In autumn of last year, with our 70th anniversary almost upon us, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) Executive Committee (Excom) decided to test the fitness of the chamber by conducting a membership review. Led by Iain Ferguson, president and chief operating officer of Lloyd’s Japan, the review assessed the structure of BCCJ membership categories, benefits, fees and services.
In an ever-evolving marketplace, and with a number of exciting opportunities for UK–Japan relations on the horizon, we want to be sure that our nimble team is delivering value for all our members. Here is a snapshot of our key findings:
The BCCJ now hosts 40 events per year, with attendee numbers having more than doubled from 1,060 in 2011, to 2,200 in 2017. We welcome a more diverse audience from across our membership, as well as from external public and private stakeholder organisations, meaning greater business development opportunities for members and their teams.
Our range of digital services has been significantly expanded. In 2010, we had an online database of members. Today, we have an interactive website that serves as a hub for information on BCCJ activities and UK–Japan business, a weekly newsletter that enjoys an opening rate of almost 40% and a vibrant social media presence—the most successful of any chamber of commerce in Japan. In total, we now utilise nine communication channels to interact with members and the outside world.
The British Business Awards is cemented in the calendar as our flagship event and has grown into a bilateral showcase for UK–Japan commercial success, having welcomed a record 350 guests in 2017 and attracted coverage for our nominees and winners in national print and online media.
The above service enhancements have all been achieved on a static membership fee structure for the past seven years, which includes the absorption of Japan’s consumption tax increase in 2014.
Services and fees are generally comparable to, or more favourable than, similar chambers of commerce or market associations in Japan.
At the conclusion of this review, Excom agreed that a number of changes will be phased in over the next two annual membership renewal periods.
Members will learn more about these changes via letters sent to them by BCCJ President David Bickle.
Designed to increase the long-term sustainability and number of active members at the BCCJ, the changes will help us provide an ever-more vibrant and progressive platform for member firms to access and from which they can benefit. With Brexit negotiations underway, and the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games now within sight, we are genuinely eager to bring unique opportunities to members in all categories. More information about increased member benefits will be posted on the BCCJ website in due course.
If you have any questions about our membership review, please do not hesitate to contact me and the executive team on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 03-6426-5739.
As always, we remain strongly committed to serving all of our members with a full and innovative events programme and useful services, in the overall pursuit of rich and growing UK–Japan commerce.