Global Partnership Activation Department
Successfully establishing an “in-house boutique agency” at Rakuten
I am in charge of the sports marketing digital strategy in the department that handles Rakuten’s branding strategy. Over the twelve-year period leading up to joining Rakuten, I worked in the marketing domain in the sports industry. However, seeking to further broaden my fields of activity, I decided to make the move to Rakuten.
My dream upon joining the company in 2018 was to create within Rakuten an “in-house boutique agency” that carries out everything from concept creation to implementation. That dream became a reality, and specialists in digital marketing, activation and creative design, and video editing came together to form a single team that has overseen key initiatives for sponsorships, including those for FC Barcelona and the Davis Cup.
Consisting of formidable members from almost all continents such as Europe, Asia, South America and Australia, including my home country of Sweden, our team leverages each member’s forte. We enjoy working with each other as if we ourselves were an actual sports team.
We implement digital and content strategies in order to take full advantage of the assets under Rakuten’s global sports partnerships. Our job duties involve facilitating the expansion of the Rakuten Ecosystem while acquiring and fostering fans of the Rakuten brand in the world of sports by running global campaigns for the various services in the Rakuten Group. I am proud that my team is capable of carrying out all processes, from the formulation of concepts to the devising of strategy, production and post-production operations for campaigns on Rakuten Sports social media, the production of documentaries, or any other like-minded endeavor.
The global sports partnerships in the Rakuten portfolio are wide-ranging in nature and include soccer, basketball, tennis, surf and baseball. In order to deploy digital strategies based on sports content on social media, we built a platform for storytelling to bring together fans from the standpoint of “emotion.” This platform has the potential to become a community for sports fans. To give an example, we produced a documentary that puts the spotlight on sports fans and planned measures that allow for the building of relationships among fellow fans through that documentary.
Balancing 3 things: Work, life and me
In my private life, I am a mother of three kids in elementary school, which means that I took childcare leave for a total of three years. Sometimes people ask me about balancing work and childrearing. My approach is to secure time to separately engage in my work and childrearing and focus on the two individually while ensuring that I have time for myself as well. That method is the one that makes me the happiest, and if I’m happy at home, so is my family. Once that’s in place, everything else falls in line.
Another component of my happiness is the presence of an extremely cooperative husband who is consistently affirmative about my dreams. After our whole family relocated to Sweden to support those dreams, we all moved back to Japan. I went to Greece on my own to obtain a Master’s degree, and I am currently getting my Ph.D. in Japan. My family is always supportive of me. Being in an environment where there are people who support your dreams makes it easier to turn those dreams into reality.
In my dream to do my part for the business of sports, Rakuten has my back
I have a strong desire to contribute to the globalization of Japan’s sports business. Rakuten also grants me opportunities to work towards that dream of mine. While working at Rakuten, I am studying in the doctorate program at Waseda University’s Graduate School of Sport Sciences in order to earn my Ph.D. At Rakuten, I have participated in talk sessions, panel discussions and events related to sports, and taken part in sports conferences in Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Spain as a representative of the company. While sharing these sports-related endeavors with sports marketing university students and learning just as much from them at the same time, I hope to contribute to research pertaining to sports storytelling.
Another thing I seek to do is elevate my public speaking skills. There are many stories that we should tell as part of realizing larger projects in our capacity as marketing personnel. People who have an interest in Rakuten, such as members of agencies and sports properties and individuals looking for employment, surely want to know about the kind of work we do. I want to improve my ability to explain the nature of our jobs and our contributions to society in a way that is easy to understand.
In a panel discussion pertaining to sustainability organized by Rakuten’s Corporate Culture Division, I served as a moderator and spoke in front of a large number of Rakuten members, including those outside my team. This enabled me to refine my storytelling skills. It was a great experience.
As a company-wide initiative, Rakuten promotes careers pursued by its individual employees in an environment open to people like myself who have dreams without making any distinction based on gender or nationality. Thanks to the company’s support, I feel I am accomplishing a great deal and truly sense that this environment, which contains not only my family but also many others who support me, is carving out a shortcut to realizing my dreams.
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