SHARP Blog

Two “original” factors in the new corporate motto “Be Original.”

January 5, 2017

In November 2016, we unveiled our new corporate motto, “Be Original.”.

Why was this declared at this timing? Why is it “Be Original.”? Let us introduce our resolution towards becoming a stand-out global brand, through an interview with our Branding Design Department Manager, Ryuichi Oya.

statement_e

Creating the new corporate motto “Be Original.”

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――Why was it necessary to announce the company’s resolution at this timing?

Sharp has started off the next 100 years of our company with a new corporate structure, and needed a strong message that would convey the company’s attitude, or should I say, future goals. “Now” was the perfect time to communicate powerful phrases that expressed “continuation” and “new birth”, which would be the core of both internal and external communication of the company.

――You said that the phrases contained Sharp’s future goals. Is this to be communicated within the company as well?

From now on, Sharp needs to unite together more than ever. To establish the mentality of “One SHARP” within the company, we needed words with more cohesive power on which employees could have faith in.

Actually, activities to clarify Sharp’s future goals have been conducted for many years. What values should Sharp provide? What type of personality should the company embrace? Efforts to discover what Sharp embodied had been ongoing for a long time, through discussions with employees.

――I feel that the image employees have of the company are somewhat the same. There is a feeling of creating something unique here.

From around October 2015, many voices wanting a more powerful message were heard from within the company. Many felt we needed to create something to communicate. That is why efforts toward creating a simple but powerful message started in January 2016.

As you know, there are a lot of household electric appliance manufacturers. We needed to make our values clear and express our “edge” to establish the presence of our brand.

――Deciding on a phrase is a somewhat aesthetic task. How a person conceives a phrase differs, and it probably boils down to individual preference at the end.

Many companies establish their corporate slogan based on their significance as a company. These types of slogans are decided on self-analysis and strong determination—not on how people like or dislike the message. There is a positioning map with a “notion (concept)” and “action (activities)” as its vertical axis, and “OUT (external)” and “IN (internal)” for its horizontal axis to organize ways of thinking.

 

 

Corporate Slogan

 

Applying Sharp’s way of thinking to this map results in this:

About Sharp

――I see, this really clears things up. It is very interesting.

Where should Sharp put its weight from now on? What messages should we communicate? We really need to think deeply about this.

――Hmm… As an employee of the company, this is very interesting. Every factor calls out to me, but the left side of the map stands out the most to me.

We also initially thought of putting weight on the left side of the map, around “A technology company” and “make products that other companies want to imitate”. However, from now on, Sharp needs to find an “edge”. We need to make further developments on “people-oriented” and “AIoT*1 that creates new values” on the right side of the map.

*1 As “Internet of Things = IoT” continues to progress and connect everything to the internet, Sharp has a unique vision of “Artificial Intelligence of Things =AIoT”. AIoT aims to create a world where many home appliances and IT devices are connected to online clouds, and artificial intelligence will learn customer preferences and lifestyle patterns to offer functions and actions that will benefit the user.
“AIoT” is a registered trademark of Sharp Corporation.

――Expressing future goals while cherishing the inherited corporate image —does “Be Original.” satisfy both factors?

Yes. We have strong confidence in the founders’ philosophy of “Sincerity and Creativity”, and our technical powers. From now on, we want to add emotional values to this, and establish household electrical appliances as life partners for the customer. We wanted the best of both worlds and selected “Be Original.” to express both values. This is a powerful message that hands down the original philosophy while committing towards creating original values for each individual.

――I have heard that the period in the phrase “Be Original.” also has a meaning.

The full stop at the end of the phrase carries the powerful determination of our company towards creating original products. It is a declaration in two words.

Be Original.

 

――The phrase is handwritten powerfully and simply in the “‘Be Original.’ Movie” as well.

We asked a Japanese calligrapher to write the last words for us. The camera moves in an unconventional way, so the calligrapher could hardly see his hands writing when we shot this scene. Because of this, the scene had to be reshot many times and I heard that it took 24 takes to get the shot.

――24 takes!

We pushed the calligrapher to do take after take, as this scene is an expression of our resolution, therefore making it extremely important. I loved the way the calligrapher did a powerful stroke at the end. The products that are displayed in the movie were all transported from the Sharp Technology Innovation Museum (a facility in Tenri City, Nara Prefecture, that displays the history and technology of our company) all the way to Tokyo for shooting. Many forces gathered together to create this movie.

movie

 

See the “‘Be Original.’ Movie” at this website:
http://www.sharp-world.com/brand/beoriginal/

 

Sharp’s future goals

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――Could you elaborate on what Sharp is aiming for from now on, about the “…committing towards creating ‘original values for you’” which can be found within the message?

From now on, Sharp will strive to offer emotional values that are customized for each individual by sensing customer preferences through AIoT technology. The words “original values for you” express our desire for products to sense human behavior and environment, and perceive the users’ emotions or offer encouragement—to act as partners instead of just tools. We want products to learn about their users and remember them, and plan to create an in-depth design that bears experiences and a story as well, in addition to product performance and functions.

――Do you mean that Sharp will realize the “let you be you” seen in the message, through electrical appliances that perceive our emotions and offer encouragement?

I believe that being yourself is the foundation of human desire. No human wants to live a lie. When we thought of what household appliances can do for, or offer to users who want to “be themselves”, we noted that the worldview of AIoT offered support towards allowing people “be themselves”. Household appliances are pretty difficult to use, because they have so many different functions. Users need to learn how to use appliances. Sharp wants to do that bothersome task for the users, so that the users can take that time to “be themselves” and do what they want to do. The “let you be you” phrase in the message expresses this sentiment.

 

For starters, employees need to change their awareness

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――What are you presently thinking about?

Sharp has its original technology and businesses, and I have always believed the company’s strength could be more powerful if it was unified into one direction. I think that consolidating this power, or should I say mentality, into one strength is important, and will give birth to something very extraordinary.

My position here gives me many opportunities to learn about Sharp’s technology and business content. The more I learn about them, the more interesting it gets! The corporate environment that allows products to be created from these ideas is also wonderful. We want to deliver new experiences to customers based on this foundation. We want to do what we can and what only Sharp can do—isn’t this such a fulfilling task?

――As we are a manufacturing company, at the end of the day, there is a necessity to create “Be Original.” products. What should be our first steps to make this reality?

Having all employees change their awareness is the most important factor. Creating products and services call for factors such as technology, time and money. But for starters, I hope each employee will thoroughly comprehend the “Be Original.” concept and have their own version of “Be Original.” within themselves. Ask yourselves, “Is that project really original?” or “Whose emotions does that project move?”

We have announced a new declaration of “our ideal company”. In addition, I feel that having each employee wonder, “so now, what do I want to be?” is extremely important as well. From now on, having debates between each individual “Be Original.” viewpoint and accumulate that towards a larger “Be Original.” is absolutely necessary. Debating on one keyword will create more lateral communication. The future of this activity lies the true “Be Original.” state that One SHARP wants to realize.

――Thank you.

 

Asking employees about “Be Original.” has become a habit of mine recently. Although initially, many answer they “vaguely know about the phrase…”, talking to them for some time creates responses such as, “That is definitely a very Sharp-ish phrase!” or “Very apt!” Although the message is new, I’ve noticed that this new phrase is a frank expression of the conception and mentality that have always been at the foundation of our company.

One employee stated that he was “grateful that the world ‘original’ was selected.” The word “original” has a place in all Sharp employees’ hearts, and is possibly a powerful keyword that will unite all employees into one.

“Be Original.” Brand Website

 

 

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