grow by 150% YoY •Competitors also released products taking advantages of the loosened rules, sparking new activity and growing the whole segment. According to ITR, the expense management market will grow by 48.5% between 2015 and 2019. •The efforts of Concur Japan, a Japanese subsidiary of a foreign company (with only 80 employees) to drive the deregulation process became itself the focus of intense media interest, resulting in publication of the story in a book for PR professionals. •The program, by associating deregulation and better expense management processes, also fostered a new awareness that expense management should be a strategic management priority. •The cloud-based expense management solutions market is forecast to grow 80-fold by 2025. Concur’s share is estimated at more than 55% in 2020. •Within government, these changes are positioned as successful instances of deregulation and, as such, are having positive implications for other policies and deregulatory efforts.

The Situation

“Karoshi”, literally “death from overwork”, is a serious social problem in Japan linked to long working hours. The root cause of this endemic may be tied to rigid government regulations mandating inefficient paper-based expense management. Concur, the leading provider of cloud-based expense management solutions, challenged these laws through a successful deregulation campaign combining Association, Customer, Media, Competitor and Government Relations. Deregulation has eliminated requirements for workers to manually submit paper receipts, and for companies to store original copies for 7 years. Furthermore, Concur effectively created a new, cloud-based expense management market in Japan, saving Japanese businesses $9 billion annually.

The Strategy

Target audiences and strategies to reach them: Government, relevant authorities: Campaigned for bills to be drafted and passed by the Diet to realize deregulation. Passing of the bill would help reduce tax administration costs, increase tax revenues by improving corporate profitability, and result in better cost competitiveness for Japanese corporations. The media: Japanese journalists demand facts and figures. Our approach was to quantify the negative effects of traditional expense and receipt management processes. Our main targets were The Nikkei, Japan’s most influential business daily, and key TV broadcasters as molders of public opinion. Professional and industry associations: Instead of making it a solo initiative, Concur Japan worked with these bodies to ensure they would function as influencers that would lobby the Administration. Corporate Japan: Sought their cooperation through endorsements, news reporting, and case-study research. Business people: Why do busywork associated with paper receipts when you can report your expenses electronically.


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