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Dentsu’s Women Consumer Research Team (Gal Labo) Develops a New Tagging System for Marketing

More and more information, products and services are easily obtainable nowadays, and even individuals themselves can sell things and self-publish information. In today’s world, consumers have a wider reach, and false advertising and scams can be quickly exposed. Accordingly, it is easy to imagine that consumers will be less likely to make compromises in the future.

To successfully market goods in such an era, it is not only necessary to create a product that has value, but also to ensure that the information providers promoting the product are trusted and possess credible information about the product.

Dentsu has formed a planning team to carry out consumer research on women. Named Dentsu Gal Labo1 in Japanese, the team has developed a system called #Women Tags. Like the hash tags used in social media, this system visually attaches tags to categories of people, specifically people who are interested in similar things, who have similar traits, who have had similar experiences, and who participate in similar activities. The team discovered that among people it labeled with #Women Tags, the women who stood out were highly informed and knowledgeable about certain pastimes and interests, and categorized these women as “pastime-specific innovators.”

Why did the team create this #Women Tags system and how does it plan to apply the category of pastime-specific innovators in marketing? In this installment, we look at the team’s original concept of pastime-specific innovators and its relevance for marketing.

Pastime-specific innovators indicated by certain #Women Tags

After conducting two related surveys2 in 2016, our planning team carried out a Dentsu d-camp X survey3 in 2017, through which we collected data on 1,151 female respondents between the ages of 12 and 39 living in greater Tokyo. We then categorized the survey responses into 117 pastime-specific #Women Tags. Of that total, we broke down the categories into 36 types of #Pastime-specific innovator tags, indicating women who are highly informed and knowledgeable about certain pastimes and interests, and 81 types of #Modern women tags, referring to women who keep up to date on certain fads and trends.

Among these two groups, we focused on the women labeled with #Pastime-specific innovator tags and defined them as pastime-specific innovators. These women are more knowledgeable about certain pastimes than people on average, and when asked or probed in discussions, they acknowledged that they loved, were engrossed in or were much more knowledgeable about their pastimes and interests compared with others.

A noteworthy finding from the survey results was that 81.8% of the respondents were categorized with at least one #Pastime-specific innovator tag, and the average number of these tags per respondent was 5.1 tags. This indicates that many women categorized as pastime-specific innovators are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about multiple pastimes and interests.

At the same time, the degree to which the women were informed about and dedicated to their respective pastimes and interests varied depending on each person.

Every person has a wide variety of individual traits and tastes. In Japan, it is not uncommon for young women who wear flamboyant clothes to immerse themselves in a private life of video games and anime at home, generally avoiding a significant amount of interaction with others. Meanwhile, it is not uncommon to see young women talking about politics on their way home from the fashionable Shibuya district of Tokyo after buying a summer bikini.

By utilizing our #Women Tags concept, we can categorize people with the same tags as single groups, recognizing that they have a similar mindset despite having a different appearance, and then identify those respective markets.

Adapting to changing consumer behavior with marketing based on our tagging system

With the growing diversity of society today and the popularity of social media, the process by which consumers make decisions is changing. That means marketing campaigns must evolve accordingly.

Diverse individuals are viewable on the internet, and we can now connect virtually with people around the world whom we would never have known without the internet. When individuals and small groups of people form a viewable community online, demand also becomes viewable, making it easier for companies and individuals to offer new goods and services. As a result, the amount of options for goods and services is growing. With information, contacts, products, and services so readily obtainable, we have reached a time in which it is easier for anyone to choose what they want, lead the lifestyle they want, and deeply explore the things they like.

People made compromises when they had fewer alternatives, but now with so many options, people are less likely to compromise. The way consumers make decisions has changed from settling for the best available option to choosing the thing they like most, and this tendency to be uncompromising is growing even stronger.

If marketing targets only five or six segments of women, such as young women who like urban fashion or women who are serious about their pastimes, those actual targets will not be visible.

Our #Women Tags approach offers an effective means for really understanding the targets of marketing, as it allows us to more precisely pinpoint women’s traits, interests, behavioral patterns, and other factors. That can lead to more and more new business opportunities.

