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Cuteness Everywhere! Exploring the World of Sanrio-Branded Everything

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What is it about Sanrio?
Sanrio is a global powerhouse when it comes to the world of must-have kawaii goods! Perhaps you’ve seen a whole store dedicated to the brand near where you live, or you’ve had a Hello Kitty trinket since before you can even remember, not to mention your favorite Cinnamoroll plushie from your trip to Japan a few years ago. It’s truly hard to say 'no' to any kawaii Sanrio character you see! This Japanese brand is a master of collaboration and inventive creativity, and we’d like to showcase today how individual characters interact with the items and merchandise that they embellish, and how that, in turn, translates into a lot of satisfied customers!

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Perfectly Suited for an International Audience

First though, it’s imperative to discuss why Sanrio and in particular certain characters such as Hello Kitty are so popular and endearing to people all over the world. It’s been said that one of the most important reasons is due to its sheer ease of internationalization. Besides in the one-off animated series that are produced from time to time and feature a range of cute and lovable characters which needs to be translated from the Japanese language to others, these mascots usually don’t have a voice. Therefore, they often do not have a pre-determined personality, and tend to have a broader appeal than they might if there was a set sense of personhood instilled in them from the get-go, as in characters like Popeye for instance, or even a multitude of Disney characters, you name it. A set personality is great for characters and helps to make them relatable to certain people, but when you can foster a sense of relatability on your own like with the somewhat blank-slate offerings from Japan’s Sanrio, it’s a fundamental difference compared to most mascot character worlds.

Image via shutterstock.com

A Canvas-Like Approach

In addition to the canvas-like approach that many Sanrio characters and their related goods employ, another facet that has led to success is the simple fact that each cute character has a base design, yet this base design can be transformed into a myriad of personas just by changing the colors, details, or design elements within the base lines. With an endless array of possibilities, this makes the brands both instantly recognizable yet always customizable at the same time. Of course, there are certain characters that have stronger-willed personalities than others, like Kuromi, for instance, who tends to attract fans of the cute yet strong & defiant.

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The 'Scarcity Principle'

Also mentionable is the ‘scarcity principle’ that is often employed by Sanrio, especially in certain Asian markets, to help drive sales. This kind of branding strategy is a particularly strong magnet for loyal customers, as there are so many items from the brand on the market worldwide, yet when there is an exclusive you’ve just got to have it!

Image via shutterstock.com

The unique and easy-to-personalize attributes of Sanrio characters’ personalities, along with their instantly recognizable forms has pushed many globally popular and strong brands to team up with Sanrio and offer something collaborative and new to the masses. The gamut runs from all types of goods like appliances, fashion, gadgets, even luxury items. Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic collaborations and popular double features that your favorite Japanese characters have done!

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The Collabs!

We can’t start the list without mentioning probably the most iconic collaboration of them all. Eva Air from Taiwan has teamed up more than once with the world famous Hello Kitty to offer unique flight packages wherein the adorable feline decorates almost every aspect of the experience! For example, each guest receives mementos with both the airline logo and Hello Kitty’s likeness, and one of the most popular aspects is the fact that the food served on board is extra kawaii, just like some of those trendy and ornate bento boxes that you might see from time to time on social media. On top of that, the seats and cabin are embellished with Kitty’s iconic ribbon and other small motifs. And to top it all off, the airplane itself is wrapped in a full livery of Hello Kitty goodness, making for a great photo-op both on the tarmac and in the air!

Image via shutterstock.com

Other high profile collaborations have been with–again in Taiwan–the world’s first Hello Kitty branded hospital. And in a similar real estate vein, in a plethora of countries around Asia there have been pop-ups and long-time restaurants, cafes, and other assorted eateries that serve up brand identity with delicious dishes just perfect for sharing on the gram!

The Fashion!

What’s one thing we need to think about each morning? What clothes to wear! Sanrio is a familiar player in the clothing world without a doubt. With collaborations and limited-edition releases from all sorts of globally known brands such as Uniqlo, H&M, Lesportsac, and many more, there’s always a new way to enhance your wardrobe with a new and cute find!

The Cosmetics!

The makeup world is one of the most inventive industries, and seemingly every single day there is a new palette or skincare treatment to explore! Sanrio is right at the forefront with creative new collaborative sets with some of the best loved brands such as The Creme Shop, ColourPop, Shiseido, Wet n Wild, and many more! We’ll say that it definitely makes for an easier morning when there’s something bright and fun to go with the normal makeup routine!

Image via shutterstock.com

Fancy Some Hello Kitty Toast?

Finally, when it comes to food and drinkware, or any kitchen appliances, Sanrio reigns supreme! Who wouldn’t want a Hello Kitty toaster to help with getting the morning started on the right foot? Or, would you fancy a kawaii Cinnamoroll mug for your coffee with a side of bacon & eggs on your Pompompurin plate?

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The Future

The future holds many challenges–but also plenty of opportunities–for Sanrio going forward. With so many cute and lovable characters, plus a practically endless array of items or foods to decorate and embellish, there seems to be no end in sight! The world of Japanese culture manages to innovate well and although there’s strong competition from the digital side that threatens to steal some spotlight, we think that there’s always a space in the analog world to fill with cute and lovable things to make our everyday lives more enjoyable and fun! Let’s pay attention to where Sanrio goes in the future and how the brand navigates the changing media, branding, and even commerce landscapes!

Where do you think Sanrio will go in the future? Let us know your thoughts & ideas in the comments!

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