SINGAPORE—Communications consultancy Watatawa has inked a strategic alliance with Hakuhodo Consulting, focusing on Japanese firms abroad and MNCs in Japan.

The partnership will see the two firms offer engagement and marketing services to companies in Japan and other Asian markets. Watatawa will work with the Singapore HQ of Hakuhodo Consulting Asia-Pacific, a subsidiary of the Japanese advertising giant.

“Japanese companies increasingly understand that they need to adjust their approach to the Asian market and to reinforce their marketing leadership for positioning themselves in Asian markets," said Hakuhodo Consulting Asia-Pacific managing director Yoshihiro Yoshida.  

"Another challenge is hiring and maintaining a stable local workforce in different countries. Strengthening brand value and raising loyalty among employees is critical in this regard. Foreign businesses in Japan also will benefit from this alliance which marries our deep knowledge of the Japanese market with the highly-informed international perspective and experience of Watatawa.”

Watatawa, which was founded in 2010 by former Burson-Marsteller vice-chairman Bill Rylance, provides communications and strategy consulting to clients in financial services, telecommunications, agricultural commodities, and the resources and technology sectors in several Asian markets.  

Rylance pointed out that many Japanese companies "have achieved extraordinary global success by focusing primarily on the technical excellence of their products and services and that will always be at the core of any successful Japanese business."

"However," he noted, "there is a growing recognition that this traditional strength must be complemented by a strategic approach to achieving emotional resonance and relevance in key markets."

Accordingly, the alliance between the two firms will focus on building engagement with customers, employees and all stakeholders. "[This] aligns perfectly to Hakuhodo’s holistic marketing philosophy, which is called sei-katsu-sha insight,” added Rylance.