The Japanese market is far more sophisticated than that.
Japanese surfers are far more sophisticated than their US counterparts. Japanese surfers are far more sophisticated gearwise than American surfers.
They have pure respect for our shapers. They fly them in put them up buy them their meals and pay top dollar for the blanks they shape while there. And the lucky shapers that have these deals go 4+ times a year. That's love.
Plus the more underground you appear the more they want.
I have nothing but respect for the Japanese surfers.
Underground here means untouchable.
Mark, by more sophisticated than "that", do you mean more sophisticated than the way I described it or the way Silly thinks they might change to?
Because I don't think there was anything unsophisticated about how I described their surfboard market (taken from my years living and surfing there and interactions with the surf shops and magazines there). But if there was something you feel was inaccurate about how I characterized it, I'd be interested to hear about it. BTW, I'm not sure I agree with your statement about being underground. Your, basically contradictory, statement on the famous shapers being flown in jives with my experience though.
"the definition of "proper" is largely determined by what the "pros" are using."
"The need to have the "proper" equipment and clothing for any activity is a halmark of Japanese culture. For "sporting goods", the definition of "proper" is largely determined by what the "pros" are using."
That is what you said. Now I've never been there, but
my experience marketing a new product there was that underground connected with a big name sells. I stumbled on this combination, but the owners of another fin company confirmed it for me. Underground translates to the absolute latest undiscovered thing. They don't scoff at something new if it's been endorsed. And if you have a world champ to endorse it bingo. Their market conscioousness is far greater than just what Kelly rides. Though KGrip sells big there, so did MVGs till the bubble burst.
What about their wetsuits? How does that fit the endorsee model?
Ah, what do I know, I never lived there.
This is too heavy for me.
Now I've never been there, but my experience marketing a new product there was that underground connected with a big name sells.
I think we discovered where our minor disagreement arises from: If a big name is connected to something, I don't consider it underground. If it has a big name attached to it, I agree that the Japanese will buy it. That's what I said initially.
Oh yeah, I'm big time.
You must be smoking crack.
Disagreeing with me using your opinion based on a guess against v my personal marketing experence is pure nonsense.
You're just guessing and no money at risk behind what you say.
Get back to me after you try and penetrate the Japanese surf market with your own original idea and marketing plan. With some succcess.
You're just annoying me.
Dude, no disrespct, but didn't you say you haven't even been there? That doesn't mean you are automatically wrong of course, but you should at least be a little more open to the possibility that you don't have it all figured out quite yet based on marketing just one product there. I also wonder if you speak the language or if all your experience has been through mediators or in English. This will make a big difference.
What makes you think I've based my views on a guess? Nothing could be further from the truth.
To give you some idea of where I'm coming from, I spent most of the 90s living/working/surfing in Japan, my wife is Japanese, I visit regularly and still conduct business there (recent trip was on skateboard distribution/marketing for one of my side projects: http://dangersticks.com).
While living there I published a music and art magazine in Tokyo (and wrote for other Japanese and American magazines), played in several 'underground' bands, produced and promoted a few music albums of our and other Japanese bands' music. I know several surf shop owners, knew a Brazillian that published a surf magazine there, have met several pro surfers based in Japan (some Japanese, some Brazilian), and had the pleasure of meeting and getting advice on surf industry marketing from one of Japanese earliest surfers and the founder of its first ever surf shop.
I have done marketing for several products and services both while living in Japan and for the Japanese market after I returned here to California, worked for a Japanese-owned/managed internet startup building products for that market, have done several packaging design projects for the Japanese market, have localized websites for that market, done market research projects for Motorola on the Japanese cellphone market (including extensive testing of how the typical marketing phases here in the USA of innovator, early adopter, early majority, late majority, and late comers differs in Japan in regards to the percentage of sales and shape of the bell curve produced: directly related to what we are talking about here).
Oh, and for what it is worth, I am more or less fluent in Japanese (it's our language at home).
In other words, I'm not talking out of my ass like you seem to assume, and I'm not basing my views on a single experience, but on the last 15 years of business done in and with Japan. Perhaps I should have given my credentials up front (though my profile does in fact list "Designer, Skateboard company owner, Japanese business consultant"). Or perhaps you shouldn't have assumed I'm just guessing or that I'm smoking crack.
Either way, there is no need to get all excited about it. We should just post our experience and views and let people take it for what they want.
"You must be smoking crack." Please check any personal attacks related to drug use, etc. at the door. Thanks!
Underground translates to the absolute latest undiscovered thing. They don't scoff at something new if it's been endorsed.
BTW, this above is very accurate. The only thing I disagree about is that something can be both "underground" and "endorsed". Without the endorsement, you will have a very hard time getting anything shockingly new adopted by the Japanese market. They are much less adventurous when it comes to trying new products or wanting to be ahead of the curve than the U.S./European market. They need that extra push of the product being popular in the usa/australia/europe first to get them to try it. Then they don't mind being the first in Japan to try it, sure: that would make them cool. But they aren't open to the risk of being the first in the world to try a new product. (exception: technology products, especially those specific to Japanese lifestyle)
So my advice (normally I charge for this stuff! ha!) to anyone marketing surf/skate gear in Japan is to wait until your product is well received elsewhere, or you have pros using it, before you tackle Japan.
I can't help it if I know something you don't know.
Maybe I should charge for that useful information. Whatever your rate is mine is double. No triple.
Better yet, you don't have my permission to use my information.
As far as you are concerned endorsement automatically means big time.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.