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2011 Vol.3
Koto Katari Marketing

What Urban General Merchandise Stores Need to Pursue in the Post-Earthquake Disaster Period


Reasons for stagnant consumption in Japan include not only demand contraction attributed to a slowdown in the real economy, but also a marked degree of concern and pessimism about the future. Against this backdrop, struggling companies in the distribution industry are unanimously advocating a shift in marketing from products to stories, through a communication effort which can be termed “koto katari marketing”(marketing based on storytelling).
The Great East Japan Earthquake has affected the lifestyle and values of many Japanese. Therefore, whether koto katari marketing pursued by existing distribution companies can respond to such changing values is being questioned. If it merely results in an increase in service-oriented retailers or in consumption activities like those supported by the 80s culture, it probably will not survive.
This paper provides an overview of concrete examples of koto katari marketing by department stores, which are urban merchandise stores, categorizes their efforts, and proposes an indicator that provides a criterion for assessment. More specifically, taking “koto” and “katari” to mean the value of message content and a communication method, respectively, this paper examines each in turn and then considers how urban merchandise stores should operate with koto katari marketing in the post-earthquake reconstruction period.