If you follow me on social media you will know that I have a strong affinity with the little character that goes by the name of Kitty White, or Hello Kitty. At the age of 32 I realise I’m not exactly the target market, despite the fact that Hello Kitty turned 40 this year, so I hope this blog will explain some of the reasons for my mad obsession.

Originally designed by Yuko Shimizu for Sanrio, Hello Kitty products have been produced by the company since 1974. From contact lenses to hotels and theme parks, there are over 50,000 product lines now available in over 130 countries. The extensive range of branded merchandise keeps Hello Kitty front of mind and within easy reach no matter where in the world you are.

Hello Kitty traditionally aims itself at pre-teen girls. However, today the brand attracts a much wider audience all the way from young children to middle-aged adults. Sanrio earns approximately ¥75 million a year and, although figures are not made public, it is thought that the majority of this can be attributed to Hello Kitty products. Is Hello Kitty a cat, you might think so but Sanrio now say not!

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Why is it so successful?

Like many long-standing brands, Hello Kitty’s success relies heavily on legacy. Rather than traditional advertising, the brand relies on long-term and multi-generational customer loyalty. Not a year goes by when I don’t purchase a Hello Kitty product either for myself or my niece, hoping that she will enjoy it as much as I did when growing up. It may be hard to think of Hello Kitty as a heritage brand but her iconic status is undeniable.

The brand’s success is deep routed in design. Whilst the product range has expanded over time in response to demand and changing trends, Hello Kitty remains the same. Timeless and classic. The simplicity of the design means that the brand can be easily applied and replicated for different products and generations.

Hello Kitty has an impressive social media following, with 15 million likes on Facebook. The brand posts a lot of visual content and is very active. With such a powerful and global brand presence, there are plenty of new products and images to share on a daily basis. The page proves that Hello Kitty isn’t afraid to keep up with current trends in tech and lifestyle, with Hello Kitty Crochet appealing to the maker movement and 3D printable Hello Kitty collectibles for more tech-inclined fans.

Hello Kitty is often dismissed as a childish toy, or even a shameless capitalist ploy. In some ways she is both but look closer and you will see that Hello Kitty is one of the most powerful brands of our time, representing a pop art and a cultural phenomenon in her own right.

Let it be known that I’m 100% NOT against what we  refer to as disruptive innovation or digital disruption. This is my bag, I’m in it, I’m a player, woo! Innovation is what excites me about my job and gets me out of bed in the morning.

But before we get carried away we  need to have a word with ourselves and remember the meaning of disruption. According to OxfordDictionaries.com, disruption is defined as:

“Disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process.”

Uber, the taxi booking tech startup, has faced a real backlash over the last few weeks. Since December’s $40 billion valuation the company has faced a barrage of hostility due to its aggressive rollout strategy and “Wild West tactics“. Uber is facing legal scrutiny across the globe – where government regulation is leading to bans in some countries and cities – not to mention questions of passenger safety, privacy and various ethical issues.

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The surge pricing model, which adjusts prices based on supply and demand, got Uber into hot water when prices increased in response to people trying to flee the Sydney hostage siege. But it is this controversial model that is one element of Uber’s ‘disruptive’ competitive edge, and something the company is trying to patent.

Tech industry folks (the very early adopters who helped catapult Uber into everyday life) are now deleting the app in a boycott that started after allegations of sexism, misogyny and dubious privacy practices. This prompted a trend of tech bloggers posting about deleting the app, causing The Guardian to ask if Uber is “the worst company in Silicon Valley”.

Boycotting Uber is nothing new – Paul Carr wrote “Silicon Valley’s Cult of Disruption”  2 years ago – but it seems to have taken off in the past month as former advocates flee and the press jumps on every negative story. John Naughton wrote an interesting opinion piece recently suggesting that Uber is actually a poor example of innovation; rather its disintermediation using networking technology to be the middle-man, nothing groundbreaking.

Groundbreaking or not one of Uber’s biggest issues is that, in disrupting an established industry, it has failed to demonstrate an acceptable level of social responsibility. Disruptive innovation means the world is being shaken up. Great! But it also means that the world is being shaken up. While change driven by technology is often magical and exciting it is also painful. This has been true forever.

How can TV Companies Give Viewers an Individualized Experience? | #DigitalTransformation #RT https://t.co/r1qSJPma2O pic.twitter.com/wZLTazxFXC

— Ronald van Loon (@Ronald_vanLoon) January 27, 2017

We should embrace the magic but remember the true meaning of disruption. Perhaps more companies should be prepared and open, and maybe a little more responsible.…

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Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has undergone significant changes in the past two years, leading some brands to abandon ship in favour of platforms they believe will deliver higher organic reach. However, the changes to News Feed don’t mean you need to give up on Facebook, just refine your approach and expectations.

It’s not the size; it’s the motion in the ocean

You could have a million Facebook fans but it doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t engaging them. Smaller, more active communities are more likely to be successful on Facebook. Users are now getting more involved with Facebook groups outside of their friend network, connecting with people who have shared interests. Your page will be more successful if you try to cultivate this kind of tight-knit community based on your target audience’s interests and engage your audience in real time.

Link overload

Unlike many other social networks, Facebook posts receive more interaction without links. As a whole, the network has become overpopulated with news and content from sites like Buzzfeed, users don’t need more of this from your page. Instead, engage users with text, images and videos within Facebook itself.

Make it mobile

Ensure that all of your content is optimised for mobile users. 76.83 percent of Facebook’s total monthly user base now accesses the service from a mobile device. According to a report by Deloitte, ‘one in six UK adults who own a smartphone look at their phone more than 50 times a day’. The numbers are staggering, make sure your content is too.

Catch the trend

When a page posts content relating to a trending conversation, there is a greater likelihood of it appearing in the News Feed. When you deliver the right message in the right place at the right moment, not only do you intelligently become part of the conversation – you create brand retention in more ways than one.

Get smart with your advertising

Users have a certain amount of control over which ads they want to see in their News Feed. Hopefully this means that the people that do see your ad are more likely to interact and convert to a sale. However, you should make sure that your campaigns are carefully targeted by age, location and interest to reach these potential customers.