Successful Brand Representation: The Many Benefits of a Mascot
When you think of Frosted Flakes, what’s one of the first things that come to mind? Most likely, you imagined the brand’s mascot, Tony the Tiger. What if we were to say Geico or Progressive? Then Gecko and Flo come to mind.
You see, these brands have effectively personified their image by using recognizable and inspiring mascots. Not just in conventional commercials and ads, either. Flo, for instance, has shown up all over the place, even on social media. In fact, she has become the number one mascot on social media, with over 4 million likes and engagements on Facebook. She also averages about 2,600 likes per post on Facebook.
But why would a mascot resonate more with fans than, say, a celebrity spokesperson? Why do they work and what benefits can your brand expect from having one?
What Is a Mascot?
A mascot is a brand or company representative that can be used to communicate directly with customers in a unique way. A strong, solid mascot personifies a company’s values and mission statement and accurate competition and e
Mickey Mouse and even Minnie are synonymous with Disney, for example. Anytime you see one of those characters you immediately think of the brand.
to market your new brand representative effectively. Including advertisements and print ads, media campaigns, social media, merchandising and much more. An effective mascot permeates into every area and element of a brand and becomes the single most important symbol and focus.
How Do You Design a Mascot?
You’ll soon find that while mascots, in general, are a simple, two-dimensional concept, coming up with one that resonates with your audience is not as simple as you would think.
The most common form of mascot is a cartoon character like Tony the Tiger, Cap’n Crunch, the GEICO gecko and Mickey Mouse. But some mascots are more human and realistic, such as Flo from Progressive or Mayhem from Allstate. Then you have the mascot outliers that are a mix of both like Mr. Clean, the Aflac Duck, the Energizer Bunny and Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome.
What works for you and your brand is going to be unique, so you’ll need to explore several ideas and choose one that you feel matches your brand’s personality best. There are some things you can do to ensure your mascot relates well to your brand.
- Find a mascot or character that meshes with your core company values and mission statement.
- Give your mascot a background story that defines who or what they are as this helps to build future scenarios and campaigns
- Come up with a well thought out personality for your mascot, whether that be quirky and bubbly like Flo or villainous and heinous like Mayhem.
- Choose the style or appearance that best fits your audience. If you’re primarily targeting adults, don’t settle on a cartoon mascot that’s goofy and child-like. Dos Equis, for instance, has the world’s most interesting man as their mascot which is perfect for a beer and adult beverage brand.
Once you have a proper mascot designed, the most important thing to do is use them continuously over and over. Like driving traffic to a new blog, or acquiring followers for a new social media profile, you must deliver consistent content that features your mascot. It’s up to you to select what type of content
Benefits of a Mascot
As a business first and foremost, you know that if you’re going to spend a lot of time and resources into something that you want a positive return on investment. Naturally, you’re going to question what benefits a mascot will bring to the table? How will they help your brand and your products? What influence will a mascot have on your audience?
A large part of this is going to depend on you and how you design your mascot. So long as you align the mascot with company values, you should be on the right track.
Allstate’s Mayhem, for instance, is a unique and different take on mascots. His job is to show audiences why they would want insurance through damaging property, ruining belongings and causing general chaos. The personality of Mayhem is remarkably different from something like Mickey Mouse or Tony the Tiger, who are lovable cartoon characters that promote positivity and happiness. But that doesn’t mean Mayhem is a poor choice for a mascot.
He still has an influence on Allstate’s audience, and that’s the most important thing to take away from this. The bulk of the outcome will depend on the mascot you choose, the personality you give them and the message you want them to portray.
Of course, there are general benefits to having a mascot too.
- They make your company name and brand stand out from competitors.
- They increase brand and product awareness in the marketplace.
- They make your company more personable
- Mascots and characters connect with your audience in a way that conventional advertisements, company spokespersons and general content cannot.
- You create a family-like company culture, and your employees will learn to love the mascot just as much as your customers.
How to Come Up with a Unique Mascot
Mascots are an excellent idea, and they serve as an incredibly usef when they stand out. It’s what differentiates you from the competition and makes everyone remember you.
