Mitsubishi Estate Group has launched Mitsubishi jisho to tsugi ni iko (Let’s go to the next level with Mitsubishi Estate), a new series of corporate advertisements. The series features actress Mitsuki Takahata in its first TV commercial entitled Kyoso (co-creation), with the goal of upstaging Mitsubishi jisho o mini iko (Let’s go see Mitsubishi Estate), which was aired for eight years from 2010.
The site for the commercial is TOKYO TORCH, which is scheduled to fully open in fiscal 2027. It was filmed at the construction site of Tokiwabashi Tower, scheduled to be completed at the end of June 2021.
We interviewed Ryo Uchikoshi and Mai Yokosaka of the Corporate Communications Department at Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd., who planned the new corporate advertisements. We asked them how the concept was conceived behind the scenes and their thoughts on the Kyoso episode. The following is the essence of their endeavor as corporate communications specialists.
・New series succeeds the “Let’s go see” series, which has expanded the company’s name recognition
・Mitsubishi Estate’s strengths as expressed in “Let’s go to the next level”: continuing to create the “future normal”
・Operational divisions and the corporate communications department are inextricably linked: the key is how to work in unison
・The secret for co-creation with operational divisions
・Asking employees to use their own words: the first step toward encouraging more employees to act like a corporate communications representative
The Corporate Communications Department, Rugby Marketing Office, and DX Promotion Department at Mitsubishi Estate
Uchikoshi joined Mitsubishi Estate in 2010. After handling tenant leasing of commercial facilities such as Mark Is Minato Mirai, he worked in the Office Leasing and Tenant Relations Department, where he was involved in tenant leasing of office buildings and owner relations for various properties. At the Corporate Communications Department, Uchikoshi is currently responsible for overall corporate branding and internal communications including for group companies.
The Corporate Communications Department and Rugby Marketing Office at Mitsubishi Estate
Since joining Mitsubishi Estate in 2017, Yokosaka has been working in the Corporate Communications Department, where she handles overall corporate branding and internal communication including for group companies and advertising work through sports sponsorship.
New series succeeds the “Let’s go see” series, which has expanded the company’s name recognition
–Have you ever run a series of corporate ads before?
Yokosaka: Our first corporate advertising series was the “Let’s go see Mitsubishi Estate” series, which began in 2010. We made commercials before that, but this was the first time we made a long-running series.
Real estate developers are not a familiar presence in many people’s lives. Our name cognition was not high among the public. The “Let’s go see” series ran for eight years and took viewers on a tour of various projects undertaken by the group, including commercial facilities, housing, and hotels. It was successful in familiarizing the group to the public and expanding the company’s name recognition.
After expanding the company’s name recognition, the next step was to enhance our image. In the second series entitled Atarashii nioi no suru machi (town with a new scent), we used dramas to illustrate how a new and flexible way of working is spreading in the Otemachi and Marunouchi districts, which had a stuffy image associated with large corporations.
–Both commercials left a strong impression on me. Why did you make another change?
Yokosaka: Each episode in the second series received a positive response, and I believe this contributed to improving our corporate brand. However, the “Let’s go see” series had left such a strong impression that we felt it was difficult to have people inside and outside the company associate Mitsubishi Estate with the “Town with a new scent” series. Therefore, we launched another series by improving “Let’s go see.” The goal was to make it easier for people both inside and outside the company to associate this series with Mitsubishi Estate, and convey a message that would have a strong impression.
–Does the timing of the new commercial have any significance?
Uchikoshi: We actually started preparations in 2019. We aimed to launch it in April 2020 in conjunction with the start of the group’s long-term management plan (long-term plan). However, it became difficult to foresee the social situation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we decided to reconsider the timing of the launch. Corporate advertising needs to be developed in light of social conditions. We were looking for the right timing for the new commercial to demonstrate our eagerness to lead society more actively than before.
We announced the renewal of our corporate advertising at the start of the group’s new fiscal year.
Mitsubishi Estate’s strengths as expressed in “Let’s go to the next level”: continuing to create the “future normal”
–What thought did you put into the “Let’s go to the next level” series?
