‘Hello Kitty’: A Japanese Superbrand

‘Hello Kitty’: A Japanese Superbrand

To trace the evolution and growth of a hugely popular global brand.

Hello Kitty was the name of a cartoon cat developed in 1974 by Sanrio Co. Ltd. (Sanrio), a Japanese company that sold character-branded goods in Japan and other parts of the world. Sanrio initially used the character to adorn petty merchandise like coin purses and pencil boxes targeted at small girls. However, after Hello Kitty became hugely popular, Sanrio extended the brand to a variety of other products. By the early 2000s, Hello Kitty featured on products ranging from vacuum cleaners to DVD players, toilet paper to cars, and computers to candy, and was thought to be one of the most powerful brands in the world. This case discusses the reasons for the popularity of Hello Kitty, and tries to analyze the unique features of the brand. It also talks about the various steps Sanrio took over the years to revive and reinvent Hello Kitty when sales showed signs of flagging. The role of celebrity endorsements in creating brand value is also discussed. The case concludes with a commentary on Sanrio’s efforts to convert Hello Kitty into a luxury brand.


  1. To trace the evolution and growth of a hugely popular global brand.

  2.   To understand the strategies companies adopt to revive and reinvent brands.

  3. To examine the role of celebrity endorsements in creating brand value.

  4. To analyze the role of licensing in extending a brand. 

  5. To study the role of co-branding in branded-goods market.

  6. To examine the pitfalls involved in over-extending a brand, and to analyze whether a brand with a primarily juvenile image can be extended successfully to luxury products.

Image result for popular global brand.

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