Brand Mascot in China can boost your brand identity and your inbound marketing effectiveness. This article aims to introduce you to how Brand mascots should be created, how they should be used, and how they can benefit your business.
Every Brand has its own personality, determined by the message you want to communicate and the consumer you want to appeal to. A Brand Personality is a framework that allows a company or organization shape the way people feel about its products, services and mission. Brand Mascots are among the best ways to express a Brand identity. In the following sections, we’ll explore why.
A Brand Mascot is the physical manifestation of a brand personality or identity, in the form of an animal, plant, or other animated object, which stands as a spokesperson for a company or product.
Brand Identity comprises the visible elements of a Brand, which identify and distinguish it from other brands in the consumer's mind.
Many different visual elements contribute to a Brand Identity, including colors, logos, motifs, verbal tone, mascots, and so on.
Once the visual and textual elements are defined, the Brand Identity will provide a basis for the Brand Image. The Brand Image can be positive or negative, depending on how the audience perceives the Brand Identity.
There are several steps to building your Brand Identity:
Knowing where your Brand performs strongly, and where it is sub-optimal, will allow you to focus on elements where you have a genuine value advantage. Playing to your strengths is the key to building a strong Brand Identity.
Building a SWOT is a good way to leverage your findings from Step 1 in building your Brand Identity. Knowing your brand and its positioning relative to the external environment is an important foundation for subsequent work.
Your Brand Identity should be aligned with your vision and goals to ensure that you are communicating the correct message. Therefore, before you begin, you have to define the goals you are targeting.
Once you define your positioning, environment and goals, you need to determine who you are targeting. Sometimes, the same message should be conveyed differently to different audiences. Be sure you identify them first!
At this stage, you should have a better idea of your objectives. According to what you have set out in the previous steps; you should be able to describe and define the personality you will give to your Brand.
Finally, how should you fully realize the Brand Personality? Which colors are most appropriate for your “cool” brand? What tone should you use to communicate with your customers? Everything should be finalized in this stage of the process, including your future Brand Mascot ;)
Now that you realize the importance of the Brand Identity, let’s move on to learn about Brand Mascots.
As we have already said, the Brand identity is made up of colors, fonts, graphics, tones of messages – it is a sum of many parts.
Having a Brand Mascot makes your Brand identity stronger, for several reasons.
First of all, it gives your brand a face, voice and tone. The Brand Mascot itself has a visual and vocal signature, and even distinct body language and behavior. As such, it is the most complete way to represent your brand, and one of the most direct ways to communicate.
Moreover, a Brand Mascot allows you to connect more effectively with your audience. A personified brand recreates the sense of human contact, and makes it easier to connect with your customers.
A Brand Character is also a way to be recognizable and memorable in a crowded marketplace. We all think of Frosties cereal when we see Tony the Tiger, or Lacoste when we catch sight of the iconic green lizard. Brand Mascots are assuredly a huge advantage in terms of brand recognition and differentiation.
As we have shown, your Brand Mascot should not be chosen at random; you have to think carefully about how its design will most accurately represent your Brand Identity and Personality.
Designing a Brand Mascot is easier when you have clearly defined the type of emotion you want to evoke, and the message you want to convey.
Picture: Floob Creative Design Agency
Would you prefer an object to represent your brand, or would you rather choose an animal? Do you think a particular animal has a meaning in your culture that will accurately reflect your brand? The appearance of your Mascot is vital, but the connotations and cultural significance are also important to consider. Don’t forget also to check if your chosen animal or object is associated with less appropriate things in other countries your company may operate in!
A Mascot is more than a design; it is a powerful means of expressing your values.
These mascots may look similar, but as they have completely different personalities, the values they communicate are also completely different.
Here are some examples of mascots and personality traits, for inspiration:
The perceived personality of your Mascot is sure to impact the value of your brand.
Your Brand Mascot should be aligned not only with your Brand identity, but also with your Marketing Strategy. Who are you targeting? What product or promotion do you plan to focus on? These are important items to nail down before finalizing your Brand Character design.
Good to go? Let’s continue, and get to the fun part: the design. In other words, how you can visually translate all the desired emotions, values, feelings your audience!
Everything about your Mascot’s appearance – its facial expression, body language, voice and tone, attire and activities – gives you plenty of areas to apply your creativity.
Congratulations! You now know how to create a Brand Mascot. Next, you need to know how to ensure your audience will adopt it.
