Staff Reporters
Sep 21, 2022

Women to Watch 2022: Kaori Yatsu, BBDO

Joining BBDO Japan a year after it was established, Yatsu has been successful in accumulating new business wins and producing global award-winning campaigns while contributing to building the culture of the agency.

Women to Watch 2022: Kaori Yatsu, BBDO
Celebrating outstanding talent in marcomms

Kaori Yatsu

Head of planning

Kaori Yatsu joined one-year-old BBDO Japan in 2016 as head of planning and has been leading the brand and communication strategy for clients ever since.

During her six years with BBDO, Yatsu has not only strengthened business relationships with existing clients, but has also contributed significantly to the acquisition of new global brands.

BBDO Japan achieved 115% over revenue growth year-on-year, and Yatsu has contributed significantly to that success. Firstly, by improving  the level of skill and reputation of the agency’s strategic planning, bringing BBDO's global tool called BBDOWORKS to Japan and ensuring its effective use, which has significantly improved the level of quality in the strategy development.

Yatsu and her team have also been conducting and updating consumers’ new value surveys, enabling BBDO Japan to give updated and scientific perspectives on current consumer insights. Using these proprietary and updated intelligences, the company positioned itself as a thought leader for existing and future clients on brand communications. These initiatives contributed to an 86% win rate in competitive new business pitches where the strategy part accounted for a very significant portion of the business.

As a leader, Yatsu has been committed to making BBDO Japan a more motivating place to work. In 2022, she took on the role of D&I officer in addition to being head of planning. The role sees her mentoring female employees across departments and facilitating networking to strengthen horizontal connections among employees who are often isolated by remote work. Her goal is not limited to gender equality, but also to build a workplace where people of diverse ages, nationalities and work styles can always be motivated to work.

On top of that, Yatsu serves as a mentor for the Marketer Career Association (MCA), a general incorporated association that supports careers of marketers. In that activity, she has participated as an advisor in a marketing course for professionals, which was created in cooperation with Waseda University, and has also been involved in supporting job-hunting activities that connect students who wish to work as marketers with the human resource departments of companies looking to hire those students.

Since 2011, as a planning director, she has led strategies for various global and domestic brands, including the development and launch of Walmart Japan's first original private brand including its strategy and concept. The campaign received the Good Design Award for excellence in marketing strategy, one of the most prestigious awards in Japan in that field.

Celebrating outstanding talent in marcomms


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