Uchikoshi: Mitsubishi Estate Group has always been, and will continue to be, a company that realizes atarimae of the future (future normal) with all stakeholders in mind. We will continue to take on new challenges while always looking ahead.
In our long-term plan, we announced the strengths of our group as “ultra-long-term view on urban development” and “forward-looking DNA.” We wanted to create advertising copy that would convey this corporate stance.
–“Ultra-long-term perspective” has such a strong impact.
Uchikoshi: The management plan we announced was a long-term plan with a 10-year time span. Considering that most companies’ management plans are for the medium term (three to five years), you can see that the group is promoting its business from a really long-term perspective.
Otemachi Building, which houses collaborative offices Inspired.Lab FINOLAB, is already more than 60 years old. We will try to make it last 100 years by implementing large-scale renovations. As for Tokiwabashi Tower, where the commercial was shot, I remember that when I joined the company as a new graduate 11 years ago, my senpai (older colleagues) were already discussing its plan. Every project is undertaken with an eye toward decades ahead.
–The first commercial is entitled Kyoso (co-creation). Tell us what it means.
Yokosaka: Co-creation is another theme incorporated into the long-term plan. In the past, only major corporations gathered in Marunouchi. Today, however, it is also home to many start-ups. We use the word “co-creation” to describe the creation of new values through the mingling of various values.
This message is difficult to convey through advertising alone, but if people know we value co-creation, they will change how they view our business.
–What kind of co-creation will be carried out specifically?
Uchikoshi: This time, we also produced a radio commercial along with the TV commercial. Let me talk about the co-creation projects featured there.
For example, there is co-creation between Tokyo and regional districts. Tokyo Torch will be located in front of Tokyo Station, but it will bring together cultures and attractions from across Japan. They include Nishiki carp from Ojiya City in Niigata Prefecture, natural grass from Tsukuba City in Ibaraki Prefecture, and seasonal flowers from Susono City in Shizuoka Prefecture.
The other is co-creation between adults and children. This includes workshops for adults and children to discuss children’s dreams and Japan’s future. Based on the ideas and insights gained from such workshops, we will consider the future of urban development through vigorous debate with experts.
We will create various co-creation opportunities, not only between companies and companies, but also between regions and regions and between adults and children.
Operational divisions and the corporate communication department are inextricably linked: the key is how to work in unison
–You have undertaken various initiatives such as radio and television. What were the toughest challenges you faced?
Yokosaka: The most difficult time is right now. The commercial has been completed. However, it is important to ensure that the series becomes familiar within the company and that employees share our values.
–You are putting a lot of effort into spreading these values within the company.
Uchikoshi: We send a message outside, but operational divisions must embody that message. As such, I believe that operational divisions and the Corporate Communications Department are inextricably linked. We need to build relationships with members of the operational divisions so that we can have a shared understanding of the direction we want to take as a corporate group and the image we want to project. We need to have each member of the company act like a corporate communications representative.
We, too, will make efforts to embody this message, instead of merely sending it through the media.
–What specific initiatives will you be taking?
Yokosaka: In April, we launched “Let’s go to the next step with Mitsubishi Estate café” in the Marunouchi area for a limited time. Inside the café, we introduced Mitsubishi Estate Group’s various businesses and initiatives from a co-creation perspective, and offered a menu that would give visitors a sense of co-creation. For example, we served sake made from the rice harvested in a depopulated area in Yamanashi as part of our sustainability activities. We also used various ingredients procured directly from regional districts.
In addition to airing a commercial, we wanted to create an opportunity for people to experience our business from a co-creation perspective. We wanted to associate the message conveyed in the advertisement with our business. In the future, we will continue to consider various projects jointly with operational divisions in accordance with each theme.
–It is a unique approach to corporate communication.
Uchikoshi: Normally, events designed to revitalize a certain region, or various sustainability activities, would be handled by specialized sections within the company. However, by expanding the work of the Corporate Communications Department, I want to involve operational divisions and enhance internal collaboration.
