The highest form of hospitality is Omotenashi. In summary, it’s “the host anticipates the needs of the guest in advance and offers a pleasant service that guests don’t expect.”
Coming from a pharmacy, to a leading cosmetics vendors in the world economy, is not simple. However, Shiseido did it.
I will not go further into the analysis how a small pharmacy can grow to a company, and how an Asian organization can succeed in such a competitive market, where Western companies have lots of technology advantages. There are quite a few reasons: the timing, the technologies, marketing… and so on. Just forget them for now. The only thing that makes Shiseido special, in my view, is the reason for that the company exists.
Shiseido is built on the philosophy of Omotenashi.
Omotenashi: The word ‘Omotenashi’ in Japanese comes from omote (surface) and nashi (less), which means “single-hearted”, and also mote (carry) and nashi (accomplish), which means “to achieve”. Therefore, Omotenashi has two meanings, which include offering a service without expectation of any returned favour, and the ability to actualise that idea into an action.
Don’t take the word, look into their action:
Only in the Mirai-Tsubaki 2012 project, Shiseido sent out 45,800 employees to do 131 social welfare activities throughout the world. They build schools, give books to students, promoting good traffic behaviors, send cosmetics (yep) to victims of the Japan earthquake 2011, training handicapped women in Vietnam, planting trees, developing natural-friendly cosmetics, recycling drugs,… And they do it all when the financial situation is going down.
Shiseido considers the most beautiful skin is the natural skin. It believes that the skin itself can’t be good without the well-being of the whole person, the harmony of both body and mind. The true beauty doesn’t come from the skin itself, but come from the caring, empathy of the people. I remember a story, when a young American girl comes to cosmetics store for a make-up. The consultant tells her: “you are young, and your skin is beautiful already. You don’t need any make-ups. Instead, you should learn how to take care of your skin, so that it will be always beautiful.”
That’s how an organization can LAST.