On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, NISHIGUCHI Kazuki, the president of L'Occitane Japon, came to APU to give a lecture entitled “Personal Growth and Your Career.” Three Student Press Assistants (SPAs) sat down with Mr. NISHIGUCHI and asked him about various topics, including his thoughts on brands from the perspective of a manager, the differences between foreign-affiliates and Japanese companies, and how he got to where he is today.
“Strong determination breeds fortune.”
Mr. NISHIGUCHI, whose focus always leaned more toward launching new brands and marketing, primarily in the cosmetics industry, said he has long been interested in management. He stressed having both a strong organization and an unwavering desire to create a brand that brings happiness to customers and said that he was very fortu-nate to have been named president of L’Occitane Japon.
“You must love your brand to make it a good one.”
So, what does Mr. NISHIGUCHI think makes a good brand? A brand will not be successful if you think of it solely in terms of making money or as a step in advance-ment of your own career. He believes that to create a good brand, it is critical for all those involved in the process to love the brand. He said that doing this is certain to attract customers who share that sentiment, which eventually leads to success.
“Your present self is imperfect, but tomorrow you can become smarter and bet-ter.”
Although Mr. NISHIGUCHI has succeeded in managing all types of brands, he as-serted that making mistakes is also valuable. Becoming a brand manager at the young age of 28, he made a major blunder when attempting to launch a new hair product brand. He said he had an emotionally difficult period after that huge mistake, having been at his so-called peak at the time. By making and overcoming this mistake, he learned the importance of recognizing that one’s present self is imperfect. He said he became able to accept the mistakes and criticisms arising from his imperfections and to develop himself further.
“A manager must maximize each and every employee’s potential.”
Mr. NISHIGUCHI has worked for both Japanese and foreign companies in the past and explained that their corporate climates differ in terms of individual roles and communication styles. While Japanese companies stress harmony and grow through the unified cooperation of their employees, foreign companies seek to raise the level of each individual. Despite this difference, both types of companies can be successful, and neither corporate climate is right or wrong.
He went on to state that a successful manager must learn about each employee’s dreams and aspirations by developing mutual trust, and that it is important to makes use of “the little things,” such as the organizational format you employ and how you address people, to maximize each individual’s potential.
Mr. NISHIGUCHI concluded his talk with the following message for APU students: “Early on, you should do what you want and experience setbacks and mistakes that you must own up to. I believe that experiencing such setbacks and mistakes can cre-ate good opportunities for self-reflection.”
Rather than presenting only success stories, Mr. NISHIGUCHI, showed us that there is also something to be gained by making mistakes. We wish him and his company all the best and look forward to seeing him again at APU someday.
Related Link: President of L'Occitane Japon Speaks to Students (APU Official Website)