HomeDissertation:Creative BtoSforS Communications in an Age of Sustainability

Creative BtoSforS Communications in an Age of Sustainability

Masayoshi Yamasaki
Vice-Chairman and Kansai Chapter Director, Japan BtoB Advertising Association
Senior Specialist, Corporate Communications Division, Kubota Corporation

Contributed Article
BtoB Communications, June 2012 Issue


In his 1965 book Sangyo kokoku: Kangaekata, susumekata, 34-sho (Industrial Advertising: Approaches and Procedures, 34 Chapters), the first work in Japan to focus on industrial advertising, Tasaburo Kobayashi wrote that although the basic thinking behind consumer goods advertising and industrial advertising was the same, in the case of industrial advertising the products and market qualities were different, so the approach and methods of consumer goods advertising alone were insufficient. Accordingly, industrial advertising prevented itself from sinking into oblivion and achieved development by separating itself from the domain of advertising dealing with consumer goods.

At that time, however, the objective of industrial advertising was to promote sales. Yasuhiko Kobayashi defined it as a type of advertising focused on the users of industrial and commercial products—that is to say, the people who make purchasing decisions and have influence in companies and other organizations.[. Yasuhiko Kobayashi, “Sangyo kokoku ni kansuru hito-shian: Soshiki kobai o chushin to shite” [A draft plan for industrial advertising, with an emphasis on organizational buying], Journal of Advertising Science, Vol. 1 (Tokyo: Japan Academy of Advertising, 1975), pp. 48–54.] Even though the concept of corporate advertising did exist, the principal target was still the customer, and understanding of the company and the building of trust were seen as nothing more than a means of getting customers to choose that company’s products.

In April of this year the Japan Industrial Advertising Association switched to the status of a general incorporated association and changed its name to the Japan BtoB Advertising Association. This “BtoB,” needless to say, means “business to business,” in contrast to the concept of BtoC, which stands for “business to consumer.” Although I personally am aware that the targeted domains of “BtoB,” “industrial goods,” and “production goods” differ slightly, I will refrain from mentioning them here since it would stray from the main point of this article. Nevertheless, a common misunderstanding arising from these terms is that they target only specified customers and do not involve the general public. These days, as stakeholders multiply and the criteria for evaluating companies, including BtoB enterprises, diversify, companies have come to be appraised not only in economic terms but in social terms as well.

In light of this trend, I have proposed the concept of “business to society for sustainability” (BtoSforS) communications as a form of corporate communications geared toward the realization of sustainable development for both companies and society. This article mainly explores the so far inadequately examined factors necessary for creative work in BtoSforS communications and concludes with a proposal of issues that should be addressed in the future.

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