The Nestlé Method to Success

Unsatisfied with a 10% profit margin: the strategy that is beating convenience store coffee!
Leading the company from strength to strength in the last four years since becoming CEO: the method to success revealed.
Praised by the father of modern management Philip Kotler as the realization of his marketing theory.
AuthorKozo Takaoka
ISBN978 - 4046011640
Estimated length190P
Size188 × 130 mm

“This book is written for anyone working in any business setting, regardless of the type of company you work for or which department you belong to.”


Its message is especially relevant, as more and more of the world's economies mature, and companies must look for new ways to adapt to the trends of the 21st century. Here are just some issues that Mr. Kozo discusses in his book:

  • How should a company change, in order to adapt to an aging, declining market population and a shrinking national economy?

  • What can be done to extract sustained growth out of a saturated market and how can flagship products be adapted to changing customer habits?

  • How can a global company be adjusted to suit local needs?


Drawing on over thirty years of personal experience, Mr. Kozo carefully guides the reader through the key challenges he has dealt with throughout his career and how he chose to meet these challenges, with remarkable results.


Despite an aging and shrinking population, Nestlé have succeeded in achieving sustainable growth and have shown that profits of over 10% can still be achieved in a developed market such as Japan. The key has been in realizing the customers' problems and then to be one step ahead in providing a sustainable solution to those problems. By viewing external customers, business partners, and the company's internal customers as one and the same, Nestlé Japan have not only succeeded in innovating profitable schemes but have laid out the groundwork to ensure that such successes last well into the future.  Mr. Kozo has also pioneered his company's
co-branding initiatives, which today accommodates a diverse range of Nestlé Japan business partners, including East Japan Railway Company (JR East), YouTube, and even BMW Mini.


Despite having only been CEO for five years, Mr. Kozo's business sense and leadership have helped shape Nestlé Japan into a national trend-setter for consumers, and also define Nestlé Japan as a unique entity apart from its Swiss-headquartered parent corporation.


Here are just a few of the successes achieved by Nestlé Japan, as chronicled in this volume:


The Nescafé Ambassador program – realizing the customer's problem and offering sustainable, quality solutions

What can our company do that other companies cannot? In asking this question, Mr. Kozo realized that due to the economic downturn, many offices in Japan no longer had the resources to provide their employees with free coffee. At the same time, sales in canned coffee were beginning to fall due to fierce competition from fresh coffee made available at convenience stores.


In response, in 2010, Nestlé Japan introduced the Nescafé Ambassador program as a way to allow these office employees to enjoy cheap, quality coffee at their workplaces. Anyone can apply to be a Nescafé Ambassador and the office they represent receive a Nescafé Barista coffee machine for free. The job of the Ambassador is to source funds to buy the coffee cartridges and in this way, the program has become a great hit, winning Japan's Good Design Award in 2013. Rather than enter into direct competition with convenience stores, Mr. Kozo persevered in widening the company's unique scheme of providing coffee to companies. The result was that a record fifteen hundred million servings of coffee were sold nationally in office spaces through the Nescafé Ambassador program in 2015.


Kitto-Katsu and Kit Kat Chocolatory: A Kit Kat with dual meaning

Even if a product is deemed iconic and unchangeable, if it is irrelevant to its market population, it has no meaning. This was true for Kit Kat chocolate's slogan, and this case shows how by making the product relevant to the local people, it can become an instant success. Though available nationally since 1973, it was only recently that Kit Kat overtook Pocky as the No.1 confectionary in Japan, and all because the chocolate's historic British slogan was changed from “Have a break, have a Kit Kat” to “Kitto-Katsu”. In the book, Mr. Kozo details how by pairing this with effective marketing, Kit Kat hasbecome a symbol of luck and victory for stressed students facing university entrance exams across Japan.


Furthermore, Kit Kat has also seen great success as a multi-flavored, premium chocolate in Japan, which is a far cry from the way it is consumed as a quick “break” in other countries. A winning scheme of Nestlé's internal Innovation Award, the boutique Kit Kat Chocolatory branches were launched in 2003. It has since gone from strength to strength in terms of sales, and particularly in reinventing Kit Kat's image in Japan or rather remaking Kit Kat in Japan's image, with its many limited flavors and locally-sourced ingredients such as matcha. This has made it wildly popular with tourists, so, despite Japan's declining population, national Kit Kat sales have been rising annually.


Nurturing company growth – The birth of the Innovation Award

Innovation from within is the lifeblood for any business, large or small, and to this end, many companies spend a lot of time and resources on employee training and recruitment of talented individuals. In Japan, the lengthy and resource-consuming recruitment process traditionally happens just once a year, and companies usually only aim to recruit studentsexpecting to graduate university in the following year.


But doubting the efficacy of the current methods to seek out individuals who are both creative, and inspired to make something of their creativity, Mr. Kozo took measures into his own hands: “The company has no need for high-performers. What I want are extraordinary individuals.”  To attract these people to the company, Nestlé Japan overturned its recruitment system in 2013, accepting applicants into its unique recruitment and internship program regardless of age, nationality or educational background. The effect has been astounding, with a positive impact on the company internally.


More importantly, Mr. Kozo has successfully nurtured a culture of innovation within the company. This has been accomplished through the internal Innovation Award launched in 2011. Open to any Nestlé employee, entries for this award have risen from just seventy in 2011 to two thousand in 2014. The remarkable quality of the submissions is reflected in the fact that winning schemes have generated lasting and tangible contributions to the company, such as the hugely popular Baked Kit Kat and the Kit Kat Chocolatory shops.


As Mr. Kozo states in the final chapter, anyone can help their company increase its profits, just by thinking differently.



  1. Introduction

  2. Who are my customers? Where is the problem? The Mindset of a Successful Business

  3. Grasping the Essence: The Principles of a Successful Business.

  4. Nurturing Innovation: Growing a Successful Business

  5. Changing the Norm: The Strategy to a Successful Business

  6. Providing Solutions to Customers: Partnering to Create a Successful Business

  7. Conclusion

About the Author

The CEO of Nestlé Japan from 2010-present, Mr. Takaoka Kozo is a thirty-year veteran of the company. He entered Nestlé Japan upon graduating from Kobe University's School of Business Administration in 1983. Since then, he has been at the forefront of many of his company's successes. He was appointed CEO of Nestlé Confectionery in 2005 and then CEO of Nestlé Japan in 2010.

Under Mr. Kozo's leadership, Nestlé enjoys immense popularity across Japan as a household brand. These include establishing Kit Kat as one of the nation's favorite chocolates, and establishing a new, sustainable business model through the Nescafé Ambassador campaign. He was appointed as Japan Council to the World Marketing Summit in 2014 and also named Internationalist of the Year in 2015. Mr. Kozo strives to make the Nestlé business model an inspiration for other companies conducting business in economically developed countries.


PublicationSeptember, 2015
ISBN978 - 4046011640