Mitsubishi Corporation : Selling itself short

Mitsubishishareholders click to view

Opaque wording sinks promotion of a rare service.

The Site

Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s largest trading company, undersells a rare service for individual shareholders despite giving it prominent billing.

Mitsubishi Corporation has a standalone website catering to individual shareholders and private investors that it links to throughout the global site’s Investor Relations section. The link is in the form of a picture panel that features on the section home page and low down the right-hand column of other pages, where scrolling is often required to reveal it. The wording overlaid on a picture of blue sky and white cloud says: ‘To Our Investors. Communicating more with our stakeholders’. An icon indicates the link will launch a new window.

Clicking on the panel opens a staging page for the shareholder website in the new secondary window. This says: ‘Redirecting to “Our Investors,” Mitsubishi Corporation’s website for individual investors and shareholders’. Users must click on a further link ( to launch the site. The treatment is identical on the Japanese- and English-language versions of the global site.

The Takeaway

Mitsubishi Corporation’s individual shareholder website is a rare extension of a service that itself is a rarity on company sites. As well as providing a tailored platform for small or inexperienced investors where their needs, rather than those of the professional investment community, are paramount, the service and its extensive promotion also send them the welcoming message that their value to the company is recognised. It is, however, a message they may never decipher.

The root of the problem is in the opaque wording of the promotional panel. The term ‘our investors’ does not convey the meaning of ‘individual shareholders’ which is obviously intended but becomes apparent only when (or if) the staging page is reached. Without that clear prompt initially, many will pass over the panel or judge it to be the gateway to a stakeholder-themed corporate statement rather than a practical service. Giving it a sharper sell surely shouldn’t be beyond the wit of a major trading company.

First published on 15 December, 2009