A New Yorker’s View of Tokyo:
This February, the Tokyo and New York offices of the Air Aroma Group engaged in a staff exchange in which staff members from opposite sides of the world swapped office desks for a week. Japanese staffer Yumi braced for subzero temperatures here in New York, while Rachel was welcomed by the Japan team to a relatively warmer Tokyo.
With customers in over 80 countries, our offices around the world are constantly abuzz with conversation, emails pinging back and forth and frequent Skype meetings on the calendar. But how does New York differ from Tokyo in office culture, staff activity and marketing styles?
Rachel shared some of her insights with the company last week:
Q: What was your idea of Japan before your visit?
Rachel: To be completely honest, Japan had never been some place I was very educated about. I definitely didn’t realize how big the city is.
Q: How has the week in Tokyo changed that idea, if at all?
R: This week has completely changed my view of Japan. I didn’t realize the sense of community the people here experience. Also, your subways are bigger and more efficient (than New York City), you often eat family style, do not use napkins, and there is a sense of safety everywhere at all hours of the day.
Q: Did you notice any differences in how scent marketing is implemented in the US versus Japan?
R: In the US we focus a lot of attention on the brand story and how we can implement a fragrance that reflects the company’s values. In Japan I’ve noticed customers are focused on factual data when choosing a fragrance, as opposed to how it reflects their brand.
We are the same company working towards the same goals, but each office has adapted to the local market to properly implement scent marketing in our countries.
Q: What are your takeaways (if any) from seeing the Air Aroma Japan staff at work?
R: This stems back to my understanding of the small community. The Air Aroma Japan staff is always hard at work, out of the office, meeting with clients. They work diligently to develop strong personal relationships with their possible customers. In the United States we work to develop relationships with our customers as well, but it’s not always possible to do in person due to the size of the country and market.
Q: How do you (or Air Aroma) work with, if at all, the other human senses (sight, sound, touch, taste) when creating and marketing scents?
R: The US office mainly focuses on the sense of sight when figuring out the appropriate scent for a project. Often we are discussing décor, as a fragrance should not clash with the visual space. For example, a space with yellow walls would consider fresh citrus fragrances. Alternatively, we would not recommend Cinnamon Apple in a space with purple walls.
Q: Do you feel New Yorkers are very sensitive to scents?
R: New Yorkers are very fast moving people. I do not think they necessarily realize when they notice a pleasant scent. It is more of an addition of a subconscious message. However, I believe New Yorkers definitely notice bad smells in places like the subways! I think this can be tied back to how a smell can affect the experience. A negative scent can hinder an experience, however, a pleasant scent can be neutral or positive.
Q: What are your personal favorite Air Aroma scents?
R: My favorite fragrance is Zesty White Tea. It is simple yet complex. The fragrance has a white tea base, which makes the fragrance sweet, but there are added notes of citrus that make the fragrance uplifting.
The exchange succeeded in strengthening the Air Aroma international brand. It was a great experience for our offices to embrace our similarities and differences. Thanks to Rachel, Yumi, and the entire Air Aroma team for a terrific exchange and learning experience!