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Illuminating the future: Unity's strategic vision in the global market

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Article - March 26, 2024

Discover how Unity Inc., a trailblazer in the lighting industry, is navigating global challenges and innovating in the Japanese SME sector.

SUMI LIGHTING COLLECTION

In the dynamic landscape of global manufacturing, the lighting industry has witnessed substantial changes over the last decades. Unity Inc., under the visionary guidance of Ken Ishimoto and Katsutoshi Kawamura, has emerged as a leader in this evolving sector. The company has adeptly maneuvered through intense global competition, especially from regions offering lower labor costs, focusing on niche markets and embracing innovative strategies.

Katsutoshi Kawamura revisits Japan's post-WWII era, highlighting the country's reputation for enhancing the quality of American products. "The current market scenario is vastly different. Facing competitors who offer lower quality at reduced prices, we've had to innovate and strategize differently," he says. This shift has prompted Unity to focus on more than just cost-effectiveness; it’s about excelling in design, functionality, and the narrative behind each product.

In the Japanese market, Unity has developed a unique strategy that transcends the mere selling of products. It has cultivated a strong community and fan base through integrated services. "In Japan, our approach is holistic, catering to a loyal customer base with comprehensive services," explains Mr. Kawamura. However, in international markets, the focus pivots to branding. "Branding is essential in global markets," he emphasizes. This strategic shift led to the birth of the SUMI brand, designed to position Unity as a preeminent 'lighting brand from Japan' internationally.

Unity's international branding strategy with SUMI is about finding the perfect balance between a premium identity and market accessibility. "We have segmented our market akin to the automobile industry – into economy, premium, and luxury," shares Mr. Kawamura. This strategic market segmentation enables Unity to cater to diverse consumer needs while maintaining its distinctive brand identity.

Unity's approach to lighting design sets the company apart. Unlike traditional lighting manufacturers who restrict their designs to their own products, Unity amalgamates offerings from various manufacturers. "This approach ensures that our customers receive bespoke solutions, tailored to their specific needs," elaborates Ken Ishimoto.

Addressing Japan's aging population and shrinking workforce, Unity has adopted a multi-faceted strategy. "Our focus is on creating an efficient, compact work environment and promoting a diverse range of tasks among employees," Mr. Ishimoto notes. This strategy is complemented by Unity's youthful management team, with an average age of 43, making the company a desirable prospect for young professionals.

In the near future, Unity's 'Share Light initiative' is poised to become a focal point. This innovative service, offering short-term, high-quality lighting hire for events and pop-ups, reflects the company's commitment to sustainability and adaptability.

Regarding expansion, Unity is not looking to establish new legal entities but to build international partnerships. "We are particularly keen on exploring collaborative opportunities in India to open up new business frontiers," Mr. Kawamura reveals.

Unity Inc., with its innovative approach, strategic market segmentation, and commitment to sustainability, isn't just lighting spaces – it's charting a new course for Japanese SMEs in the global marketplace.

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