jerryking + cosplay   1

How business is capitalising on the millennial Instagram obsession
July 13, 2018 | Financial Times | Leo Lewis in Tokyo and Emma Jacobs in London 12 HOURS AGO.

Japan's 21st century’s burgeoning experience economy, which is being driven by millennial consumers and transforming the landscape for businesses everywhere. Japan is not only an innovator in this economy but is also seen as a bellwether for​​ the likely tastes of ​China and south-east Asia’s swelling middle-class consumers......it is not just the quality of the food that attracts crowds to these cafés, but also the quality of the encounter. “That is why the tables are made to wobble,” she explains. “It’s designed so that when you have your pancake in front of you, you can see how fuwa-fuwa it is by how much it jiggles on the plate when the table moves. It is extremely, extremely satisfying to watch,” she adds. “It is what makes it an experience.”.....In Mori’s opinion — a view evidently shared by the customers currently queueing in the stairwell — it is not just the quality of the food that attracts crowds to these cafés, but also the quality of the encounter. “That is why the tables are made to wobble,” she explains. “It’s designed so that when you have your pancake in front of you, you can see how fuwa-fuwa it is by how much it jiggles on the plate when the table moves. It is extremely, extremely satisfying to watch,” she adds. “It is what makes it an experience.”.......In their influential 1998 article “Welcome to the Experience Economy”, American consultants Joseph Pine and James Gilmore argued that a marketable experience occurs “when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event . . . ” These experiences were, they went on, “inherently personal, existing only in the mind of an individual who has been engaged on an emotional, physical, intellectual or even spiritual level”.

This was seen as the logical next step from the service economy, itself an evolution from the industrial economy and, prior to that, the agrarian economy....In Japan, notoriously long working hours have made time-poverty one of the defining features of the country’s leisure sector. The market has responded, over many decades, by refining and packaging experience in the most efficient, deliverable way......The millennial generation — and the growth of social media — has taken this economy in some unexpected directions. Instagram is to thank for the birth of “Oshapiku” — a compound of “oshare” (fancy) and “picnic”, where the emphasis is on meeting up, dressing up and engaging in the most photogenic picnic imaginable......“Experiences are king,” the consultancy McKinsey stated last year in a report arguing that, “in recent years, faced with the choice of buying a trendy designer jacket or a shiny new appliance or of attending a show, consumers increasingly opt for the show and, more broadly, for experiences with their friends and families.”.......Japan’s experience economy has evolved along two distinct avenues. On one side an already fully fledged leisure, dining and hospitality sector has sought ever more inventive ways of packaging experience — from hotels staffed by robots and limited-edition Shinkansen bullet trains fitted out with Hello Kitty decor to many of the country’s aquariums offering the opportunity to camp overnight surrounded by the relaxing pulsations of bioluminescent jellyfish.

The other side, says Mori, has to an extent developed as a branch of Japan’s “otaku” culture. This originally referred to the obsessive focus on particular areas of popular culture such as animation, video games or comics but is now more generally applied to a tendency to single-minded connoisseurship......“There are actually three sides to the experience economy in cosplay,” says Eri Nakashima, the manager of the Polka Polka second-hand cosplay costume store in central Tokyo. “There is the basic passion for becoming a different character from the one you are in everyday life; there is the participation in a community that shares that; and there is the creativity of making the costume perfect.”

This notion of community has become a pattern of growth for the experience economy. .......Shopping remains a huge draw for these tourists: the country’s retailers continue to thrive on the high average spending (£1,000) of middle-class visitors from China, Taiwan, Vietnam and elsewhere. But, by the end of 2017, when the government’s target was obliterated and 28 million tourists arrived during one year, it was clear that Japan’s long history of perfecting short, sharp experiential offerings — from onsen springs to pancakes — had won a new generation of admirers from overseas....Japan’s tendency towards connoisseurship — part of the reason that queueing for an experience is often regarded as a necessary ingredient to enjoyment — continues to be a powerful part of its appeal. The country’s manufacturers have long made a fetish of monozukuri — the quality of “thing-making” artisanship — to actively encourage people to own more stuff. But today the instinct to collect and accumulate things has, she says, been replaced by a desire to collect and accumulate experiences — and, in time-honoured Japanese fashion, to building ever larger libraries of images......Japanese companies Canon, Olympus, Konica, Minolta and Nikon were some of the most successful camera makers on the planet: the passion behind them was not just about the physical machinery but about a recognition that picture-taking dramatically enhances the consumption of experience....Insta-bae became not just a description of something you had seen but an explicit target to seek out. The experience economy, says Harada, is increasingly built around people going in search of experiences that are insta-bae.
bellwethers  cosplay  experiential_marketing  experience_economy  image-driven  Instagram  Japan  Japanese  millennials  obsessions  novelty  self-absorbed  visual_culture  connoisseurship  end_of_ownership  Joseph_Pine  James_Gilmore  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts 
july 2018 by jerryking

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