Your brand must create mascots that have their unique personality and look. Mascots have to be different, which is certainly tough to do in today’s world.
There is one easy, surefire way to make sure this happens. Align your mascot with your company’s unique mission and values. Brainstorm and come up with the overall message that your mascot will be trying to send.
The Energizer Bunny is an excellent example of this. It’s not the bunny, the drum or the symbolic nature of the rabbit itself that portrays the company’s message, it’s everything it does. Energizer wants to show customers that their batteries last longer and keep going and going and going. Naturally, they came up with a mascot – the bunny – that continues to push forward in an almost stubborn, relentless way.
The Energizer Bunny shows what the company was trying to say with their mascot and you can see this in every print ad, every commercial and every use of the bunny.
That is how you make your mascot unique.
Decide what message and values you want your mascot to share with the world and then focus
How to Implement a Mascot in Your Marketing Strategies
All steps of creating a new mascot involve trying everything you – and your mascot – do with your brand’s mission. The same should always be true of your marketing and advertising campaigns.
The most common form of marketing with a mascot is to have someone dress up in a costume and attend events, parties, or attractions. But it’s important to remember that you can think outside-the-box too. Yes, your mascot can appear on print-ads, in commercials, on billboards and marketing media but again, these are all conventional.
What if you attended a local fireworks or entertainment event and used a projector to show your mascot in the sky, as part of the festivities?
What if your mascot visited hospitals and kids homes to make sick, hurting children happy and entertained?
What if your mascot showed up on a popular kid’s TV show – like Sesame Street – to carry on the message of your brand?
There are many possibilities for mascot ideas. The main idea is to get your mascot out there and out into the world. Include them in your print ads and media campaigns. Turn your social media into a personal mascot profile where he/she can interact with customers and your audience. Make sure your mascot attends local and remote events.
It’s no different from any other form of marketing where you push your content and message in front of your audience. The only exception being, your mascot is your message.
Your Mascot Could Become One of the Greats
Throughout the guide, we have discussed a few favorite mascots here and there like Mickey Mouse, Flo from Progressive, Tony the Tiger and much more. These are all excellent representations of the brand and mission they represent.
Here is some inspiration for your mascot creation:
- Snap, Crackle and Pop – Created in the 1930’s to popularize the cereal Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. It worked! They are easily recognizable and synonymous with not just the cereal brand, but also the sound it makes when you eat some!
- Joe Camel – Originally, cigarettes like the Camel brand were marketed to and associated with older smokers. The company then came up with Joe Camel, and it worked. Without arguing the ethics, one must acknowledge the mascot did as intended.
- Geoffrey the Giraffe – In the 1960’s Toys R Us came up with their lovable, cartoony mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe. The idea was to represent their brand in a recognizable way for their younger customers. Boy did it work!
- Energizer Bunny – We already talked about this mascot earlier in the guide, so there’s not much else to explain. The Energizer Bunny is one of the most successful mascots ever created.
- Jolly Green Giant – In the early 1920’s the brand came up with the Jolly Green Giant to represent their brand of vegetables. He still exists today and is well known.
- Clean – Who doesn’t know Mr. Clean? He made his debut in the late 1950’s and has been around ever since. This easily recognizable character personifies everything the brand stands for and is trying to achieve.
- Pillsbury Doughboy – The Doughboy first showed up in the 1960’s, but it wasn’t until later that he turned up in his animated form. His original name was Poppin’ Fresh. You may know him for his silly giggle, usually proceeded by a tap or poke of his belly.
Only then will your mascot become truly unique and successful. But as Tony the Tiger would say, “they’re great,” so don’t hesitate to start brainstorming some ideas.
Help Making Your Mascot Idea Come to Life
Even with an in-depth guide like this in front of you, designing and creating a mascot is not an easy task. More importantly, coming up with the fine details and particulars of your brand mascot is going to be the hardest part. If you’re having trouble, don’t worry, we have you covered.
You can turn your vision for a mascot into a reality by partnering with The NetMen, contact us.