Suntory U.S. Storytelling Platform
How might we create a platform that exports an Asian CPG company’s philosophy to key U.S. audiences?
Suntory U.S. Storytelling Platform How might we create a platform that exports an Asian CPG company’s philosophy to key U.S. audiences? Go to Suntory U.S. Website The Challenge For over 100 years, Suntory has evolved from a single family-owned store in Osaka to one of the world’s leading beverage companies, all while treasuring its heritage of artisanship, embracing global tastes and promoting sustainability as a foundational pillar of their business. While the brand has a strong following in Japan and other regions of the world, awareness was limited in the U.S. market following the brand’s acquisition of Jim Beam in 2014. Suntory wanted to establish new channels for introducing their brand story and its corporate philosophy to U.S. audiences. They aspired to build a strong community of like-minded enthusiasts who share their values of perpetually doing, creating and sharing that which is good.
Suntory is the largest Japanese beverage company and has focused on building a solid foundation in preparation for its entry into the U.S. since 2016. As a global CPG company made up of distinct business units, Suntory sought support in the establishment of the corporate company brand in the U.S. and assistance in ongoing brand building. In an effort to define its overarching brand theme, “Follow Your Nature”, to support core branding strategies and successfully engage with U.S. audience by brining Suntory’s corporate philosophy to life, creative has been essential to the development of Suntory. In particular, the development of a U.S. website to aggregate Suntory’s core brand messages and existing assets and opportunities to develop media relationships was one of the core tactics to be accomplished.
How could Suntory export its philosophy to the U.S. credibly, in a way that resonates and makes a strong initial impression? Suntory has a legacy and promise of doing, crafting and sharing good as well as its unique values – Quality & Craftsmanship, Yatte Minahare and Coexistence. Most importantly, humanity is at the center of everything Suntory does.Coca-
Cola is one of the largest beverage brands on the planet, but its corporate voice rarely mentions beverages to consumers. It is more dedicated to the happiness that the beverage brings to consumers. The focus of the website had to be on powerful storytelling, eliminating redundancy. The U.S. website must help the U.S. audience understand and engage with the core values on an emotional level.
Through field trip to Japan to better understand its business and needs, we identify ways to introduce the brand digitally, engaging cultured fans and product enthusiasts in a meaningful ongoing conversation. The U.S. specific platform, branded journalism and original video programming was central to our creative strategy, as a means to build and sustain audience interest via a curated storytelling platform. This platform was designed to emphasize three core components of the Suntory corporate brand in the U.S. — Quality and Craftsmanship, “Yatte Minahare” and Coexistence.
With three overarching themes as our guidepost, we set out to identify the storylines and information architecture that would be the most impactful and resonate with our targeted customers. Utilizing audience data and engagement analysis, we identified three millennial audience segments to target:
We planned to achieve this through a creation and design of Suntory’s U.S. microsite to build awareness and engagement with online communities. The U.S. microsite is being regularly updated – particularly the News Studio section – by sharing updates about company news to serve as an additional touchpoint with audiences. This comprehensive approach to branded content, informed by audience research and data, has fueled significant increases in engagement on Suntory channels.
Based on the insights addressed above, the design process began with developing a set of annotated wireframes for both mobile and desktop. The process included developing a sitemap to organize the corporate narrative and values in a user-friendly format.
To move forward by capturing emotional elements which were key to the new website, the quick initial prototype with basic interactive functionalities was created with Adobe Muse to clearly communicate the vision in an emotional level. Based on the vision and design direction shared through the rapid interactive prototypes, the entire team quickly aligned with the overall goals and vision for refinement. Through iterative participatory design process, a couple of co-building workshops was conducted to successfully incorporate design, functionality, photography and user experience feedback.
The new website has received high praise from both internal and external stakeholders, who have recognized it as building a solid foundation in preparation for Suntory’s entry into the U.S. market. Moreover, since its successful launch in November 2016, the U.S. microsite has become a main platform for sharing Suntory U.S.’s core values and most recent news, building awareness and engagement with relevant media channels, influencers and online communities. As a defining achievement of this success, Suntory senior leadership in Japan selected the U.S. microsite as the benchmark for the re- design of its global website. More importantly, the Suntory Vietnam microsite – which followed the direction of the U.S. microsite won the W3 Gold Award.
Suntory Global Website
Suntory Vietnam Website