Once your Brand Mascot has been designed, you have to organize various campaigns you want it to appear in. This step involves asking some questions of yourself, such as:
A Brand Mascot is sure to add value to your Brand. Not only will it help you build a distinct identity, but it will also involve your audience in engaging conversations.
Let’s go over the reasons why having a Brand Mascot will make a difference:
Because a mascot consists of many recognizable characteristics, it gives the Brand a more complete and discernible personality, which the customer can relate to.
After even a brief encounter with your product, the customer will imbibe your Brand Personality and experience the emotions it has been designed to convey.
Furthermore, the emotional connection may be deeper than it would be in the case of a Brand without a mascot. Indeed, unlike standard trademarks and logos, mascots are capable of expressing emotions, and their personality has the effect of humanizing them. Therefore, the likelihood of emotional acceptance is higher than in the case of a logo or tagline, both of which are less emotionally appealing.
The marketing platform Mailchimp is a good example. The firm uses a Monkey Mascot, called Freddie, to interact with their audience. Here, for instance, is Freddie is giving the user a ‘high five’ when a campaign email is ready to be sent.
Last but not least, a mascot is the perfect tool for marketing in today’s world. In an era of social media, social commerce is fast becoming the norm.
Mascots can be used at several stages of the customer journey, and could even be the voice your Brand, which you use to speak with your audience.
The Gecko from Geico insurance is a leading example of successful social media interaction fronted by a brand mascot. Gecko, a wise-cracking lizard, has represented the company since 1999. The mascot was originally brought into being in response to the Screen Actors Guild strike, which prevented advertisers from using live actors in TV advertisements.
The Geico Brand team adapted their approach once again in the social media era, using Gecko as their main ambassador online. The mascot now has almost 25,000 followers on Instagram, where they can see his adventures and even interact with him personally.
Depending on your Brand Identity, strategy and audience, you may use your mascot differently. For example, you could use it for:
The logo is the core element of your Brand identity. If you want your mascot to be a strong element of your Brand, incorporating it into your logo is a no-brainer.
Promoting products is one of the main reasons why brands use a mascot in the first place. Therefore, it needs to appear on your packaging to differentiate your product from the competition.
Depending on the type of message or products you are promoting, your mascot should appear on your marketing documents and website at least to some degree. If your Brand Mascot is at the center of your marketing strategy, it should appear at each step on the customer journey (e.g. adding it to your Favicon, etc.).
As previously seen with Gecko, a Brand mascot can have its own social media following, independently from the official Brand channel, and talk about its adventures. It is also possible for a mascot to remain more in the background, in order to leave ‘marketing space’ for the products themselves. In contrast to Gecko, the Jolly Green Giant appears in some social media posts, but does not have his own Instagram account.
Still not convinced yet that a Brand mascot can change the marketing game?
Here are some more ways it can help:
There are multiple tactics that you can deploy to increase business effectiveness when using a mascot. Among them, targeting your “fans” is top of the list.
According to Scott Ginsberg, “A customer is someone who comes to a store to buy a lamp and never comes back. Fans crave experiences unlike any others.”
Derivative products are a good way to increase revenue beyond your Brand’s products. Familiar examples include apparel with the Mickey Mouse logo, or figurines of video game characters such as Zelda. Such products are part of the Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing industry. When the audience for such derivative products is well targeted, you create a strong lever to increase your revenue.
A mascot can also help your brand by triggering repeat purchases. For companies with high production costs this is vital, as they only see a return on investment when a buyer purchases more than one product.
If repeat purchasing is a core KPI, you will achieve it more easily if your customer base has an emotional connection to your Brand’s mascot.
A Brand mascot also act as a retainer for your audience. The emotional attachment, once developed, triggers loyalty and makes your fanbase less likely to try new products.
Defining the elements of your Brand Identity is the first step when creating a Brand mascot. You need to be clear on your Brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and external environment, and establish a definite vision, message and set of business goals.
Once these are clear in your mind, you have the foundations to ensure that your mascot’s design and personality will reflect your business and its objectives. Furthermore, you must decide how, where and when you want your Brand Mascot to appear, and set your marketing strategy accordingly.
When a mascot is aligned with a company Brand and is introduced as part of a well-planned strategy, it can be an extremely valuable asset for your business.
Duhno is a Brand Mascot Marketing Agency dedicated in the growth of Digital Footprint and Inbound Marketing techniques in China.
With offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen, Duhno guides your team with the right strategy to adopt for your Chinese audience and creates memorable stories to make your brand’s mascot famous.