With a market share of about 30 per cent, Au is the second largest mobile carrier in Japan, where there is an increasing competition to provide low-cost service and develop new phone functions. Our task was to establish Au’s own identity in this fiercely competitive market and to find effective ways to communicate the product’s innovative design. Our goal was to create and introduce a new design-focused functionality in a market where there are more function-oriented designs. We decided to use the idea of 'ply – layers' as a design motif that would allow us to incorporate new functions without having to change the design. The six-layered mobile phone that resulted was named Ply. Ply had a totally new look, with a mobile terminal that evokes various impressions as each layer has a different colour and function. We presented the product at a paper craft exhibition in order to showcase its attractions in an emotional manner, rather than as a new technology. Of the 291,675 exhibition visitors, 83 per cent favoured the product, 84 per cent gave the design quality a good rating, and 82.5 per cent answered that their impression of the company had improved.
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