Magazine

Zojirushi – Building a brand

About Zojirushi

Zojirushi are based in Osaka, Japan. They founded in 1918 and are a household name in Japan, famous for high quality rice cookers, vacuum flasks and other kitchen and home appliances. If you have visited any kitchen supplier or restaurant in Japan or stayed in a Japanese hotel you will probably have experienced a Zojirushi product.

The name ‘Zojirushi’ and its elephant symbol means elephant mark. This animal theme has been copied by others in Japan including Tiger who make a similar range of products.

Why (Goal)

We began working with Zojirushi in 2014 on the design of vacuum flasks or ‘Mahoubin’ (which means magic pot – referencing the heat retention qualities of the vacuum flask) for the global market.

In 2018 they asked us to create a table flask design specifically for their intended relaunch in the European market. In addition to this they asked us to create an exhibit booth for Ambiente in Frankfurt 2019, which would communicate the essence of Japanese culture and Zojirushi’s unique product characteristics.

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How (What we did)

As a brand building activity, we wanted to find a unique form for the new flask. After investigation we noticed most flasks have an horizontal construction – lid, body, base and simple round cross-section.

For this new product, we decided to use a vertical construction eliminating all horizontal body lines and to create a tapering decagonal cross-section to give the flask a unique faceted shape.

For the exhibition booth design we studied traditional Japanese architectural elements and used ‘Noren’ or floating screens typically experienced as you enter a restaurant in Japan, combined with a traditional wooden lattice. Together with a simple white backdrop these elements communicated the flavour or Japan without referring to tired ideas of kimono’s and geisha.

Finally, we designed and created the show literature, including traditional manga post cards.

What (Outcomes)

We were successful in re-establishing the Zojirushi brand in the EU market by combining their unique product capabilities with Japanese cultural iconography. The flask design was extremely well received by visitors to the trade fair and consumers in the US and EU, and has since won the coveted 2020 German IF design award and the American Chicago Anthenaeum Good Design Award.

With over 20 years of experience of Japan we have found many Japanese companies want our advice on which elements of Japanese craft and cultural history best differentiate them and their products in overseas markets.

You can see what clients are saying about us here.

You can see Zojirushi project examples here :

Zojirushi Ambiente – Exhibit stand

Zojirushi – Table flask

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