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Oprah Time: The Dentsu Way by Kotaro Sugiyama and Tim Andree

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Dentsu Way highlights a very integrated approach to marketing communications. When I first started off in public relations Japan was described as a ‘backward’ market. This was supposed to be because PR wasn’t highly valued and Japanese advertising agencies like Dentsu would run an end-game around PR agencies. There wasn’t a specialism in the industry to the same extent as the US or EU. Of course, the reality was rather more complex. In the same way that the division of media and creative adversely affected the advertising industry, so has the division of earned and paid media. One agency, one integrated strategy has a better chance of delivering results.

Of course, whilst the observations were true the facts drawn from them weren’t. Dentsu is one of the world’s biggest marketing communications groups not because it is backwards. The company has raised its profile in London due to the stand out work of Dentsu London over the past 12 months or so.

Dentsu’s cross-communication offering looks remarkably prescient in many respects: insight-based planning is used to drive all activity. It is also interesting how closely psychology is linked to public relations campaigns looking to achieve product preference through attitudinal change. Whilst Bernays talked about this in his original work in the public relations field. The reality is that its used surprisingly little.

For example a large PR agency pitching a vertical dinosaur-shaped lawn to be displayed in the middle of the Broadgate centre. The rationale was ‘its about plants’. This was while I was working inhouse on an FMCG relaunch, and the memory will forever stay with me.

The Dentsu Way explains their organisation and an approach in an exhaustive manner and manages to quote Bruce Lee along the way with regards their approach to campaign planning. The book is easy to read and informative with great case studies from the Japanese market. I liked the book that I included it on bookshelf page of recommendations.