Theory and strategies of anthropomorphic brand characters from Peter Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, and Ronald McDonald, to Hello Kitty

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Brand characters are ubiquitous in marketing. Previous studies establish their relevance in advertising. Surprisingly, little research exists on how to build and sustain brand characters. Adopting a case-study approach, this paper explores the brand management strategies of Sanrio's iconic character Hello Kitty, a cat epitomising cuteness and innocence. Findings indicate that eight tactics help to build and sustain the Hello Kitty brand: keep it simple, character licensing, third-party collaboration, capitalising on nostalgia, product-line extensions, brand extensions, sustaining consumer interests, and harnessing technology. The paper also identifies some challenges facing Hello Kitty.

Keywords: Hello Kitty; anthropomorphic marketing; brand characters; brand extensions; brand management; licensing; nostalgia; third-party collaborations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Royal Holloway, University of London, UK 2: SKEMA Business School, France 3: University of Hawai'i at Hilo, USA 4: Sanrio Hong Kong, Hong Kong,

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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