Born three months after the Japanese earthquake in 2011, it almost makes sense for the national multi-functional app to be founded on emotion in a time that executive officer and general manager for LINE’s advertising business group Shintaro Tabata refers to “when keeping in touch is very crucial”.
Since its establishment two years ago, LINE, which only has 700 employees in Japan, has amassed more than 230 million global users with more than 80% being overseas.
Though the application offers typical services like graphics, video call and social games, he said that LINE’s edge lies in its ability to shrink the gap between couples in long-distanced relationships through gimmicky stickers.
Tabata claims 40% of couples admit they communicated more with LINE and that 30% allegedly said their relationships have improved.
“When you need to express your soul or your feelings via words, it’s very restricted and unnatural; so we’ve concluded that emotion is more important than information, and we’ve created stickers,” he told an audience at Social Media Matters conference in Hong Kong.
Like most multi-function applications, LINE is mining new fields by serving as a marketing platform for clients like KFC, McDonald’s, Ralph Lauren and Suntory, to name but a few.
How? By getting users to buy or download “stickers” in store and using these stickers to viral out the brand.
“We hope to join above the line and below the line and make that line disappear.”