How TaylorMade Alters Their Designs for Japan Market
Today I am continuing the series on Japanese Golf Club Designs. In today’s post you will get to see firsthand how a major brand like TaylorMade Golf changes their designs and business model in 2 separate countries.
The two major markets for golf club sales in the world are the United States and Japan. But, like I explained in previous articles (Japanese Golf Market and The Best Designs You Have Never Seen) the actual designs that get released in the two countries can vary widely.
How The Two Differ
Here is an example of why there are usually two different designs for the two different markets. This example has nothing to do with TaylorMade but it has always stuck with me since it happened. I was designing a set of irons for a large component company probably 5 years ago or so when this occurred. They had requested a certain type of iron and I had agreed to give them a few samples to take a look at to get started. The next morning I had emailed them about 20 ideas to choose from to narrow their selection down. The owner of the company I was working for looked them over briefly and quickly said, “I like the BLUE one!” He had not even had a chance to look over the designs yet. I said to myself. “Ok, he is just thinking out loud and will probably go through them and make more comments.” But I was wrong, he was done, he had settled on his decision by only seeing the color of a badge in the cavity of the iron. I was surprised, but it was not until later that I asked him why he had chosen that particular model. His response shocked me, he said that his customer in Japan wants the decal to be blue and modern looking. He had a customer in Japan that had agreed to buy about 2500 sets of irons from him if they were blue and looked COOL. Now this does not represent the entire Japanese market, but this theme became more common over the next couple years. I was doing a lot more designs and doing a lot more research on the Japanese Golf Industry. And one of the first things that stood out to me was how the early stages of the design process differed between the two markets.
Early Design Stages
In the Japanese market the early design stages tend to be based more on the aesthetics or looks where as the US market seems to base their first brainstorming sessions on the technology side. Although, the later stages of development for the club are very similar. For example: R&D, prototyping, testing, finishing, etc. are usually all done the same. But the difference in those first few days of development is what produces such a distinction between the US and Japanese designs.
Here is a look at some of the differences at TaylorMade for 2008:
Taylormade Japan 2008 XR Driver
TaylorMade US 2008 Tour Burner