Okamura Corporation is a large Japanese manufacturing company.
Japan’s employee relations are still largely hidebound by convention and value discipline, seniority, long hours, and unquestioning loyalty. Okamura was determined to reform these working practices. It had the scale and power to help effect the change, but it lacked brand visibility. It asked us to rebrand Okamura as a beacon for others to follow.
A new model for employee engagement was one thing. To actually change deep-seated conservative notions of work in Japan, we built a sophisticated and subtle messaging and design scheme that could achieve internal and external support.
We gave Okamura a new management philosophy and corporate culture, “the Okamura Way.” The focus of the Okamura Way is “work in life” — work as an integral part of life, rather than merely a work/life balance which separates the two. With “work in life” the workplace itself becomes a living space.
We reflected and emphasized the Okamura Way through layers of graphics and effects to stir the emotions and create a positive, lively mood. The point was to celebrate the interplay of unconventional thinking and personal expression.
We launched the Okamura Way with a campaign of books, movies, and guest interviews. The point was to stimulate curiosity and provide inspiration. Our aesthetic style “SMILE” used soft gradients and organic shapes to create rich, ever-changing visuals.
The Okamura Way was launched with universal executive buy-in and 7,000 hits on owned media on the first day alone.
We created a unique concept for work as a place where people connect, affirm themselves, and come alive. Moreover, Okamura itself is positioned as a modern, forward-thinking company. In a society still traditionally work-heavy and stressful, the Okamura Way stands as a beacon of progressive and scalable employee relations and a model for more vibrant, balanced lives.