hair loss laser

Best of SCHMOOZY FOX,Brand building tips

Brand mascots29 Nov

Photo by Bludgeoner86 on Flickr

Lacoste crocodile: photo by Bludgeoner86 on Flickr

You’ve ordered yourself a great logo. You’ve built an attractive web site. You’ve sorted out the look and feel of your distribution channels. And you even have a brand slogan that goes well with your funky brand name.

Provided that your business idea actually makes economic sense and that you’ve positioned yourself well against competition, chances are that you’ve built a good basis for your brand strategy that will lead to satisfied customers, and big profits.


And yet, you feel that there should be something else that will give your brand a personality.

Have you noticed that when you buy your funky Kipling bag, there’s a very cool little toy monkey that comes with it?

Or, when you buy your Michelin guide, it always has the Michelin man on its front page?

These cartoon-like characters are called brand mascots, and they are there to infuse your brand with that precious valuable personality.

Rather than part of your visual identity, brand mascots are essentially a marketing communications tool that gives your brand a more memorable and emotional character. Even if your brand mascot is actually an animal, chances are, it will give your brand a human touch.

Though brand mascots are becoming increasingly common, especially with the rise of social media (check out the Travelocity Roaming Gnome on Facebook), really good and effective ones are still rare.

kipling monkeyHere are some tips that will help you create a great brand mascot:

1) Think of your target audience — will it be prepared to listen to your brand stories told by a cute mascot? If your company offers specialized software to accountants, don’t start pushing cartoon-like characters onto them to promote your stuff. The funky factor of your brand mascot needs to be consistent with the profile of your customers.

2) Don’t get obsessed with making your mascot look like your logo.

In fact, the role of the mascot is not to enhance your visual identity, but make your brand alive. Some companies change the appearance of their mascots, adapting it to the situation. For instance, different Kipling bags will have different monkey mascots, depending on the style of the bag.

Similarly, the Twitter bird often takes different shapes and forms, somehow still managing to look Twitter-like!

Twitter birds

3) Make your brand mascot connect to your customers emotionally. The main question you need to ask yourself is this, “What do I want my customers to feel when they interact with my brand mascot?” There should be something in your customers that resonates with the character of the mascot.

4) Consider a brand mascot only if your business makes economic sense.

This is a tough one! I’ve seen many startups invest tons of money into a lot of activity around their brand mascots — only to realize that these cartoon characters alone neither  drove sales, nor built the brand. If you have nothing valuable to offer to your customers, they will be annoyed rather than delighted by your brand mascot.

5) Finally, make people remember your brand, not your brand mascot.

A brand mascot is only one element of your brand communications, but it doesn’t replace your whole brand strategy.  When people think of your brand, it’s okay if they first recall a funny cartoon-like brand mascot. What’s more important, however, is that they know what exactly this mascot exactly stands for! Remembering a cute furry animal, and not having a clue about what you actually sell, is not what you want from your consumers. Brand mascots enhance your brand, but they are not your brand.

Related posts:

  1. Brand mascots in action: Travelocity Roaming Gnome
  2. Online brand mascots
  3. Kipling customizes its brand mascot
  4. Brand mascots: shiny happy creatures
  5. How Funky Brands can be creative: 7 insights from the Creativity Forum in Antwerp

2 Responses to “Brand mascots”

  1. Michael Zwirn Reply

    Olga – one interesting corollary to this is that so many companies establish a wildlife- or animal-themed mascot to represent their work. Just like Lacoste, which chose an crocodile, many companies identify themselves with a wild animal. On…e recent movement is to tie wildlife conservation with companies’ corporate image. For instance, Lacoste supports crocodile, alligator, and gharial conservation through a partnership called Save Your Logo (http://www.saveyourlogo.org/en/partners/lacoste). Exxon has been involved in tiger conservation by supporting the Save the Tiger Fund. The Save Your Logo movement has a long way to go, of course, but it’s a notable effort!

    • Olga Slavkina

      Thanks for this very interesting comment, MIchael. Indeed, anthropomorphism (attribution of human emotions to animals and inanimate objects) is quite common in branding.

      My own logo and identity is all about the Fox — intelligent and cunning, and many people relate to it. The Save Your Logo initiative looks great — thanks for sharing!

      –Olga

Leave a Reply

About Olga

Olga Slavkina is an international brand and marketing strategy expert based in Brussels and managing partner of SCHMOOZY FOX. Originally from Latvia, Olga was educated in the United States, where she was a Fulbright student at The Fletcher School (Tufts University), and Spain. She holds an MBA from IE Business school in Madrid, which holds the No. 1 position in the 2012 Financial Times ranking of European business schools.

Fluent in several European languages, Olga works with companies around the world to help them launch new products and services, reposition existing ones, and make them relevant and meaningful to their customers.

Olga’s expert opinion on branding and marketing has been featured in Financial Times, TechCrunch, Personal Branding Blog and other publications. Olga’s concept of Funky Brands™ has been nominated for the Accenture Innovation Award 2011. Olga tweets as @schmoozyfox.

Get in touch

 

SCHMOOZY FOX is based in Brussels, Belgium and serves customers internationally.

 

Email: olga (at) schmoozyfox (dot) com