Leopalace 21 (henceforth Leopalace), a Tokyo-based property development and rental company, is putting its faith in crowdsourcing as a means of building its brand and growing its business internationally.
The company is supporting a government initiative that connects schools and universities with businesses to encourage foreign students to spend time working and learning at Japanese companies in Japan, and outbound Japanese students looking to gain work experience outside their home country. In so doing, it stands to tap into a large pool of potential tenants while strengthening ties with companies across different industries. Leopalace operates in markets including China, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines, and is planning to expand further next year.
How to reach an entire generation that has little to no interest in TV is a challenge many Japanese companies face. The problem is significant enough at home, but becomes even more daunting when looking further afield. To tackle it, Leopalace is running a five-week competition aimed at students around the world via eYeka, a platform that invites creators among the general public to develop solutions to brands’ briefs.
The brief in this case is deceptively simple: students are invited to create a video telling the story of how life can change after moving into your own studio apartment for the first time. “One of your biggest milestones in life is when you move out of your parents’ home and start living by yourself,” reads the promotional copy. “There are some challenges ahead, but moving out of home can be a terrific opportunity for personal growth and to develop a sense of independence.”
ADK is managing the project in collaboration with Quark Tokyo, an independent agency. With anything crowdsourced, the results are likely to vary dramatically. But Tatsuya Sasaki, executive officer of Leopalace’s, believes it’s the best strategy because it engages people who are likely to be closest to the target audience, or even part of the audience. Sasaki said Leopalace sees giving people free rein to create content around a universal theme as a better strategy than promoting its own competitive edge. “Rather than looking into details, we wanted to take a holistic view of the business,” he explained. He added that making the contest international increases the chance of receiving good or unexpected ideas.
This project marks the second time for Leopalace to use eYeka’s crowdsourcing for its marketing. The previous time, Led by Masaya Haraguchi, ADK and Quark gave seminars at a number of schools in Japan (Leopalace clients) to explain the concept of eYeka and the project. They returned once the contest had ended to explain the evaluation process, which Nakamura sees as adding to the overall level of engagement between the Leopalace brand and students.
In more general terms, Ambba Kuthiala, eYeka’s regional managing director, suggested that putting an idea out to an audience of international creators can help Japanese brands break away from formulaic work “in a safe and undifferentiated environment”.
“Having said that, there is a lot of value in writing local insights into the business brief as it provides a good filter for the community to make sure their ideas are relevant yet fresh,” she advised.
Corrects name in fifth paragraph
This article first appeared on Campaign Japan: 消費者が制作するレオパレス21の広告