“Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa” (Baer, 2011). The concept of aiming to create a strong representational image to the public of what your company has to offer, and the values it holds. This is a key factor for companies in business as the way the product/service is branded determines the consumers you will attract; further consideration needs to be taken into what the brand will say about the consumer. For example, Ralph Lauren and Primark are both clothing stores, yet Ralph Lauren has a brand representation of wealth, style and generally caters for the middle/higher classes. In comparison Primark (which does have nice clothes), is the quick and cheap go to option for clothes buying. It can be seen that branding plays an important role as the idea transcends the transaction between business and consumer, further playing a role in how one is perceived and judged by the rest of society; hence when buying a product or service the customer may sometimes be happier to pay more, simply for the brand.
One company that has a strong and dominant brand is Pokémon, which as of February 2016 is celebrating it’s 20th year – furthermore it is a brand which no matter what age you are or your location in the world, you will have heard of. It is estimated that the Pokémon company make 1.5 billion dollars of profit annually (Taylor, 2014), earning more money than NASCAR or Sony pictures. Starting in 1996 in Japan with anime, manga, trading cards and original Gameboy games the Pokémon company has grown rapidly, this was after the mass success the company had in Japan therefore in 1998 the games and anime was released to North America, then globally. Pokémon’s success can be attributed to it’s smart branding technique, the concept is primarily aimed at children which it has mass success in, yet it also relies on another tactic which is nostalgia. Pokémon is a multiplatform brand, delivering it’s products/services to the public through the means of, TV programmes, video games, trading card games, manga, apps, clothing, merchandise etc. This technique of being so diverse in distribution is what lets it second branding technique to come into play. Due to the 20-year life span of Pokémon most people will have interacted with some form of the franchise as a child ergo attaching childhood memories to this. The company then re-releases old games/anime’s which have been retouched with the latest tech which draws back people who played the games 10/15 years ago to reinvest in the company, pulling on the childhood attachment. This is a technique that works as sales of each new product still reaches far into the tens of millions, quintessentially the Pokémon company hooks you like a fish as a child then when you age a begin to drift away from the franchise they reel you back in. It is a method that has proved to work and seems like it will still work into the future as the anime is now on it’s 19th season with around 17 movies released (Bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net, 2016), and with another new generation to be released in 2016 they are continuously drawing children all around the world into the franchise who they will then be able to draw back in another 10 years down the line. Overall an extremely effective marketing method for ensuring consumer interest by indoctrinating the young, and then using that nostalgic youth to draw them back in.
(Also notable, for a franchise built around children’s games, Microsoft Word also autocorrects any misspellings of the word Pokémon and adds the hyphen over the ‘e’).
Baer, J. (2011). 30 Branding Definitions – Heidi Cohen. [online] Heidi Cohen. Available at: http://heidicohen.com/30-branding-definitions/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2016].
Bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net. (2016). Season – Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia. [online] Available at: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Season [Accessed 1 Mar. 2016].
Taylor, S. (2014). The Pokémon Company Makes $1.5 Billion Annually | Nintendo News. [online] Nintendo News. Available at: http://nintendonews.com/news/general/pokemon-company-billion-annually/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2016].