Posts by Yukiko Fukushima - Tokyo

Lack of attention to detail raises stress levels in Japan

Even in chaotic and frequently changing situations, attention to detail is important, especially in Japan. For Japanese, anxiety goes up when details are not handled with care. One place we’ve been seeing this manifest since the Great East Japan Earthquake is in train stations.

Due to the planned blackouts implemented by the utility TEPCO, many subway lines in Tokyo have been operating under a reduced timetable. Normally, signs and notice boards in stations would be covered by temporary notices with information about changes in service, but since the disaster, we’ve been seeing much more haphazard signage, since circumstances change frequently. Information that’s posted in small, sometimes handwritten, letters and quickly posted with tape is causing a lot of stress (especially for older people unable to read small print or those who normally read such information in Braille). As a result, many people are taking out their stress on train station staff.

Since Japanese consumers are so accustomed to having the details right, brands can’t afford to be less than diligent during the recovery, especially with consumers more anxious than usual. Indeed, brands should try to make things as clear, simple and easy as possible for customers right now, conveying that they care about consumer well-being at this difficult time and have their own affairs organized and under control.