It’s one year since the entrance into force of the economic partnership agreement between
Europe and Japan (February 1st, 2019), which has led to greater liberalism in the relations between these two important economic realities, bringing them closer than ever.
The agreement removed import-export duties, reducing the economic impact on Italian companies and Japanese consumers.

Japan can now buy made in Italy goods such as pasta, tomato sauce, wine, industrial products, and leather goods without the previous surcharges. There is no longer a limit in the number of imported products and moreover, more than 45 indications of Italian geographic origin are now recognized by the country of the Rising Sun, becoming a relevant ally in the fight against counterfeiting. According to the estimates of the European Commission, thanks to the elimination of the duties, the Union's agri-food exports could increase by 36 billion.

How does this impact the marketing approach of organizations and specifically digital marketing?

First of all, being able to sell the goods at a lower price, direct marketing can be much more effective and profitable than ever before. Selling Italian products on e-commerce is now simpler, especially if managed with a great storytelling strategy. As it’s probably well known, the percentage of Japanese users on digital platforms is constantly growing: currently, it’s more than 60% of the population, most of them on social media.
Referrals are on top of social media marketing strategies, users tend to “trust” much more the products purchased and sponsored by influencers, therefore, choosing the most suitable personalities to represent your products in reference to the target, becomes a very important part of the digital communication strategy. Incorporating storytelling elements into the  Influencer Marketing strategy will always have a greater impact than publishing a product with a captivating copy.

Furthermore, the digital – human experience is key in terms of communication; users become more emotionally involved in the possibility of trying or doing something new. In Japan, campaigns that use storytelling methods have generally seen an increase in involvement and interest from the public. Buying a Made in Italy product becomes more accessible and it almost feels like a journey, discovering the flavors and colors of a distant country much loved by Eastern society.

It is essential to select the available media and choose the most suitable channels for the target audience: as regards the food sector, Cookpad is a Japanese social media used by millions of users and based on sharing recipes. Attracting users to platforms that are already used, creating engaging content, is more efficient than attracting them to a new company website, that requires a greater effort in terms of positioning through SEO, SEM, Digital PR, and Syndication.

Moreover, the use of social networks allows companies to establish an active dialogue with the users, also due to the sharing of user-generated content, created while experiencing the service of the good.

Finally, the recommended choice to spread the wide culture of Made in Italy is always to adopt a media mix, that is the use of different channels both online and offline, directly contact, when possible, with Japanese distributors, depending on the type of content that one needs to communicate.

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