The Philosophy of the Yakult Group and Its Propagator, the Yakult Lady
Yakult, a lactic acid beverage drink, and the Yakult Lady, who delivers it to customers, are not only the sellers but also the propagators of the company philosophy. In this article, we describe Shirota-ism and the Yakult Lady Dealer System.
Shirota-ism is the business philosophy of the Yakult Group and comprises three ideas, namely, “preventive medicine,” “a healthy intestinal tract leads to a long life,” and “a price anyone can afford.” The Yakult Lady Dealer System is a unique sales system used by the company. Most of the dealers are married housewives, and they deliver the products directly to their customers’ homes. This system has been introduced not only in Japan but also in other countries where Yakult is available. The role of the Yakult Lady is both to deliver the products and to propagate Shirota-ism through conversations with their customers.
Based on the case studies of two sales companies, the article discusses that the role of the Yakult Lady, who originally simply sold products in the early days, is changing to one that embodies the philosophy of the foundation of Yakult, which contributes to people’s health.
I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Seijuro Tanigawa, President and CEO of Kobe Yakult Sales Co., Ltd. and Mr. Yasuhisa Abe, President and CEO of Hyogo Yakult Sales Co., Ltd., who cooperated with me when I visited their offices to conduct my surveys. I would like to thank many active Yakult Ladies who participated in my survey. I appreciate the PR departments of these companies and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. for significant support in the process of arranging interviews, gathering responses to my questionnaires, and confirming the contents of my draft.
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