Keep up with the aesthetic changes of young people

Editor’s note: This article is from WeChat public account “something Entertainment” (ID: EW-Entertainment), author Tang Hongyang KoyoTang.

Guide reading

HelloKitty celebrates its 45th birthday this year. Sanrio, founded in 1960, adheres to the business philosophy of “SmallGiftBigSmile” and has since created more than 450 characters. It has formed a gift product planning and sales, IP. Operations, authorized businesses, theme parks and many other businesses.

This year, after the European Union issued a fine of more than 600 million euros on the grounds of violating the competition law, there have been many voices in the industry that have squandered the big factory that is authorized to do business.

At the financial level, this singer came earlier, and Sanrio’s performance peaked in 2013, and it has remained sluggish for the next four years. Sanrio’s total turnover in 2018 reached 59.12 billion yen, down 1.8% year-on-year. Operating profit was 4.786 billion yen, a year-on-year decrease of 16.5%.

In addition to Sanrio, looking at the world, the old IP encounters a “middle-age crisis” with no precedent. Snoopy, which has generated more than $30 million in revenues in more than 100 countries, has been wilting in recent years. MetLife, a life insurance company that has been using Snoopy to produce advertisements, has stopped using the Snoopy image. The contract will be terminated in 2019.

The Sanrio of “Year Near Flower”, the influence of its role image continues to decline, and has to start thinking about the transformation of IP business methods. In addition to cooperating with Netflix to launch the animated series “Chongba Liezi” series, Sanrio’s “head artist” HelloKitty’s filming rights were also handed over to the new line of Hollywood Warner Bros.

Sanrio, who is strongly bound to the term “character economy,” and Disney represent two distinct ways of doing business. Why doesn’t the content-based IP stand in the “content is the way”, Sanrio needs answer.

Sanrio: How is the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

Self-innovation:Sanrio’s three “rejuvenation” initiatives

1) Create touch points: offline + numbers, reach customers’ daily lives

Sanrio CDO (TaiwanDigitalOfficer) believes that Sanrio provides “goods” and “places” for better contact between people, providing a unique “field”, surrounded by Sanrio. This conducts business development.

Sanrio now has more than 200 sales outlets in Japan. In Tanaka’s view, Sanrio’s business value chain begins at the storefront. The customer first buys a certain product with a character image, and then recognizes the character image. Then the power of the character image drives the customer to consume other types. Product, this is the key to Sanrio’s nurturing role.

Tanaka also said that the attractive role is not enough to support the development of the business, in order to “cultivate” the image IP, it needs to be recognized by customers. To this end, Sanrio needs to create a contact point between the image IP and the customer. In the past, this contact point came from offline stores and theme parks. Due to the development of the times, the attention of young people, including children, Many places are moving to the line, and Sanrio is now working on both offline and digital.

The offline touch points include the offline store SanrioShop, the theme park SanrioPuroland, HarmonyLand, and the recent popularity of Instagram, Sanrio has also had to increase the net red card shop – role cafe.

In terms of numbers, in addition to emoticons, Sanrio’s official website and online sales stores, Sanrio has opened accounts for many SNSs to better reach customers’ daily lives. . For example, Kitty opened a channel on YouTube, contributed to Kitty related videos, and Melody, lazy egg open Twitter account, and made occasional tweets that match the character image.

Sanrio: How is the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

2) Theme parks broaden the age layer and use social marketing to create red checkpoints

But before exploring the online touchpoint, Sanrio, who was in a loss state, needed to inject the active agent into the existing business to get more reserves for subsequent development.

The most eye-catching feature of Sanrio’s performance this year is the Sanrio Puroland theme park. The Nikkei News evaluated the success of the Sanrio Theme Park with a “V-Bounce”.

From 1992 to 2013, the performance of the Sanrio theme park continued to be sluggish. Komiya Aya has served as Purolan since 2014.The new curator, Sanrio Puroland, created the highest number of visitors since its opening in 2016, reaching 1.8 million. In 2017, the number of visitors to the Sanrio theme park once again set a record, reaching 1.98 million, and it also performed better in 2018.

Since taking office, the new curator, Aya Ya, has started some adult-oriented activities, inviting popular actors and singers to come to the park, and does not regularly hold night clubs, Halloween haunted houses and other activities, which will always face small The child’s “SANRIOPUROLAND!” is more inclusive and attracts more young people to visit.

Sanrio: How does the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

In addition, Puroland also introduces well-known stage plays, such as the introduction of the Shochiku stage play “Kawataro to the KAWAIIKABUKI~HELLOKITTY” and the stage play “MEMORYBOYS~Reminiscence Shop” by NELKEPLANNING.

