Sayonara Kitty? Lessons to be learned from Hello Kitty


In my last posting I wrote about an excellent New York Times article on the flagging fortunes of Hello Kitty.  Reporter Hiroko Tibuchi in her article, “In Search of Adorable, as Hello Kitty Gets Closer to Goodbye” provided some excellent lessons to be learned from Hello Kitty’s current problems. 

In this posting, let’s look of some of those:

1. Make sure that you create an intellectual property that lends itself to multi-media platforms. In the case of Hello Kitty, it seems that when they originally designed her, no one thought that not giving her a mouth would be a problem. It was, however, to become a huge problem as with no mouth you can’t break into animated TV.  Why not add a mouth?  San Rio tried but it infuriated Hello Kitty fans who loved her mouth less appearance.

2. Don’t get too carried away or you will wear out your welcome. San Rio forgot that important lesson and put Hello Kitty on everything from t-shirts to toilet paper to toasters. While in Hong Kong last January, I noticed the prominent Hello Kitty promotion going on in 7-11 convenience stores. I thought it odd that a brand so

perceived as middle and up market was being merchandised in a place that was known for the “Slurpy.”  Talk about getting carried away.

3. Make sure that you have a strong back story. Besides her love for cookies, we really don’t know much about Hello Kitty or her friends. As the article puts it: “[T]hat biography is not compelling enough to draw many fans, according to analysts, who cite weak characterization as a drawback in Sanrio’s product lines.”

4. And finally, aim for girls still in elementary school. Grab them and you not only have them for life but for their children's lives as well.

Hello Kitty may be losing some luster but we can learn from her mistakes. Hang in there Kitty.

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