August 6, 2009

Kaizen and Advertising Agencies

"Kaizen" ("improvement" in Japanese) is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvements throughout all one's life. Japanese companies have applied this philosophy to the workplace, where they continually search for improvements in all aspects of their business practices. The emphasis is on small continuous changes with monitoring feedback and adjustments as opposed to large-scale overhauls. Up until recently, most of these improvements have focused on manufacturing and related processes. However, they might well be ready to move into the marketing and advertising area, and American marketers should take note. Toyota just announced that it is creating two internal marketing companies to start focusing on both its Japanese and worldwide advertising efforts. Their goal is not just to save money by bringing advertising and PR functions in-house; rather, they want the kaizen culture imbued in their entire marketing efforts, and they believe they can better do this in-house. This might be a preface to bringing in-house their more than