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Nintendo: Brand Positioning Case Study

Jan 13, 2024
Nintendo Brand Positioning

As a kid, there was nothing quite like the feeling of getting a new game console at Christmas.

As an adult, I got to relive this recently when I bought a Nintendo Switch for my son.

I was almost excited as he was. And since I don’t consider myself a “gamer” — I had to ask… why?

Part of it was the prospect of beating him mercilessly in Mario Kart. But as a marketer, it made a lightbulb go off. This was all thanks to their brilliant brand positioning and decades of intentional marketing.

Which is why they’re this week’s brand breakdown…

💼 The Brand: Nintendo

Nintendo was founded in 1889, as a playing card company in Kyoto, Japan. It later ventured into toys, and in the 1970s, it entered the video game industry. Nintendo revolutionized gaming with iconic franchises like Super Mario and Zelda.

💛 The Heart (Purpose and Values)

 Nintendo's mission is to “create smiles through unique entertainment experiences.”

👤 The Head (Positioning and Strategy)

Nintendo positions itself as a family-friendly gaming brand, emphasizing fun and community.

The use of nostalgia, iconic characters, and timeless gameplay appeals to all ages, creating a unique emotional connection.

In contrast, Xbox and PlayStation often target a more mature gaming audience with a focus on technology and graphics.

Nintendo's distinctiveness lies in its approachable and whimsical brand personality, setting it apart in the gaming industry.

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The Hands (Tactics)

Here’s a few of the ways Nintendo has been able to spread the heart behind their brand, capitalize on their emotional edge, and nail their positioning:

Iconic Characters and Franchises: Nintendo has consistently created and maintained beloved characters like Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon. These characters become synonymous with the brand, fostering nostalgia and a strong emotional connection with consumers.

Communal Consoles: Nintendo constantly introduces innovative gaming consoles like the Wii with motion controls and the portable-home console hybrid Switch. This emphasis on unique gaming experiences distinguishes Nintendo from competitors and reinforces their commitment to innovation.

Family-Friendly Marketing: Nintendo's marketing consistently emphasizes family-friendly and inclusive gaming experiences. This tactic helps position Nintendo as a brand suitable for players of all ages, creating a welcoming environment that aligns with their brand identity.

⚡️ Find Your Emotional Edge Like Nintendo

From playing cards to gaming, Nintendo has reinvented itself for over 100 years. But once it found a lane it could dominate: family friendly gaming — or in their own words: “experiences that create smiles” — they went all in on this emotional edge.

This has led to movies and even a new theme park at Universal Studios that opened last year.

The lesson for you? Find out where you and your brand is best at creating an emotional connection and then go all in on it.

Consistent, focused effort always wins in the end.

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