Puroland also began to pay attention to the use of SNS, and carried out extensive topic marketing for the F1 layer (20-34 year old female group), further promoting Puroland to become a red spot.

3) “Headman” business: set KPI, sales with content-assisted characters

Sanrio has a big family, but not in a universe. The role of Sanrio is not linked in each other’s world. The only chance for them to appear on the same stage is in the anniversary celebration. Sanrio has launched more than 450 characters, and in addition to Kitty, Melody, Gemini, lazy eggs, pudding dogs, etc., have gained a certain popularity.

The successor of Taro Taro is now the deputy director of Sanrio, who previously served as the head of the Sanrio marketing department, role design department, and film preparation department.

辻朋邦 said that the logic of Sanrio’s role is very much like the logic of an artist’s brokerage company. Sanrio is responsible for the design, launch and marketing of the character image. After the market test, it has a high popularity. The head artist will get more resources.

辻朋邦’s mid-term results conference in November 2017 showed that in the future, Sanrio will set KPIs for each role to promote concentrated investment and add new AR, VR, etc. to Sanrio stores. The technology is set up to enhance the role branding capabilities and expand the licensing business, while at the same time, will vigorously set up an independent e-commerce channel.

Sanrio is not doing content, but with content-assisted roles.The sales, founder Yu Shintaro has publicly stated that Sanrio is a company that makes merchandise roles, and Sanrio’s role is designed for sales.

As early as the early 1970s, Sanrio set his sights on the animation field, set up an animation studio inside the company, and produced the first film “LittleJumbo.” The content is very obvious for the role of IP, the film is very popular in Japan, directly promoting Sanrio’s local performance continues to grow.

In addition, from April 2018, the “Chongba Liezi” broadcast on the Netflix platform depicts the young women’s workplace life, making the image of the sturdy more deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, and let Sanrio further see the content-to-role. The sales action.

Sanrio: How does the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

Hollywood’s film adaptation of Japanese IP in recent years is also very hot. The film and television adaptation of the Pokémon series has greatly promoted the sales of Pokémon related derivatives. In March of this year, Sanrio also officially announced that Kitty’s film and television rights were handed over to Hollywood’s new line of film.

Industry change:Changes and upgrades in Japanese IP creation methods

1) The role of the Internet gene image emerges

Undoubtedly, young people are increasingly spending their time online, reaching young people through online content is becoming one of the best options for incubating IP.

According to “Nikkei MJ” “The 8th Network Life 10,000 Survey”, it is known that among the social software most frequently used by Japanese people, Line has an overwhelming sense of existence.

Backed by Line, Internetphile’s expression pack brand LineFriends also successfully completed IP, and opened a number of stores online, LineFriends’ offline store has also become a network red card resort.

Sanrio: How does the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

The number of IPs that start with emoticons is endless. LineFriends’ advantage lies in its branded operations. After 59 years of development, Sanrio has formed a kind of recognition in the hearts of consumers that “giving a big gift with a small gift”Know that this is also the brand tonality of Sanrio’s flagship. LineFriends is deeply rooted in the hearts of people.

2) Media environment changes and IP efficiency improvements

Sanrio CMO Kimura Shinqin believes that the role economic market has undergone great changes, and the popularity of the game characters, movie characters, etc., has become more and more popular around the world. Coupled with the popularity of video distribution services such as Netflix and YouTube, IP is more diverse than in the past. “Under such an environment, we can only work hard to differentiate ourselves from the roles of other companies and continue to change.”

At the end of August 2018, Kitty “debuted” as a vtuber on YouTube, followed by a lazy egg that opened YouTubeChannel on December 14.

Kimura believes that the best way to capture the attention of young people is to follow the form of things they like.

The character image created by Sanrio is also a virtual image category. With the changes in social platforms and video platforms, creating virtual images based on platform characteristics is improving the efficiency of IP creation.

Sanrio: How does the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

This is especially evident in China, especially in the short video field. The image of the original budding bear, pig fart, and stiff fish has already had a million fans in the whole network. In the original “offline touch” of Sanrio, the online operation of avatar can improve the efficiency of IP.

In addition, the vtuber wave that has emerged in Japan in recent years has also promoted the IP of the head vtuber image. For example, the high-profile recognition has been carried out with a number of companies.

In addition, the short video platform + emoticon mode has also enabled QUAN to receive 400 million yen in financing in February this year. QUAN has well-known images such as Betakuma, BusinessFish, Erisu, etc. There are also emoticons on WeChat. This round of funding will be used for online content expansion of the character image.