We can understand how the women who responded to the survey with the same tags have a common outlook on their pastimes and interests by looking at people who are interested in similar things, who have had similar experiences, or other similarities. On social networking sites, a group of users who respond to posts with the hash tag #travel and a group that responds to #nails are made up of different but also overlapping members. Like each of those groups, it is important to understand the outlook of women from the perspective of which #Women Tags are associated with them.

Nowadays, there are a growing number of venues for women to express themselves, especially via social media, allowing us to see how each one expresses her individuality in various pastimes and interests. Many people gain information from social networking sites. Who is exploring each of the categories of pastimes and interests, and who has the most trustworthy information? Pressure is being put on those who are regarded as credible sources of information.

Furthermore, an increasing number of people seek out and buy things that are being purchased by those we categorize as pastime-specific innovators. What differs from the past is that the things being purchased are now viewable rather than things that have been recommended. Now everyone recognizes that the people who frequently buy and use certain types of products and services are the ones who generally know whether those things are good. Accordingly, finding out whether something was purchased by a pastime-specific innovator now seems to be the easiest and most accurate way to obtain trustworthy information about such goods and services.

In other words, pastime-specific innovators are people who instigate and influence trends in such markets. It seems likely that they will also play an increasingly important role in the formation of markets going forward.

Note 1
Dentsu Gal Labo
Established in March 2010

Dentsu Gal Labo is an all-woman planning team that aims to help women find success in the workplace and in society at large by drawing on the talents and skills of women, especially younger generations. The team studies the opinions and interactive behavior of women from various perspectives, and plans a wide range of projects that involve marketing strategies, offering solutions, production, development of products and services, as well as consulting.

In Dentsu Gal Labo, the word “gal,” as used in the team’s name, represents women who are empowered. The team’s members not only focus on the appearance and outward behavior of women but also on how women demonstrate their inner strengths. Besides instigating new trends, women in Japan also help drive the country’s economy, and will be key players in changing society in the future. Drawing from the power of women, the team hopes to offer research findings that are not only stimulating for people in Japan but also other parts of the world.

Note 2
Details of previous surveys
Survey (1)
Name of the first survey: Dentsu Gal Labo female university student survey for identifying #Women Tags
Organizations conducting the survey: Dentsu Inc. (planning) and You Can Pass Co., Ltd. (survey execution)
Survey sample: 1,000 female undergraduate university students across Japan registered with a social payment mobile app called Circle
Survey method: Online questionnaire administered via the Circle app
Period of conducting the survey: June 8–11, 2016

Survey (2)
Name of the second survey: Dentsu Gal Labo first #Women Tags survey in 2016
Organizations conducting the survey: Dentsu Inc. (planning) and Global Utility (survey execution)
Survey sample: 700 women across Japan aged 15 to 34
Survey method: Online questionnaire
Period of conducting the survey: July 1–5, 2016

Note 3
Survey (3)
Survey name: Dentsu Gal Labo second #Women Tags survey in 2017 (integrated in a Dentsu d-camp X survey) Organizations conducting the survey: Dentsu Inc. (planning) and Video Research Ltd. (survey execution)
Survey sample: 2,274 girls and women (of which 2,125 provided valid responses) aged 12 to 59 living within 50 kilometers of Tokyo randomly sampled from Video Research’s ACR/ex survey panel (note that the results referred to in this article are based on the responses of 1,151 girls and women aged 12 to 39 from the total of 2,125 women who provided valid responses)
Survey method: Digital questionnaire using specialized tablet computers loaned to respondents
Period of conducting the survey: June 2–18, 2017

d-camp X is a quantitative database independently developed by Dentsu for the purpose of collecting information on the opinions of consumers. The most recent survey results and the #Women Tags system were integrated in this database, and are being utilized for marketing, planning, and product development. The Dentsu Gal Labo #Women Tags system survey was conducted in June 2017 based on a sample from a survey panel in the greater Tokyo area. A second survey was conducted in November 2018 and the results will be provided in the near future.

Ayaka Asami / Senior Solutions Planner / Holistic Solutions Division 2

Ayaka Asami

Senior Solutions Planner
Holistic Solutions Division 2



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