Makoto Ikemoto: Driving Success By Kindness & Discipline

Makoto Ikemoto: Driving Success By Kindness & Discipline

 Makoto Ikemoto,    Managing Director

Makoto Ikemoto

Managing Director

MYan mar is slowly upping the charts as a growing economy, primarily because of the business leaders in the country who are upbeat about steadfast growth strategies. The country’s entrepreneurial community's contribution is an important merge for its progress. Considering the commitment shown by the go-getters to promote an enterprising environment in the nation, CEO Insights decided to honour a few remarkable businessmen in Myanmar. In our quest, we found that Makoto Ikemoto is one such dynamic stalwart who leveraged profuse opportunities to emerge as a leader. Today he is leading Pocari Sweat (Otsuka Myanmar, a trusted nutraceutical brand from the house of Otsuka Pharmaceuticals of Japan) as the Managing Director.

There is indeed a lot to learn from their journeys. With tremendous determination and excellent business acumen, he has not just achieved success but also inspired several young sters to improve the world’s health. Engaging in an exclusive interaction with the CEOInsights Asia team, Ikemoto highlights the distinctive details of his journey.

Give a brief note about your professional journey.

I joined Otsuka’s Pharmaceuticals (Japan) in 2013, and later I became the incharge of the nutraceutical business in the Myanmar market. My career began in Singapore and I got an opportunity to move to Japan and work with brands like Frito Lay (an American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures snack foods), primarily contributing to the R&D. Today, at Otsuka Myanmar, I mainly focus on promoting our brand Pocari Sweat, which is a health drink that contains ions (electrolytes), resembles the natural fluid of the human body which is inspired by the idea of a drinkable I.V. Solution. Quickly and easily replenishes the water and ions in your body. Suitable for people who are likely to sweat a lot or easily get dehydrated.

Define Pocari Sweat’s position as organization. Describe your leadership style to bring success to all.

I have been spearheading Pocari Sweat since its launch and have seen the firm evolve from scratch. Today, we are recognized as a unique and creative brand and to achieve this position, we have always prioritized idea creation, creative operation and marketing activity. All of our Otsuka people working for Pocari Sweat are always encouraged to generate new ideas and implement them in the right way to inspire people and differentiate themselves from others. Such ideas are propelled by frank discussion.

Moreover, I always explain that a firm must be kind and disciplined. We must take care of our colleagues like a friend and at the same time stay professional bycompleting all the tasks on time with uncompromised quality. As a company, we always seek the best results with consistent performance and continuous improvement. We ensure that our people focus on improving themselves, and improve each other while being kind and disciplined.

We ensure that our people focus on improving themselves & improve each other while being kind and disciplined


What are the fundamental factors you look into when developing effective corporate growth strategies?

The most important for our existence is our corporate philosophy of 'Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide'. These words embody our dedication to contributing to people's health anywhere in the world where we are having a business. Following this philosophy, we have defined the objective of hanging people's habits to be healthier by educating them and spreading awareness.

How do you ensure to make the company’s offerings stay on the competitive edge among its peers in the market?

Our product is not an ordinary beverage, it’s a functional beverage and we have to share our functionality and benefit with the people; i.e., we need to educate them, which is usually boring. Thereby, we always need to pack education and fun together.

Moreover, we will never do something which any company can do easily, and always try to be unique. For instance, we have hosted Pocari Sweat Run events since 2016 - to promote good health and exercise. Initially, people were hesitant but now realized the benefits of it. We have been organizing one of the biggest running events in Myanmar with a lot of positive feedback.

 Makoto Ikemoto,   Managing Director

What are the challenges you face and how do you tackle them?

I always enjoy working and facing some challenges which other people think are difficult. I would say that, don’t consider it as a pressure and perhaps enjoy the difficult situation. I like the process of getting through hurdles or stumbling blocks. However, tackling such situations cannot happen if you are alone. You should have good information sources to find solutions and somebody to rely upon; it could be friends, family, boss, colleagues, or subordinates. Whenever I face any difficulty, I always discuss it with others and then try to find a solution how we go through.

Where are you headed in the next five years and what are the impacts you strive to create through your future goals?

Health is the biggest contribution that I can offer through my work. For the next five years, my motto is the same direction of improving the world’s health through my work. I have been in the F&B space for a long time now and generated many ideas, and from now on it is about helping the young generation to come up with ideas and  innovate in this industry to have a healthy future. In my opinion, it is my responsibility and fortune as well.

Makoto Ikemoto, Managing Director, Pocari Sweat (Otsuka Myanmar)

A business development professional who holds a degree from the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology at Okayama University and a master's degree in Technology and Innovation Management from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. An innovative and resilient leader, Makoto Ikemoto carries nearly 20 years of experience in the FMCG industry. He is an expert in Marketing Management, Business Planning, Management, Product Marketing, Marketing, sales and distribution.

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