In the search for the ultimate spokesperson for a brand, a brand mascot seems to have it all. They are loyal to the brand by nature, represent the business consistently and authentically, convey messages and stories originally and in a compelling way, and connect with customers. Brand mascots are a set of personality attributes associated with a brand that are embodied in some sort of person or character. These characters can range from humans like Flo from Progressive to animations like the Pillsbury Doughboy. These mascots bring brands to life. They help to increase brand recognition through repeat exposure and foster emotional connections with the market through the mascots’ values and the stories they tell.
Kellogg is a master with brand mascots using characters like Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, Snap Crackle and Pop to make their breakfast cereals engaging for children. Suddenly, these cardboard boxes of grains and sugar have a narrative that makes kids want to grab them off the shelves and beg their parents to keep it in the cart. This concept of a brand mascot has been proven over and over in the B2C realm and can be just as successful for B2B companies. All marketing is geared towards the people that are going to contribute to the buying decisions regarding your offering. Brand mascots provide a mental shortcut for these people to recognize your business and understand what you’re all about. They humanize the brand with characteristics, values, and stories that are authentic and ring true to the audience. A well-executed mascot can engage audiences, build brand loyalty, drive retention and clarify complex ideas.
B2B BRAND MASCOT: MIRATEC MAN
MiraTEC is a company that sells exterior trim to builders, contractors, resellers, distributors and architects. Their unique selling proposition is that their product is built to last against the elements. On their website they list all of these tests done on their trim to measure the thickness swell, accelerated aging, weatherability of substrate, nail-head pull through, lateral nail resistance, modulus of rupture and countless more aspects of their product. While these terms are better understood by the business customers looking to purchase the trim, they provide a mechanical way of looking at the trim that makes the buying decision very impersonal and a buyer can just as easily purchase from a competitor toting the same exterior trim accailades.
To create cohesive marketing that has a clear message and is instantly recognized and understood, MiraTEC brought their trim to life with MiraTEC Man. MiraTEC Man was “Born to be Baddest” and he battles the elements throughout the various MiraTEC advertisements. This brand mascot shows that he will not be messed with, remaining pristine as he fights back against anything that comes his way. The visuals are fun and engaging, with Miratec Man appealing to the customers that value endurance, toughness, and performance in themselves and in the products they buy. The messaging remains constant in each of the ads stating that “unlike other materials used for trim these days, MiraTEC is the one product actually conceived and engineered to do the job.”
The effectiveness of MiraTEC Man comes from the company’s use of him to visually engage the audience and provide a narrative for their product. They create a character that is “Born to be Baddest” and then continue to tell his story in a way that stays true to this core toughness and performance. MiraTEC pairs their character with messaging that provides the information that Business to Business buyers need to make a logical decision. With B2B buyers it is important to include both the mascot and the relevant buying decision information. The mascot becomes a mental shortcut to the brand as customers recognize it and feel the connection with the qualities the mascot embodies, while the messaging remains strong and consistent with what the B2B business offers.
CREATING A BRAND MASCOT
1. Who is your brand?
Before delving into what your brand character looks like or the stories it takes part in. It is important to examine who your brand is. What sort of characteristics and values does your brand already have. A good place to start is with your unique selling proposition like MiraTEC did. Are you cutting edge, always on top of new trends or do you focus on providing friendly customer service and a great experience? Once you have honed in on what is at the core of your brand, then you can start thinking about how to best personify your brand with a mascot.
2. What form will your brand mascot take?
There are three main options for deciding how to visually represent your brand. There can be a human that takes on a dramatic role like Flo or the Mac and PC in the Apple commercials. You can also have an imaginary, illustrated, or animated character that takes on the human qualities of the brand without having to be a person. Tony the Tiger, the GEICO Gecko, and the Energizer Bunny all fall into this category and have become iconic for each of the brands without having a clear connection to why they have anything to do with cereal, insurance, or batteries. The third option is to personify the product itself like with MiraTEC Man. Giving the product the human characteristics and ability to talk can keep the product at the forefront of the audience’s mind while also serving the storytelling, connecting role of a mascot. The M&Ms, Pillsbury Doughboy, and Michelin Tire Man are all great examples of this.
3. How should the mascot tell its story?
The mascot should be rooted in the brand values that were reflected on in the first step and stay true to them throughout all marketing stories. This should stay consistent as the mascot deals with new situations. The mascot has its own personality, communication style, and traits that should resonate with the customers. These characters can experience similar scenarios as customers like the MiraTEC man working out, having fun on the water, or running a race, creating common ground the audience can relate to.
It is important to make the story compelling while also keeping it as simple as possible with a clear and consistent message about your brand. With consistency and customer engagement, the mascot can become a marketing tool that literally takes on a life of its own. With mascots like MiraTEC man, it becomes easier for customers to identify with your brand and products/services. There is a connection being forged between your brand and the audience that promotes brand loyalty and retention along with bringing attention to your company.
BRAND MASCOTS: MOVING FORWARD
Creating a brand mascot is a big commitment that should not be rushed into. These mascots, to be effective, should be used consistently over a long period of time. They become the face of your brand, the recognizable element that customers see and connect to. Not every brand is conducive to personifying a character to represent them, but it is a powerful marketing tool that can be considered.
If your brand has a unique selling proposition and brand values that can be communicated in this way, brand mascots are a fun, effective means to tell a company story and keep marketing messages all part of a coherent story. With customer recognition, the mascots can communicate a lot of information with very little as the audience will already know what it is that the brand is all about. With a compelling storyline, audiences will feel drawn towards your brand fostering customer loyalty and ongoing engagement with the company.
Looking to personify your brand, giving it a life of its own? Contact Magic Flight Studios here.