TOKYO – As the world’s largest advertising company, Dentsu is continuously driving innovation and producing groundbreaking developments that brings value to people. It has seen rapid growth over the years and, by the looks of it, they have no plans of slowing down. Dentsu recently announced that it will go through a transformation with the desire to be an optimal partner that helps customers transform their business.

As part of this transformation, Dentsu reveals to adobo magazine four businesses that aim to meet the ever-changing business challenges of its clients: Content Business, B Team, Sports Technology, and AI Mirai.

Introducing the power of content business

Adapting to changes in the advertising market—with digital content and digital media being the dominant—is what stirred the ideation of the Dentsu Content Business Design Centre. The launch of the centre can further help clients transform their businesses with content that audience want to watch and participate in.

“Content Business Design Center’s business model is that we are the division that has 140 content specialists handling all genre of content, not just investment, we do create and produce, together with the content holders. We also handle rights, licensing, and now we are into e-sports and arena businesses,” says Reiko Kunieda, Director for Dentsu Content Business Design Centre.

Investing on content and intellectual property, merged with the agencies’ ideas that capture people’s imaginations and connect to popular culture. Through the Dentsu Content Business Design Center, the agency and brands can further enhance the experience for its audience, thereby strengthening its connection and engagement with them.

For instance, when a company creates blockbuster content, Dentsu could maximize this content by developing secondary businesses such as toys or fashion items. This will allow Dentsu to introduce the company’s content to advertisers, ensuring that the content is not only persuasive, but also ‘further-future’-ready.

Developing alternative approaches by tapping into creatives’ “B-side”

Spearheading unusual approaches to solve business challenges and thinking outside the box are Dentsu’s forte. The formulation of the Dentsu Team B is a testament of this achievement. The three-year old system is led by Dentsu’s Nadya Kirillova and Hidetoshi Kuranari.

The Dentsu Team B consists of 50 people across Dentsu who have a B side. If A side is their advertising profession, then B side is a hobby, a side-job, a major in college, or something that they are really passionate about. They can be a novelist, DJ, physics major, or a hacker, among others. “Each member has their personal B side. Our clients and the society needs new innovation; we don’t have to approach from just the A side, but we need to have an alternative approach,” opines Dentsu Creative Director Hidetoshi Kuranari.

With the motto, “Curiosity first,” the Dentsu Team is able to not just collaborate, but also create new processes and offer clients business solutions that are beyond the traditional. Using the B sides of the creatives allows them to come up with alternative ways to help their clients on team building, research, ideation, and communication.

Empowering the country’s sports industry

Tokyo sees the coming years as the perfect time to seize opportunities on sports innovation as it hosts several sports events: The Rugby World Cup this year, Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, and World Masters Games Kansai and World Aquatics Championships in 2021.

With this in mind, Dentsu has committed to help sports-focused businesses in the country with the Sports Tech Tokyo program. It is a program that aims to empower startups to advance their sports businesses with new technology as well as mentorships from business professionals in the field of sports. Most importantly, the program will give the startups the once in a lifetime opportunity to get funding from mentors, investors, and corporations.

“We have high expectations that sports tech Tokyo will not only have an impact on sports but also have an impact to revitalize business in a wider context,” shares Fumihiko Nakajima.

In partnership with San Francisco-based venture fund Scrum Ventures, the Sports Tech Tokyo program will see ideas and passions that result to innovations that will benefit three areas: the athletes, audience, and sports infrastructure.

Melding AI and creativity
Technological hurdles have been lowered for the past years, thanks to the rise of new tech and AI. Today, Dentsu opens up new possibilities for the creative industry by challenging what AI can do in the business setting with the AI Mirai project team. The AI Mirai goes beyond the expected by utilizing artificial intelligence to develop solutions and innovative technologies for marketing.
“AI Mirai is a cross-department task force team in Dentsu. We are a group of one hundred employees from various areas, such as creative media, as well as digitalization. In utilizing AI, it is our mission to change work for us as well as for our customers. Our focus is to utilize the AI as an effective tool,” says Takuya Kodama.
Mirai means ‘future’ in Japanese. Composed of 100 team members from different backgrounds such as digital advertising, marketing, mass communications, and creative work, the AI Mirai focuses on three areas such as marketing, business development, and workstyle.
In fact, Dentsu has been exploring on different AI applications in advertising and marketing–Dentsu’s main lines of business– to help its clients deal with various business challenges. Two of which are AICO or AI Copywriter, an AI-enabled copywriting system, and SHAREST, an AI-based system that predicts television ratings.