LINE’s active number of users exceeded 37,000,000 domestically in December 2012. Japan’s total population is 126,650,000. It seems like a future where 1 out of 3 people in Japan will be on LINE is just around the corner. More than half of the user base is aged 10 – 20 years old. It is more popular in cities, however the user base spreads across the entire country. Based on this information, Lawson uses LINE as an O2O (Online to online) media tool, reaching out to the young generations.
In Japan it’s important that your business mascot can gets known. In July 2012 Lawson started to offer free original illustrated stamps (like emoticons) that users can send each other when messaging among friends. They used the Lawson Crew mascot, Akiko-chan. Before Lawson opened its business account on LINE, Nikkei Digital did a study on Social Media company mascot awareness and Akiko-chan shined at Number 1, the best known mascot in Japan. However only 20% of the entire group knew the mascot. LINE stamp strategy is working well and awareness of Akiko-chan is now improving.
So why is it so important to raise awareness of official mascots like Akiko-chan? “Popularity of your official mascot really attracts interesting collaborations from other corporations”, Akiko (The name of the campaign creator, not the mascot!) explains. Success you build in B2C by inventing an official mascot actually leads to success stories in B2B. Many opportunities that can be created because Lawson has Akiko-chan. For example, Akiko-chan made possible a collaboration with the Japan’s all time favourite singer Namie Amuro (Amuro-chan) on Lawson’s Facebook page.
Kana & The JAPAN BUZZ Team