A mascot is a visualisation of your brand which encapsulates the ethos and story behind the organisation. In today’s era of digital marketing, social media and video, an organisation can use a mascot to engage their target audience, driving up retention and explaining complex ideas while building brand loyalty.
- Visual content
For today’s marketing mix, high quality visual content is a must, but so is original content. Having a mascot that is unique to your organisation which in effect is original artwork is a no-brainer. Think about the talking red and yellow M&M characters. They take us through several on-screen short adverts, with their own individual personalities. They are immediately identifiable with the product they represent.
Big global organisations can spend an inordinate amount of dollars on putting together their mascots and marketing plans. For the smaller organisations, it is not that expensive to have their own mascot made up in terms of costumes or soft toys that mirror the logo and brand of the organisation. Sharing original artwork of your mascot and bringing them to “life” by having them attend marketing events, and giving them their own voice by linking them with Facebook and Instagram accounts is a clear winner.
- Humanise the brand
Humans are very social beings and like the sense of belonging. Trying to capture that feeling when marketing services such as insurance for example may seem difficult. However, mix it with a mascot that people can follow, or interact via social media, is a different ball game altogether. Consider the impact the Compare the Meerkat advertising had on the British public. The company used meerkat characters to promote the Compare the Market insurance brand. The television adverts took off with customers clamouring for the meerkat characters whose story is followed by millions. The insurance company gave away free meerkat characters for new insurance customers, and they are becoming collectors’ items today.
- Telling the story of the brand
Mascots are really good at being able to tell the story of your brand and how it is developing or moving forward. They can be used to explain upcoming changes to products and services, or to introduce new items. A mascot is also a great way to explore some long-term content. Kentucky Fried Chicken produced a 96-page free downloadable romance story in time for Mother’s Day starring Colonel Sanders himself. This was part of a meal promotion but could be downloaded from Amazon free of charge. It would seem that the chicken wings were not the only spicy content in the KFC bucket!
- Mascots can translate to sales if used properly
It is really important to remember who the target audience is when using a mascot to promote your brand. If the product or service you deliver is linked to families and/or children, then cute mascots are more appealing – think Caramello Koala. The younger demographic of millennials will gravitate toward a different mascot, but will be expecting to interact and follow on social media. Older consumers are better serviced with a different mascot, often smart animals are a good fit. Tony the Tiger was a great mascot for the driving public who wanted to be seen as having the best and sportier cars, even though they probably drove a family station wagon. Having a “tiger in your tank” was a great sales pitch and it worked because the mascot had a very unique personality.
- Mascots are engaging and cost effective
Trademarks and copyright laws can be very expensive if you fall foul on them. If you have created a purpose built and purpose designed mascot for your organisation or for your sports team, you can own the rights to the design. It is a simple step to incorporate them into the branding of the organisation by linking colours and logos, and even giving them a catch phrase and name that is unique to your business.
Having costumes made up for staff to wear at corporate events, or freebies such as key rings, badges or beer coolers with the mascot on, even small toys as giveaways does not have to be expensive. There are a number of firms who can produce video content featuring the mascot that are of high quality with reasonable price tags. You don’t have to hire professional actors to “be” the mascot, so they are very cost-effective marketing tools.
A mascot can entertain and engage people at a number of events and these don’t have to be sports events. They can quickly become larger than life characters (and with a well-made costume they probably will be taller and easy to pick out in a crowd) so they interact with people who then get the chance to physically interact with your brand.
Mascots are a great way to bring your brand and your business to life, both in person and through the power of digital marketing. This is why they are still relevant in today’s marketplace.
About the author
Karen Hoogenbosch is the Director of Animal & Odd-Bod Creators, an Australian based company that specialises in high quality custom made corporate mascots and costumes. Having worked with a range of high profile clients and hundreds of community based clubs, she knows the positive impact a great mascot can have on any organisation.