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Sei-katsu-sha

A Consumer with a Heartbeat

At Hakuhodo, we say that most consumer research is like a painting of people in which the artist has forgotten to fill in the faces. For advertisers, of course, what's missing is the most important piece: a true understanding of the people they're trying to connect with.

Since the 1980s, the centerpiece of the Hakuhodo philosophy has been sei-katsu-sha insight. “Sei-katsu-sha,” which literally means “living person,” stands in contrast to the word Japanese marketers typically use for consumer, “shohisha.” “Sei-katsu-sha” expresses the holistic person — an individual with a lifestyle, aspirations and dreams. All the branding work we do in partnership with our clients follows from sei-katsu-sha insight.

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