Amidst the competitive and diverse nature of video games, there is not a video game brand that comes even close to being as recognizable as the Nintendo brand. Since 1981, the company has continued to gain awareness throughout the globe. Even older individuals who know little about games are at least familiar with the word “Nintendo” and the character “Mario.” How is it that this brand has stood tall for so long? What makes this brand one of the strongest out there?
While the quality of their products is certainly a major factor, I believe that a lot of Nintendo’s success as a brand comes from their designs. Whenever you see one of Nintendo’s social media platforms, you will find that their designs are relatively simple. In fact, their logo is simple white text that reads, “Nintendo” with a rounded border surrounding it – usually paired with a red background or some sort of contrasting red colored object. Similarly to the Coca Cola logo, the Nintendo logo has made very minimal changes throughout the years, so there are entire generations that are born seeing logos like this one. Consistency is a key factor to creating a brand that is instantly recognizable. Despite the simplicity, Nintendo remembers to use fundamental design principles such as good composition, contrast, rule of thirds, and layouts.
The brand is trying to gain more customers and engage the customers they already have. Nintendo is about creating a variety of games that are fun and can appeal to many people. This is visually represented by no better aspect than their mascot Mario.
While other game companies have darker, grittier mascots such as Master Chief (XBOX) or Kratos (Playstation), Nintendo highlights a mascot that is bright, colorful, full of energy and positivity. Mario is a character that can appeal to anyone of any age, similar to cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse. Mario in particular is a massive reason why the Nintendo brand is so strong. Just in the same way that Mickey Mouse will instantly make you think of Disney, Mario instantly makes you think of Nintendo. Because Mario is someone that can appeal to anyone, Nintendo is visually telling its audience that Nintendo is for everyone.
The weakness with Nintendo’s brand is oddly enough their greatest strength; Because their brand alone is so recognizable, it can be difficult for the mainstream audience to understand the differences between various products that have the “Nintendo” brand attached to them. The Wii U was one of the worst marketing disasters out there simply for the name alone. Many assumed that the Wii U was simply a little add-on to the Wii despite the fact that it was meant to be a brand new console. This disaster affected them so much that they needed to quickly ship out a new console to try and compete in the market, and though the Nintendo Switch is doing better than its predecessor, that system too bears the curse of holding the “Nintendo” logo next to it – thus risking a general confusion to those who do not actively follow Nintendo.
Nintendo utilizes their social media to track metrics such as likes, shares, re-tweets, comments, etc. to determine how well their social media page is doing. They also have a “Shop Now” button in their social media pages that link to the Nintendo website, which they can use to keep track of how many people go to Nintendo’s website through their social media platforms. If someone chooses to purchase something on the Nintendo website, that path is likely continually tracked so Nintendo knows if their social media page has had a direct influence on their profit. The conversations happening in the comment section are also a good indicator for how well the brand is doing.
While Nintendo as a company has had various up’s and down’s, their brand has stayed strong and shows no signs of losing awareness!