Komatsu embodies this concept in our statement "our corporate value is the total sum of trust given to us by society and all stakeholders." With this in mind, Komatsu's basic management policy is focused on increasing our corporate value through customer engagement initiatives. Having grouped our various stakeholders into two distinct categories, while the former is responsible for employees, affiliate companies, sales / service shops, etc., the latter includes society, shareholders, investors, media, etc. We have come to the conclusion that it is only our customers who take on both of these roles. Customers create corporate value by purchasing our products, and assess our corporate value through the use and evaluation of our products (which returns to us via feedback). We have thus redefined the meaning of "heightening the trust placed in us from our customers", into a commitment to "increase the trust placed in us to a degree at which our company is indispensable to our customers, in order to guarantee complete customer loyalty and retention". As of FY2007, we have begun initiatives designed to mold our brand into one that conceptualizes this vision.
Our brand management (BM) activities are built on the fundamental principle of "from the customer's perspective". One of the most common misconceptions regarding marketing activities is that such initiatives involve finding means to differentiate a product from the competition, or about finding a unique position within the market. Komatsu believes, however, that the crux of marketing involves working from the customer's perspective, discovering what customers want and responding specifically to those needs.
To realize this grand vision, we are engaged in activities designed to create sustained development and refinement in our management resources and capabilities. In the past, these initiatives tended to rely on experience and intuition, but in the context of Komatsu's BM activities, we have replaced them with a variety of tools and methods designed to develop case studies and accumulate validated experience that can be disseminated to a new generation of employees.
Through discussions over time with our clients, we clarify their Vision (the ultimate future ideal state),Mission(Requirements that must be achieved in realizing the Vision), and Goals(specific items that need to be accomplished). Once we have a good grasp of what our customers are looking for, Komatsu implements a plan that utilizes our management resources and abilities efficiently to achieve said goals. Ultimately, we believe that strong determination is the key aspect in governing the implementation and subsequent success of our BM initiatives.
This chart serves as a summary for the flow of processes involved
In addition, as a way to confirm the results of our activities, we have developed an evaluation tool (Figure 2) that evaluates the relationship between customers and Komatsu, separating them into seven different categories. These seven categories range from "no use for us (Level 1)" to "Komatsu is indispensable for us (Level 7)". As a company, we strive to create good relationships with our customers and are thus using this tool to provide a clear indicator of what we must do to climb towards a higher level of satisfaction. With that said, we are aware that the levels on this chart make use of self-evaluations based on the subject matter provided by local agents, and thus take that fact into consideration when evaluating the rise and fall of relationship levels with individual customers. We continue to improve on our customer relationships while carrying our daily BM activities, so that Komatsu will become an indispensable partner of customers' continuous choice.
When we began in FY2007, the scope of our activities was limited to Japan, North America, Chile, South Africa and Australia. By FY2013, we had expanded these activities to include China, Southeast Asia, Europe, Brazil, Oman, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the forestry business. In FY2011, we officially declared our approach as the KOMATSU Way of relating to customers, compiling the "KOMATSU Way of Brand Management."
In FY2017 (more than 10 years since the start of our initiatives), we developed a customer needs stratification sheet to further deepen our insight into "customer perspectives". Through this useful tool, we have become able to review customer needs in a clear, hierarchical format, enabling us to perceive what customers wish to achieve. We also hold workshops on a global scale, focusing on the theme of customer needs.
Brand management activities that began with a focus on stakeholders by our marketing department have expanded into company-wide activities that involve our production and development divisions. Owing to the positive strengthening effects it has on our various departments and human resource development circles, Komatsu will continue to promote brand management activities for the foreseeable future.