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Japanese For Anyone (Really!) Strategy

An Innovative Guide to Practical Japanese

‘Japanese For Anyone (Really!)’ is a language book teaching beginners how to speak Japanese in Japan. Author, Deanna J. Wright, is combining her personal experience as an expat, her innovative teaching style, and unique cultural insights to develop a guide unlike any other.


We conducted a series of workshops and audience research to inform the book’s content, tone, marketing, and design. Throughout this process we gained a deeper understanding of the target customers, defined the brand’s personality, and articulated its unique positioning and offer.

If you'd like to support Deanna with this project or learn more about her book, please visit

Deanna J. Wright

Brand Strategy



Defining the goal

There are hundreds of books available for learning how to speak Japanese, but many teach irrelevant words and phrases, lack in-depth explanations, and simply aren’t engaging to read.


Our goal was to discover the frustrations and unmet needs learners face with competing books, communicate how JFA does things differently,  and determine how the book should look, feel, and sound whilst maintaining Deanna’s authentic voice and vision.

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Uncovering motivations

JFA is a deeply personal project, with the style and content being driven by Deanna’s own struggles with learning Japanese. We began by getting to the root of what this book intends to achieve and how this connects to the reader experience, helping us to form the vision, mission, and purpose.


We discovered a strong desire to cultivate independence, confidence, and comfort by helping learners use the language accurately, change how they approach learning, and nurture their interest in language and culture.

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Brand personality

In our initial discussions, we learned that JFA is notably positive in the way it communicates with readers. Where other books emphasise how difficult Japanese is within the very first pages, JFA  is adamant that anyone can learn when taught effectively.


Digging deeper into the brand’s personality, we determined that the book is also practical, relatable, and conscious about aesthetics. JFA is a well-considered book with a human feel led by strong values, and this contributes significantly to how it differs from the competition.

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Audience research

During the audience research phase, we tapped into the Japanese ‘studygram’ community on Instagram to learn more about the language learning experience as a beginner. A particularly interesting insight was the correlation between self-belief, cultural interest, and the ability to progress. Having cultural context appears to increase the emotional bond with the language and reduce the friction with learning it, further aided by having a positive mindset.

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We conducted further research into the reader experiences of competing books, with common frustrations including unreliable material, no pronunciation aids, poor visual presentation, and lack of expected information. We determined that JFA needs to clearly manage expectations of who the book is and isn’t for, ensure information is reviewed by a native speaker, and address unmet needs through content and design.

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Audience personas

Using our newfound insights about the audience and Deanna’s existing knowledge , we distilled the information into two personas: The Anxious Beginner and The Casual Traveller. It became clear that JFA’s practical information needs to be immediately applicable to aid conversation, and cultural context is necessary for limiting misunderstandings and awkward encounters.

“The target audience personas are helping me to restructure my book to make sure the reader’s needs are addressed. It makes me feel more confident about the book's purpose.”


- Deanna J. Wright, Author of Japanese For Anyone (Really!)

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Final workshops

In our final workshops, we explored potential gaps and opportunities through customer journey mapping, competitor analysis, and a brand positioning exercise. We concluded that JFA is built upon a deeper level of awareness and understanding of practical Japanese, and offers a refreshingly positive attitude in the form of an insightful and rewarding guide. Moving forwards, the unique writing style and many benefits of this book can be communicated clearly and concisely.

“Doing something entirely on your own is tough, so having Michelle not be judgemental but rather supportive and guiding as I word-vomited all my ideas and goals for this book encouraged me a lot.


My long rants and disorganised thoughts were articulated in a more digestible and straightforward way, and looking at all these different aspects in the strategy process made it feel less overwhelming.”


- Deanna J. Wright, Author of Japanese For Anyone (Really!)

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Deanna J. Wright

Point North Brand Co.

Michelle Lyons


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