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Corporate Communication over Sustainability in Japan

Data of Nikkei Research's Brand Strategy Survey revealed some notable Japanese companies' current status regarding their communications over sustainability.

Toyota Motor Corporation was seen as the top company carrying out SDGs related activities. The results show that near half of people recognize Toyota's SDGs activities.

Others in the top 10 were, Starbucks Coffee, Honda, Suntory, Nissan, Sony Group, UNIQLO, Panasonic, Hitachi, and Kao.


By gaining awareness of SDGs initiatives, it will induce a positive effect on the brand's penetration and create loyalty. For example, "empathy to the company's attitude, activities, and mindset" showed a large gap between the people who are aware of the brand's activities and those who are unware.

It was also discovered that depending on whether a person is aware of the activities or not, certain perceptions toward the company differ greatly. Recognition of the brand's SDGs related activities enhances further beyond just popularity (name recognition) but also perceptions such as "reliable," "outstanding technology and know-how."

To spread recognition and understanding of SDGs related activities, we believe the following three are important upon communicating; (1) touchpoints, (2) target, and (3) content.

Touchpoints differ by company to company and it can be said as a characteristic of each brand. For example, Toyota have "TV/radio commercials," "purchase/use," and "online news articles" as their top channels of creating awareness. On the other hand, Starbucks Coffee Japan have "purchase/use" and "in-store" as their main connection, while also relatively strong with "social media". Suntory have a balanced media mix of "purchase/use," "commercials," and "in-store."

The results also indicate that target and content is a set. To cultivate good understandings of the brand's SDGs related initiatives, detailed information is necessary but to have people digest that content fully, it is critical to target specific level and experienced professionals, rather than general employees or consumers.

Approaching to industry leaders or people who are involved in SDGs initiatives is essential, otherwise you will not have a good and correct understandings of your activities. Also, it will be efficient for faster penetration.

With our capability to access Nikkei subscribers -- 10 million members who have registered for the Nikkei Group's services -- we can reach out to high-profile professionals who have high literacy regarding sustainability issues. Nearly two thirds of them are managers or higher level, and half of them work in large enterprises (more than 1,000 employees). They are very much familiar in terms such as "SDGs," "ESG," and "carbon neutral," where many are engaging in or related to sustainability and other business within their company.

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