According to our analysis, Toyota is lacking corporate identity in its host country. Toyota is experiencing difficulty bridging the gap between its Japanese collectivist culture and the individualist culture of the United States in regards to its marketing strategy.
Toyota’s key challenge is the fact that it is lacking an overall image in the minds of its consumers. Their consumers see them as a product rather than a company. For instance, the CEO has concluded, “no one knows who Toyota is, that it is a faceless organization and doesn’t have a human element in the eyes of the consumer.” This shows that its corporate identity is not currently designed to reflect the company’s leading position in terms of technology and image.
Toyota’s second obstacle involves developing this corporate identity without diverting from its Japanese collectivist culture. This culture encourages conformity and group cohesion, while it discourages individually standing out; rather they are more uniform and homogeneous in nature. As such, defining your authentic self and broadcasting it tends to put the Japanese at risk of being separate from, rather than part of the group, which is where the challenge lies. The CEO wants its entire company, the “heroes,” to represent the “face” of the company, not just one single person serving as a representative, as the American individualist culture would. However, the consumers Toyota wants to target in its host country practice individualism, while Toyota is using strategies from its collectivist culture. In turn this causes a conflict in the marketing strategy.
The following action steps will address the lack of corporate identity that Toyota is facing while keeping the collective Japanese culture within the company:
1. Hire a marketing team with knowledge of cross cultures between Japan and the United States. This team will research and identify the target audience, help to...