This will help in choosing to add or use an existing mascot to represent your brand as a trusting spokesperson for your products or services:
I`d say consumers can be rather credulous if they admit to making a purchase on the basis of what a logo looks like or what a cartoon character said to them.
Not too long ago, I witnessed a couple about to enter a restaurant and they asked other people, strangers to them, who were leaving, if the food was any good. The reply was that the meal was horrible and immediately, the inquisitive couple turned around to get back in their car and probably eat elsewhere.
The power of suggestion is both formidable and strange, especially in marketing and this psychological bridge can usually be facilitated by using a trusted and well known personality, a rendered creation, either of which emotes and relates to the customers and target audience with whom it addresses.
Behind every corporate branded mascot are many hours of brainstorming and market research prior to the stages of when this fictional character gets its charisma, voice and image design. What the character looks like is just as important as what it says. People of all ages across the globe relate to mascots. Sports teams and corporations have been using them for years and this isn’t simply for children’s sake, plenty of adults warm up to them just as often.
Adults may not admit to saying things like: “I switched my car insurance the other day. Why? Well, this cartoon lizard on TV had some convincing arguments swaying me to his company. He didn’t blink and is quite the connoisseur when not eating bugs and climbing trees.”
Children may be more likely to admit: “This talking tiger seems fun and is helpful in activities like sports and exercise. He says his cereal can boost energy. Get me Frosted Flakes. I feel I should bring out the tiger in me and stop sucking at soccer.”
Based on the vast amount of representative brand characters which relate to their target market, human, cartoon, or otherwise, they are nonetheless fictional creations. We can surmise that certain feelings dwell in the subconscious and kids are more likely to voice them but adults are just as privy. Using a brand mascot to either segment takes a different approach. Some of the best mascots can be palpable and relate to any age group.
Many more adults are playing video games and watching cartoons than ever before. Cartoon characters can more now than ever relate to broader age ranges.
How the Market Perceives Mascots
Animals represent many characteristics which humans have and share with the animal kingdom. This character works well with any age segment. Certain animals depict strength and others speed, or cuddliness. Fat, skinny, tall, short, smart, dumb… These identifiable and visual traits play a vital role in how the character comes off, even before saying anything, or if they do not speak at all, even more important is their presence and character perception received by the intended audience.
How the mascot speaks, be it with an accent or other ways to enunciate, whether they are sarcastic, funny, moody and so on, is the same way that you as a person predetermine others from mannerism and how they sound. First impressions are very important. Bottom line, will these traits be acceptable to those you wish to target?
When a Mascot Proves Itself as a Viable Marketing Asset
There are certain industries who should steer clear of using a mascot. For example, any company offering funeral services, a hospital or certain charities. Basically, it would be inappropriate for any company dealing with grim and serious issues or products, since a mascot may be insulting or over the top and in turn detrimental to that effort. There are exceptions and examples of serious issues/products/services which can use a mascot to help sell or spread the message.
Basically there are two types of choices when choosing whether to use fictional characters:
1) You already have an existing brand character/mascot or spokesperson and this has proven valuable already. If a reputable and liked mascot already exists, then it more than likely has been working for you. It may prove a good idea to farther their presence in social media like creating their own Facebook page or twitter feed, treating them as unique entities. The Individual colored, peanut and plain M&M’s have their own page, again, this example of mascot runs the gamut of fans young and old.
2) You are thinking of creating a fictional character for your company but before you call in the design team and spend hours researching it viability, you should know if it would work for your branding goals.
Put Yourself And The Mascot In your Customers Shoes
Selling to clients means knowing them, what they enjoy, what makes them tick, how they react, among many other traits. This facilitates sales of your product or service to your respective customers in the first place. Apply elements and character traits comprised in your target audience and match and complement these with the characteristics, design, attitude and overall approach to your fictional representation. Pretend you are introducing two people, like a blind date, in this case your mascot and your audience. Be certain they share similarities and compliment one another and get along so that your mascot can become a reputable and trusted spokesperson and voice effectively your brand and company -and get people to act, buy, feel and relate.