5 Successful Localisation Tactics That You Can Learn from Kit Kat in Japan

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Kit Kat is a well-known brand around the world. However, in Japan, Nestlé has taken its marketing and branding of Kit Kat to a different level.

When you walk into the Kit Kat flagship store in the heart of Tokyo, you are surrounded by a broad selection of Kit Kat products—with all kinds of different flavours. At first sight, the shop and its products could be in any part of the world. The style of the product packaging is very Western-looking, and with a few exceptions, the selection of flavours is also very cosmopolitan. But talk to the assistant, and you will be surprised to find out that all the displayed products are available only in Japan!

Why in Japan? What makes Nestlé focus so intensively on the Japanese market? And if it works so well, what can you learn from them?

Below we have collected five of the most important tactics that make Kit Kat so successful in Japan.

#1 Harness the power of universal design

There are endless differences between people of different ages, cultural backgrounds, and nations etc. But we all share one thing: basic human nature. We all have the same basic needs and feelings. Universal design was created to find the simplest way to convey a message to the largest possible number of people. Kit Kat applies universal design to its chocolate packaging by using large images that are easy to understand for everyone.

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#2 Consider localising product content

Changing your packaging is the first and most obvious adjustment to make when you target your export market audience. But you can take localisation to the next level by coming up with a new variation of your existing product, such as a new taste. Kit Kat does this in a very sophisticated way. As you might guess, there is a Japanese green tea–flavoured version of the famous chocolate-covered wafer bar. In addition, Nestlé offers other locally trending tastes such as a cheesecake-flavoured Kit Kat and even a “whisky barrel–aged” version.

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#3 Provide gift packaging

If your product would make a nice present, don’t miss the opportunity to offer it in gift packaging. In this way, you can not only broaden your product’s audience but also save your customers some time and money.

#4 Collaborate with a local person of influence

Pastry chef Yasumasa Takagi’s collaboration elevates Kit Kat to a new level. In general, Kit Kat is widely known as an item that you can purchase in almost any convenience store or supermarket. In contrast, the special edition Kit Kat chocolate bars are associated with a locally recognized chocolate master. In this way, the brand reaches out to new audience groups and also strengthens its reputation.

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#5 Provide more choices

Having lots of choices can be fun, and discovering something new can be entertaining. Kit Kat in Japan continuously comes up with new flavours. This is exciting to existing fans and allows the brand to gradually grow its fan base by creating new matches.

Wherever you are in the world, the above principles can be applied to improve food product packaging and marketing and make consumers happier.

If you found this article helpful, you may also be interested in the articles below on food packaging in Japan.

How You Can Sell Commodity Food Items as Successful Brands in Japan

3 Proven Ways Your Wine Label Can Make an Impact in Japan