Q&A with Chika Morishima, Executive Officer, Communication Division at Ajinomoto

expert perspective

Chika Morishima
Executive Officer
Communication Department
Officer in Charge of Sustainability Promotion

How will the brand be positioned in future operations?

I think that the “Purpose” viewpoint will come to be much more important. We are entering an era where products are chosen by consumers based not solely on personal benefits, but on the corporation’s purpose and contributions to society. The importance of the corporate brand will continue to grow. At Ajinomoto, we have laid out “Corporate Brand Value Improvement” as one of our objectives in the new Mid-Term Management Plan. At Ajinomoto, we see three ways of defining corporate value: ASV (Ajinomoto Group Shared Value) Engagement, Corporate Brand Value, and Market Capitalization. As our employees embody the ASV, our corporate brand value increases, expanding our market capitalization.

Please let us know what are viewpoints that need to be considered when striving for brand growth in this new era that were not in the past, and what viewpoints haven’t changed.

We have no intention of changing our vision of becoming a company that is solving health and nutritional challenges with amino acids, our actions working toward achieving this vision, and our communication tailored to the customer. Rather, I believe that the issues at hand have become clearer in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, it will be necessary to change the specific approach in response to ethical consumption, to Generation Z, and to changes in consumers. What is important is a sense of speed. Our company and many other Japanese companies have a tendency to think it’s good to make a perfect plan and then execute it, but I think we need to change the way we work to a style where we adjust it while we keep running.

What do you feel is most important when it comes to further increasing the value of the corporate brand?

First of all, I think employee engagement is important. I believe that the source of growth is for each and every employee to understand and sympathize with the vision and take pride in their work. The second is to create a “typical of AJINOMOTO” feeling that can earn the trust and empathy of the customers. AJINOMOTO holds the vision of creating “wellness” together, but in a society with a new normal, the word “wellness” will become a keyword that many companies are advocating. In this context, it is important to establish an approach and a uniqueness that are unique to AJINOMOTO and to gain the empathy and trust of stakeholders.

Are there any specific actions you plan to take in order to grow your brand?

In line with the previous response, our company has formulated a company approach which is uniquely our own, “Nutrition without compromise” where you don’t compromise on ① Tastiness, ② Accessibility, and ③ Dietary options in the local region, which is central to our growth strategy. Based on this, we will develop communication and demonstrate our presence on a global scale. I would also like to focus on the “function of amino acids” which is our core competence. Another is to rebuild the relationship between the product brand and the corporate brand. AJINOMOTO owns a number of product brands, including “Hondashi” and “Knorr.” We will work together amongst the business units and the corporate units for “visualization” and to promote the creation of value through product brands that enhance the value of the corporate brand.