12.8 c
Monday, December 11, 2023

Can you apply synergy to latent needs? Fumoa x Aioi Nissay Dowa" Cross-industrial Collaboration

Fumoa is developing a business centered on "manga," a uniquely Japanese culture. Although only five years old, Fumoa is making rapid progress with content production as a weapon, with major companies as clients.
Through "creww collaboration," the company collaborated with Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, which is in a completely different industry. The two companies succeeded in combining their resources while changing the axis from the collaboration they had initially envisioned. We asked Kazuhiko Shirakabe, manager of Fumoa's manga division, Yohei Imoto, production manager, and Kentaro Miyazaki of ADI about the background to the realization of this cross-industrial collaboration between a large corporation and a start-up.
*This article is a reprint of an article published in creww magagine on September 22, 2017.

Insurance x Manga Production" - Why a collaboration between different industries was realized.

- First of all, could you tell us about Fumoa's business?

Kazuhiko Shirakabe ("Shirakabe"):We are an illustration and manga production company with the vision of "Inspiring the world with creativity. We have a network of creators, including illustrators and cartoonists, and we direct our company to propose the most suitable content and creators for your company. Ultimately, our goal is to deliver excitement around the world through manga.

- What are some of Fumoa's strengths compared to its competitors?

White walls:We have a large network of approximately 6,000 illustrators and 400 cartoonists outside the company, while our own employees are probably half illustrators and half cartoonists. When exchanging projects, it is difficult for clients to judge whether a project is good or bad because it is hard to visualize the final output from words and conversations alone. However, since we have our own in-house artists, we are able to visually express the request from the time of proposal and share the image from the early stage.

- The fact that we have a large number of creators in the company means that we can have smooth communication.

(From left) Mr. Kazuhiko Shirakabe, Mr. Yohei Imoto

Yohei Imoto ("Imoto"):Sometimes we ask outside creators in our network to work on our projects, as with crowdsourcing, but sometimes we receive urgent requests. Even if such a situation should arise, we can handle it without problems because we have in-house creators and can shorten the direction time. We also have creators who are often asked to be appointed by our clients, and our great strength is the high quality of our content because of our outstanding production capabilities.

- Can you give us some background on your application for the "creww collaboration" this time?

White walls:While our strength lies in content creation, we wanted to take the next step and focus on "delivering" beyond production. The reason for my application was to put more effort into the manga promotion business, which I had already achieved in the past. This time, we collaborated with Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance (Aioi Nissay Dowa) in the hope of creating a "new way of communication" in the field of insurance, where the products are complex and it is difficult to fully convey their importance and attractiveness through promotional cartoons.

- Can you tell us how the collaboration came about?

Kentaro Miyazaki ("Miyazaki"):We wanted to add a new essence to our existing business, so we used "creww collaboration". We felt that manga was the perfect way to collaborate with an area we had never ventured into before. Not to mention, manga is a uniquely Japanese culture, so we thought it would be a great promotional tool.

- Have you already started promotion using cartoons?

Miyazaki:No, we are currently starting with designing training materials for internal use, such as for new employees, using cartoons.

Unexpected" open innovation to enhance inner communication through cartoons.

Kentaro Miyazaki

- So you are saying that the cooperation is different from the business you originally envisioned?

Miyazaki:Yes, we did. Since this was our first attempt at an open innovation program, we concluded that it would be effective for internal communication, while keeping the final goal in mind.

Insurance is a complicated business with products and operations that take time to become familiar with. We thought that the use of cartoons might be a solution to the difficulty in understanding the text alone. We thought that if we could achieve results here, it would be effective in promotions for customers, and we are starting with an initiative that also measures the effectiveness of the program.

- I think there are many situations where communication is difficult because the organizational cultures of large companies and venture companies are different. Was there a specific catalyst that led to this change in direction?

White walls:In collaborating, major companies have their own issues to address. Of course, our mission is to solve those issues and lead them to success, but the possibilities for collaboration do not stop there. In our case, we also check IR information, etc., and are prepared to make multiple proposals after clarifying the resources we can provide in advance. In this way, we are sometimes able to create synergies with needs that we did not see coming.

Miyazaki:This initiative to strengthen inner communication was born out of this very attitude of Fumoa's.

- Is this initiative actually working?

Miyazaki:At first, we wondered if cartoons would really facilitate communication, but the in-house manuals we produced using cartoons have been well received. For example, when we were trying to change the company culture, it became easier to penetrate the message that could not be conveyed by just writing a text message or making a declaration.

Since then, when we take on new initiatives within the company, people have started to say, "Let's make it with cartoons," and we feel that this has been effective in areas that cannot be measured by numbers.

Imoto:We have always had absolute confidence in the communication power of manga. For example, we have measured the improvement in click-through rates by using cartoons in banner ads, and the improvement in withdrawal rates and dwell time by using cartoons in web content.

In this case, we were able to utilize the power of "arousing interest" through visuals and "simulated experience" through stories in inner communication.

More important than improving the closing rate. What is the goal of cross-industry collaboration for a "world without regrets?

- Will you be using this achievement to move on to the customer-focused promotions you originally envisioned?

Miyazaki:Insurance products are complex and it is difficult to explain everything in a cartoon, so we hope to develop services aimed at stimulating needs.

White walls:When we first proposed the idea, our goal was to create a world where people would not have the regret of saying, "I should have bought insurance. We have just started to move toward the realization of the worldview envisioned by Aioi Nissay Dowa, not to mention the insurance contract signing rate.

Miyazaki:We want to solve the problems that not only our company but the world in general is facing. It is too late to understand the importance of insurance after an accident has occurred. I believe that cartoons will be very effective in getting people to know the usefulness of the service of insurance before they have a sad experience. We would be happy if we could not only sell our services but also help the world to understand the importance of insurance.

- We have heard that this is the first open innovation for both companies. Finally, can you share with us some of the lessons you have learned through your experience?

White walls:Generally, I think everyone has the impression that venture companies make decisions quickly, while large companies are slow. However, this is not actually the case. The sense of speed is the same, but the amount of effort and the steps required increase in proportion to the size of the organization. Since there is no small gap between such an image and the reality, I thought it was important not to neglect mutual communication and understanding of the situation.

Miyazaki:Startups are very sensitive to what is going on in the world and the business trends that are changing day by day. I myself have spoken with a variety of startups and have learned a great deal. Regardless of the size of the company, it is important to recognize that we are learning from each other.

Imoto:When a startup collaborates with a major company, the absolute prerequisite for success is that the startup has confidence in its own service. As long as the startup is able to demonstrate the usefulness of its services and is flexible, it will naturally be successful. As was the case with the collaboration with Aioi Nissay Dowa this time, it may be possible to expand horizontally in areas different from the original purpose. I think it is important to start small, try it out, give it shape, and accumulate a little trust.

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