Friday, August 31, 2007

Sampling Japanese-style

There are some cities that radiate energy. New York is one, so is Shanghai. But if you want energy plus a whack on the side of the head, the place to go is Tokyo. This time the energy is all being channeled by my three favorite Lovemarks elements: Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy. Called the Sample Lab, this business idea, like most of the great ones, is based on very simple, very human insights. People love trying things out (Sensuality), people love being in on new stuff (Mystery) and people love being part of a special community (Intimacy). The Sample Lab is housed in the wonderful “Iceberg” building in Harajuku and extends what cosmetics companies, in particular, got started: Inspiration through experience. Think Sephora creating a playground for women. The Sample Lab picks up sampling and mixes it with the idea of a membership. You have to pay a fee (not a big one) and that gives you entrance to the Lab by pressing a code on your cell phone. Once you’re in you’re free to sample beauty products, test stuff like exercise equipment, and generally have fun. How you respond is part of what the Lab offers back to manufacturers as feedback. Check out the site. It’s in Japanese so a few adventurous clicks will draw you in.