Brand unification: An optimistic perspective

In July, we launched a groundbreaking project to unify our brands across the globe.

As Rakuten has grown from a Japanese e-commerce company into a global innovation company, with unique Japanese roots, we have added many unique and inspiring businesses to our ecosystem. Now we are entering a new stage of connecting those dots to provide a user experience that is unified by the Rakuten brand.

Rakuten Viber, Rakuten.TV, Rakuten Kobo, Rakuten Slice – the billion-plus users of these and other newly co-branded services will begin to recognize that they are within a broader ecosystem, one they can trust to offer them value, security, joy and other benefits.

The brand unification coincided with the launch of our partnership with world-renowned football club FC Barcelona, and it is already making us a more attractive partner for other global companies. Those companies know our name will now be seen by billions of people every month.

Of course, unifying the brand involved far more than just adding “Rakuten” to businesses. It was expressed in many ways.

In our logo. The visual representation of the corporate Rakuten brand has been tweaked to become more compact – allowing for a smoother path to co-branding for those businesses in transition. For the first time, we’ve also opened up the color palette to seven vibrant colors, to celebrate the diversity of the group companies. Group company names can now be added alongside the Rakuten logo, telegraphing instantly both their own identity and their connection to the Rakuten ecosystem.

In our values. We restate and reconnect with our core values – empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation and community. We promote those values throughout our ecosystem and we rely on them to anchor the development of a common road map for all of our operations.

In our name. In Japanese, Rakuten means “optimism.” This has always been a theme of our core philosophy. When I started Rakuten in 1997, no one believed online shopping would ever be a viable business. Today, we can’t imagine our world without it. Optimism is an essential part of our foundation and, as we celebrate 20 years, we remember that philosophy and how important it is to us, now and in the future.

A branding effort like this is not quick or simple. We will build on it in the coming months – especially as our partnership with FC Barcelona picks up steam. In Japan, the Rakuten brand is already ubiquitous due to the successful creation of a unique and multifaceted ecosystem that includes around 90 million registered members and links online and offline services to bring unique benefits to the user. Now we will aim to offer these benefits to our users around the globe.

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