–You have a very proactive approach to operational divisions. Is there a secret making it possible?
Yokosaka: As an advertising staff member of the Corporate Communications Department, I became strongly aware of the need to communicate with operational divisions after Uchikoshi-san was transferred here.
Uchikoshi: I had been in operational divisions since I joined the company. I was then transferred to the Corporate Communications Department in April 2019. What surprised me when I came here was that there were many initiatives within the company that I had not been aware of. I thought it would be a waste of resources unless we encourage more active internal communication and have each employee act like a corporate communications representative.
The secret for co-creation with operational divisions
–What efforts are you making to collaborate with operational divisions?
Uchikoshi: I often visit each operational division and group company and ask, “We’re trying to come up with something like this. Are there any opportunities for collaboration?” It may be a taken-for-granted and unglamorous endeavor. However, I now have people from operational divisions and group companies come to me and say, “We want to advertise our facilities. Do you have any logo or commercial data?”
Yokosaka: It was normal for employees to learn what is going on after the commercial is aired. Now, I feel they are more likely to publicize and discuss new initiatives at various facilities as soon as they are launched.
–Uchikoshi-san, you are from an operational division. Based on your background, is there anything you keep in mind when approaching operational divisions?
Uchikoshi: I try to be careful not to impose anything. I simply say that we have such and such initiatives and that we would like them to take advantage of them if there is an opportunity. I want them to become aware of what is going on and think about us in the future, even if they do not sign on right away.
If we had said, “We have these rules, so please follow them accordingly,” I do not think the operational side would have bothered to cooperate.
–What has been the reaction since the commercial began?
Yokosaka: Since the start of the commercial, many people within the company and the group have told us that they saw it. This time, as the first in a series, we made the commercial and graphics very impactful and creative so that people would know that a new series had begun. It seems the employees who saw it also felt that something new had begun.
In the past, our advertising focused mainly on the Kanto region. However, we have devised a way to run commercials nationwide within the same budget. We have received a very positive response from regional media outlets and branch offices. As we expand our business areas, we want to be more creative in where we advertise.
Asking employees to use their own words: the first step toward encouraging more employees to act like a corporate communications representative
–Do you have any advice for other companies’ corporate communications departments that want to collaborate with operational divisions?
Yokosaka: I think the key is to foster an awareness within the company that people in operational divisions are also responsible for external communication.
For this purpose, it would be useful to have employees first communicate their initiatives using internal communication tools such as internal newsletters, rather than have them suddenly communicate externally. Have employees first try to communicate their initiatives within the company and experience the reactions of those around them. Then, they would increase their understanding of how to communicate.
Uchikoshi: Recently, there are cases where companies release their newsletters or intranet content directly to the outside world. I think it is great that companies such as Mercari and Toyota are engaging in a new type of internal communication by sending out information both internally and externally and creating opportunities for individual employees to communicate using their own words.
In that sense, the efforts of the xTECH website are similar in some respects, and I really enjoy reading it because it features people from outside and inside the company.
Yokosaka: It is not unusual for me to discover the real intent behind various initiatives by reading an article on the xTECH website. This is also the case even in a situation where I thought I understood everything based on the company material. I think this is a very valuable opportunity, and always look forward to reading the articles.
These are just some examples, and I believe that more companies will start new styles of internal communication in the future.
・The company succeeded in increasing its name recognition by continuously developing the “Let’s go see” series of corporate advertisements.
・The company launched a new series, “Let’s go the next level with Mitsubishi Estate” with the aim of creating advertisements that are easily recognizable inside and outside the company and conveying a message that leaves a lasting impression.
・The initiative is designed to convey the message that the company is realizing the “future normal” and looking ahead and taking on new challenges
・Since each operational division is responsible for embodying this concept, it is necessary to build relationships that allow for a shared understanding and have each member act like a corporate communications representative.
・To have employees act like corporate communications representatives, it is effective to have them use internal communication tools such as internal newsletters to communicate their initiatives, rather than have them suddenly communicate to the outside world.