Saya is a Creative Planner in the UX Strategy & Planning Section of the Creative Design Strategy Department for Rakuten Group in Japan.
I am in charge of the planning and production of branding communications for Rakuten Group. Most recently, I worked with the company’s sports teams Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and Vissel Kobe on creating plans for upcycling giant stadium billboards. This sustainability project was well received by fans and helped boost the brand’s image. To market the Rakuten Ecosystem, I also launched a content project designed to appeal to customers by conveying the message of “easy, effortless and smart living.” I worked to create plans tailored to fans and users based on surveys, interviews and other forms of media.
Other projects I have been involved in include Rakuten Group’s 25th-anniversary project “Together Tohoku,” which distributed messages of support for disaster recovery initiatives in the Tohoku region of Japan. I was also involved in the planning and creation of Rakuten Design, a website that showcases Rakuten design work.
In my previous jobs, I worked as a communications designer, creative director, planner and copywriter at agencies covering a wide array of media, including graphics, radio, newspaper, commercials and online media. Just as I was considering what type of work style I wanted to pursue in the future and what my next career step would be, I encountered Rakuten. It was a new department that had just launched with only one person at the time, but a number of aspects stood out to me.
The work was in an area that Rakuten wanted to develop in the future, and there were opportunities to create a wide variety of communications tactics and the opportunity matched my desire to take on new challenges. These were all deciding factors that led me to join the company. Moreover, Rakuten Group has many divisions, and the department I was assigned to is one that works across all of these divisions. This was also attractive to me, as I could make use of my experience working with clients in a variety of industries and business categories.
I would like to promote the value of creativity while developing my own career at Rakuten. The industry has been changing rapidly and we have seen an increasing number of creative agencies being absorbed by consulting firms. The way marketing and creativity relate to each other is also changing drastically. It is easier to see the results of marketing and strategy in numbers, while the world of creativity is difficult to evaluate quantitatively – its value may be harder to convey due to its qualitative and sensory aspects. Moving forward, I would like to further my role in spreading the power and value of creativity – which is something I strongly believe in because I have been involved in this field for many years – and at the same time, encourage others who are currently active in the creative field.
Since the department I joined was newly established, we had to handle everything by ourselves, including sales to other departments, marketing strategy, research, verification, direction and system-related progress management. It was a challenge, but I was able to broaden the scope of my work and I had a great opportunity to learn.
Since joining Rakuten, I have strived to raise the profile of Rakuten brands and I was involved in a project to create a website called “Click to Donate Campaign”*¹ for Rakuten Group’s 25th anniversary. The challenge aligned with Rakuten Group’s mission of “empowering people and society through innovation,” and working on the project was a motivating experience for me. Being able to review projects by analyzing and verifying their results, rather than just implementing them and moving on, motivates me toward the next challenge. I always try to propose ideas and I am greatly inspired by the many positive team members around me. Many of Rakuten’s senior leaders also have a very proactive outlook and I feel that this is an organization where I can develop many skills because of the colleagues around me.
What being at Rakuten allows you to do
Rakuten has a culture that welcomes and supports the positive attitude of its employees. Since joining Rakuten, I’ve had the opportunity to plan large projects involving various departments and have been able to take part in everything from upstream strategy design to planning and output. It is very rewarding to work on these projects while feeling that I am making the world a better place.
In the “Together Tohoku” project, which was implemented in 2021, 10 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, we connected stores in Rakuten Ichiba with the Rakuten Eagles and had people from all over Japan send messages to the Tohoku region through Rakuten Mobile. I worked together with team members to create opportunities for people to connect with the Tohoku region and gain a sense of how far recovery efforts have come. It was a real joy for me to participate in such a big project from the very beginning and to be able to influence its concept and design. I believe something like this is only possible because I am working at Rakuten.
I would like to continue taking on new challenges in the creative field. One new challenge I have for myself is to produce creative work for Rakuten and distribute it both inside and outside the company. Also, I would like to enhance my own time for hobbies. Sometimes when I go hiking, I get ideas for work and I feel that ordinary daily life events can often connect with your job. I would like to continue enjoying personal activities like hiking, running, traveling and more while also linking these experiences to new creative ideas.
*¹: The campaign introduced initiatives Rakuten was working on and when one million clicks were reached, Rakuten donated to that initiative.
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