Sanrio’s marketing department was newly established in 2018. Kimura said that Sanrio should be a companion, so he must keep up with the changes in young people’s aesthetics, use new technologies and new marketing methods to cultivate roles for the future.

Based on Japan’s “small gift culture,” Sanrio’s idea of ​​connecting gifts with friendships creates a touch point between the character image and the customer, initially with “retail-driven role IP,The business model of “playing other retails with role IP” opened the market.

1) Character image + small object

The 1960s when Sanrio was born coincided with the burgeoning period of the Japanese role economy. At that time, the TV animation “Astro Boy” was broadcasted, which led to the sale of related toys and printed materials.

At the time, Sanrio had not yet sold character goods, and Japan was not yet known as “cute”.

Founder Taro Taro found that adding some cute patterns to some small things, such as adding a small strawberry to the slippers and teacups, will make the products have better sales performance than similar competitors.

Sanrio, who tasted the sweetness, then signed the famous illustrator Shui Sen Ya Tu and Liu Wei, and once won the sales rights of the popular Peanuts series products in Japan. But Sanrio needs to constantly pay royalties, which is another opportunity for Shintaro to officially shift the direction of the company’s business to selling character goods.

In 1974, Shintaro and Sanrio designer Shimizu Yuki investigated the most popular animals in the world, avoided some dogs that were evasive, and chose the second most popular white cat. Prototype, began to make the first product with a white cat pattern – a cute and welcoming coin purse, the “Wello!” on the coin purse, the name of HelloKitty came from this.

Sanrio: How is the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

Kitty is a collection of all the cute elements that are very popular among women and children. As Kitty’s sales in Japan grow, so does the setting behind it.

2) Create contact points through offline stores

After Japan’s success, in the 1970s, Kitty began to enter the US market. The biggest difficulty Kitty faced when entering the US market was that she did not have a movie, cartoon or comics, unlike a similar brand or product line.

Because parents are paying for toys, parents usually consider the characters that have appeared in the animation.

In the first few years in the United States, the Asians represented by Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans were mainly paying attention. “Boys have Bruce Lee and girls have Kitty.” Kitty’s Asian identity has attracted Asian groups. favorite. But this did not reach the expected sales of Shintaro.

Sanrio also found the toy company CHILDGUIDANCE of Sesame Street to help Kitty enter the US toy market, andDid not play any twists.

The turning point is the change in business strategy. In 1976, Sanrio opened its first store in San Jose, Calif., and Sanrio began to promote a concept. In Sanrio’s store, there are more categories and faster new frequencies, Shintaro It has been publicly stated that unlike other companies in the market, a company may launch 100,000 identical products, and Sanrio will launch one thousand different types of products at the same time. This new marketing concept begins. It works.

Sanrio: How does the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

Sanrio puts kitty on anything, and the rich line of offline stores attracts a large number of children. In the shops of commercial facilities, children’s play areas are arranged, some games can be played, and children can be touched. To the goods. The longer the stay time, the more opportunities you have to reach out to the product, and the impression of the brand will be deeper, resulting in purchase behavior. Sanrio gradually opened up the US market.

In 2014, there were 50,000 Kitty cat brand products worldwide, and Sanrio was the sixth largest licensee in the world with retail sales of $6.5 billion.

3) Update IP settings to maintain popularity

In the late 1970s, Sanrio launched more and more characters, and faced competition from internal roles. Kitty was almost forgotten. Fortunately, “Kitty’s mother” Yamaguchi Yuko updated Kitty’s settings. And pushed Kitty to continue to rise since then.

Yamaguchi Yuko has been working for Sanrio since 1978. She believes that the personality of the company designed to attract Japanese girls in Kitty has not been maximized. In 1980, Yuko became the designer of Kitty. She began to change the design of the original designer, put on a variety of clothes for Kitty, followed the popular hotspots, and designed various trend shapes for Kitty, such as letting Kitty dress up at that time. The look of a teddy bear that American girls like very much.

Yoko’s design is always up to date. Under Sanrio’s product line, Kitty’s product update speed and frequency are very high, and it has also spawned a large number of Kitty collectors, mostly adults. This makes Kitty’s gameplay very close to the current “tidal play” concept.

Sanrio: How is the 45-year-old Hello Kitty

Kitty caught up with the Japanese pop culture trend and became the hottest character of Sanrio. In addition, Sanrio has also enabled artists and designers to create more aesthetically pleasing products for other characters.