Alicia Lee Roh, Public Relations Senior Manager, LINE

Never reject ideas seemingly ridiculous or unfeasible.

At least that’s what Japanese chat app LINE‘s Public Relations Senior Manager, Alicia Lee Roh, shared when she met the press in a casual tea session yesterday.

One recurring topic during our meet was the origin of the first four characters on LINE, namely Cony, Brown, Moon and James. According to Lee, the cute and lifelike characters were the brainchildren of a shy part-time designer, who has now been promoted to lead the Graphic Studio department in the company.

One day, Akira Morikawa, CEO, LINE Corp, told everyone in the company to pose him a question. Possibly afraid of what the other members might think of his idea, the young man (whose name has not been disclosed) hid behind Morikawa to avoid detection. However, his camouflage wasn’t too impressive, and his turn finally arrived. After much persuasion, he asked, “Can we have a corporate character (like a mascot)?”

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Everyone laughed. Apparently, they had thought that he was asking a question for the sake of asking one. While it might have seemed ridiculous at that point, the firm eventually did something about the idea. Now, LINE’s four original characters have become quite the cash cow for the company, in terms of sticker and other merchandise sales. In fact, the firm announced last August that it has been generating US$10 million in sticker sales per month.

Now, almost every user of LINE knows Cony, Brown, James and Moon.

Well, there is always a moral of the story. In this case, find that shy part-time designer in your company, and ask him or her questions. Chances are, you will find treasure where you least expect to look. In addition, don’t shoot down ridiculous ideas just because they seem unfeasible initially. Look into the matter, and the idea might just become your next cash cow.