Q&A with MUJI
How will the brand be positioned in future operations?
At its core, the very name, Mujirushi Ryohin (which in English would be translated to unbranded products, also known as MUJI), is a way to describe our products and services without needing to physically have a logo or other identifying mark. This focus should not waver – not only for our executives, but also for employees and suppliers of MUJI, and it will always be so no matter in the past or in the future.
Our emphasis is not on the MUJI products and services, but to continue as a means to help people to live their lives well. What I mean is that MUJI can become a part of people’s daily lives without being noticed, just like water. This is why we need to think about things from the perspective of people’s everyday lives. The operating policy for MUJI can be distilled into that need.
As you strive for brand growth in this new era, what are viewpoints that need to be changed from the past, and what viewpoints haven’t changed?
The words we use for concepts like sustainability and environmental protection have changed over the years, but the ideas behind have been included in our business activities for the past forty years, remaining unchanged. We believe that these ideas will also continue to resonate with people in the future. How can MUJI serve to help the times we live in? This is something we practice in the course of our business every day, and that will not change moving forward. That said, we have been somewhat quiet when it comes to emphasizing what is important to MUJI. It might be necessary in the years ahead to communicate more of this in ways that are direct and honest, and with confidence.
What do you feel is most important when it comes to further increasing the value of the corporate brand?
We are a retail business that offers products and services via both physical and online stores. But there is more that we can do beyond waiting for customers to come to us. We want to get out into the community, encouraging more people to use MUJI in their daily lives, and we also want our employees to be involved in ways that serve their own communities. These kinds of things can deepen the connections for us. What we are hoping to see is that MUJI stores will act as a type of community center, to listen to the problems within each community and to come up with ways to help with these problems.
Are there any concrete action items being planned for future corporate brand growth?
For MUJI, we will continue with our basic principles of “selection of materials,” “streamlining of processes,” and “simplification of packaging.” We will also continue to re-examine our pricing to ensure it works not only within urban centers but also throughout Japan and the rest of the world when it comes to what we consider daily necessities. In addition to actively finding ways to locate new stores next to regional supermarkets, another action we are working on is a mobile sales system for more rural areas. We are not only contributing to the hard aspects of social infrastructure such as parks and stations, but also focusing on to the soft aspects of communication. For example, stores in each area will take the initiative to hold the Community Market event in which farmers and producers of each are could sell their goods at our stores.