On September 13 Fukuoka's Foreign Entrepreneur Promotion Committee (FEPC) organized a seminar and workshop focused on the art and science of marketing a business in Japan. Members from both the foreign and Japanese business community listened anxiously as Seattle's Best Coffees Director of Marketing, Mr. Sean Lewis, flipped and clicked his way through his power point presentation.
Lewis summarized the history of the Seattle based company and how it reached the Japanese shores. lie explained the limitations of the franchisee licensing company which he represents and the strict guidelines imposed on SBC America by its new owner, Starbucks Corp. Even with a winning formula for selling coffee and ambiance, Sean Lewis admits they are now limited to the goal of second best in Japan!
Being second best in a billion dollar industry did not seem to discourage Mr. Lewis or his company's enthusiasm to perform and excel in a lack luster economy. Distinctions between the two companies include choice foods, concepts on decor and ambience, smoking (Starbucks), non-smoking (SBC), and a world of difference in flavor, according to Sean Lewis.
Business Consultant Paula Ricci from Boston, Massachusetts coordinated a workshop on marketing ideas and strategies. Five groups lead by able facilitators guided business owners and entrepreneurs through various brain storming exercises and self-help activities. The session lead into general networking before the close of the event. This was FEPC's second event this year.