How MTG’s smart branding took ‘Made in Japan’ to the world
Japanese beauty and wellness company MTG has broken new ground in taking its products around the world
“The world used to perceive Japan as a leader, but we have lost a lot of ground to other countries. I want to prove that Japan is still a strong nation.” For Tsuyoshi Matsushita, president of Nagoya-based beauty and wellness company MTG, the very Japanese qualities of reliability, ultra-modern technology and innovation are the key to his company’s – and his country’s – success.
And the company has already made great strides in this regard. Founded in 1996, its beauty and wellness products have garnered international interest. By bringing together talent in product creation, technology, branding and marketing, Mr. Matsushita has created a Japanese beauty and wellness powerhouse that is fast gaining market share in Asia and further afield.
“When you work with someone like Madonna, they demand a lot and push you to your limits. What I am striving for is to exceed her expectations, to go beyond them” Tsuyoshi Matsushita, President, MTG
While MTG brands itself as a beauty and wellness company, what it sells are no ordinary creams and lotions. It offers holistic cosmetic treatments that combine quality ingredients with cutting-edge tech to produce the very best results. “We are always coming up with new ideas and constantly hiring new developers. We are strong at creating and developing products that nobody else in the world would expect. Japanese companies are very strong at this,” says Mr. Matsushita. But for many Japanese companies, despite vast technological prowess, breaking into global markets has been difficult as a result of a lack of knowledge around the power of brand design and viral marketing. Not so for MTG, which prides itself on its originality and ability to produce big-hit sellers.
When Madonna launched her own skincare line in 2014, it was via a collaboration with MTG after the Japanese firm beat out the competition to create a pioneering initial product line. The range, which is currently sold only in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, features a SKIN REJUVENATOR device that employs magnet technology, THE FACE WASH, THE ROSE MIST, THE SERUM, THE EYE SERUM and THE EYE MASK. As a result of the Queen of Pop’s social media posts about the product, the range’s THE CHROME CLAY MASK has seen huge amounts of viral attention. As demonstrated by Madonna, the mask, whose ingredients come from the Tuscan spa village of Montecatini in Italy, is spread over the face, then removed with the help of a magnetic device that pulls it, and impurities, straight off the skin. “Madonna only uses this skincare line, and she has been tremendously involved in the whole development process,” says Mr. Matsushita. “When you work with someone like her the expectations are high. What I am striving for is to exceed these expectations, to go beyond them.”
The skincare line is now set to hit the States. For Mr. Matsushita, this is a testament to the intrinsic value of the MTG brand. “We have succeeded to have Madonna as a partner while so many cosmetic companies have tried to contact her for their respective operations. She found the tiniest hidden diamond in our company.”
It’s not just Madonna who is convinced by what MTG has to offer. International football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been working with the company since 2014. Most recently, he has worked alongside MTG as it developed the SIXPAD device. It uses electronical muscle stimulation (EMS), an established technology that is often used in medicine for rehabilitation of patients who suffer from muscle atrophy.
The science behind the SIXPAD comes from Emeritus Professor Toshio Moritani, of Kyoto University. He has been studying the training effect that EMS produces on muscles for over 40 years, verifying that the efficient frequency for training is 20Hz. But, as Mr. Matsushita recalls, “We took his research and combined it with Cristiano’s training program and turned that into our product. We were able to create a world-class product in a short period of time. This is our business model that has worked very well so far. We can take any product and produce the same kind of success.”
These collaborations have catapulted MTG from a local player to a globally-recognized brand, and the company is currently experiencing an average growth of 130 percent each year – a figure beyond the wildest dreams of most executives. But MTG is not growing for growth’s sake. The vision of its president is to elevate the Japanese spirit of technological innovation in order to take ‘Made in Japan’ to the world, and succeed where many of his compatriots have thus far failed. “I talk to a lot of people from Japanese companies who are pulling their operations out from China, who just because they failed in that market are telling me to not even bother,” he says. “Nevertheless, that is exactly the kind of situation we want to venture into and prove the opposite. We want to jump into the things that other companies would not dare to.”
And with a brand model based around strategic alliances and partnerships with household names, MTG looks set for a very bright future indeed.