During 2007, you can only find an outlet in Texport Imabari, Imabari-shi Ehime-ken that towels made by members of STICA were sold. There once had a guerrilla outlet in Ginza of Tokyo from 2003 till 2006. STICA could barely operate the outlet because they paid too much attention to the profit.In Mr. Kashiwa Sato’s mind, they were just selling products at that time, but not the brand itself. Alright, the Imabari Towel brand had not been built yet. They did not possess a basic strategy of branding yet. Since they have much individual brands and each brand had much different types and colours of towels. So you can imagine the shop would be like a 100-yen store. Mr. Sato proposed that they must operate a long-term outlet of in Tokyo, as well as sell only all kinds of white towels strategically. Why not white? Mr. Sato believed only white towels would show its purity, comfort and high quality. Undoubtedly, as a renowned art director, he has already foreseen the route of holistic branding and aesthetic image of retail outlet. Of course, there were much members objecting the suggestion of commence an outlet in Tokyo and selling one colour of towels only. I will talk about this later.
Kashiwa Sato’s Strategy of Branding : :
Strategic Image Control = ( Exclusive Outlet X Best Location ) + ( White Towels X All ITIA Members )
Great branding leads to direct and indirect results. In the first month of the launch of their brand mark, the online sale has achieved an all-time highest record of 10 million JPY (91,936 USD). Further on, the number of outlets in Tokyo was increased from none to three — Mitsukoshi department store, official gift shop in The National Art Center and Isetan Shinjuku department store.
Imabari Towel was aggressively participating various houseware trade shows. In November 2007, they participated the IFFT interiorlifestyle living Trade Show. Representative of Isetan Shinjuku contacted them a month later. Isetan requested sole merchandises collaborating with Imabari Towel which are sold in a shop-in-shop store of Isetan Shinjuku. Isetan knew the branding was fabricated by Mr. Kashiwa Sato. A further request was the design of towels must be also finished by Mr. Sato.
Brand Identity of Colour of Imabari Towel, Japan ::
“Red”, “Blue” and “White”
Brand Identity of Imabari Towel, Japan ::
WHITE = Color with pureness symbolizing kindness, serenity, cleanness, cloudless, healing, sincerity and soft and tender love;
“White” represents the expanse symbolizing the eternal potential.
Though Mr. Sato has never designed towels before, he initially hesitated a fraction of a second. He was convinced that no matter how difficult to manufacture his design is, Imabair towel maker can accomplish it. He finally designed eight pieces of white towel, and let every maker pitch for the right of production of each design. The role of judge and assessor went to Mr. Kashiwa Sato and representatives from Isetan. This “Isetan X Kashiwa Sato X Imabari Towel” project underwent a huge success both in reputation and sale; yet one designer’s towel was selling at 10,000 JPY (92 USD). Merely, Sato’s design is already an unique selling point.
The success of selling all white towel help Mr. Sato to sell through his insistency.
- Part 1: Competitive Edge over Low Pricing Towels, 15/4/2017
- Part 2: From Fundamental Brand Values to Identities, 22/4/2017
- Part 3: Brand-mark as Anti-bogusness and Endorsement, 6/5/2017
- Part 4: The Power of Designed White, 13/5/2017
- Part 5
- Part 6