Nestlé KITKAT in Japan (A): Sparking a Cultural Revolution
In 2008, the marketing manager for Nestl Japan's confectionery business and his team were struggling to redefine the KITKAT brand within the Japanese market. KITKAT as a brand faced a real threat as the retail environment rapidly shifted toward increasingly powerful convenience store chains and consumer preferences shifted toward more novel consumable products. With more than 200 companies competing within Japan's crowded and relatively stable confectionery market, Nestl Japan was facing the harsh realities of Japan's famed position as the world's toughest consumer market. To address these challenges, Nestl Japan worked over 15 years to instill deep meaning in the KITKAT brand and then, based upon this foundation, created a comprehensive product portfolio. How can KITKAT capitalize on its past success as it moves forward? Philip Sugai is affiliated with Doshisha University.