One of the critical aspects of a successful brand is its ability to communicate with the audience efficiently. But how could you expect a thing (a brand) to speak with a living and breathing being (the audience) when no means of communication are available?
That’s where brand mascots come into play!
According to a survey conducted by Fortune, a whopping 54 percent of the world’s most admired companies use mascots as a means of communication in their marketing campaigns.
Companies like M&Ms and Nintendo know how to utilize the power of a corporate character and continue to captivate their customers regularly.
But having a brand mascot is more than just character design. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about mascots and how to create them step by step. Besides, we mention some key factors that make a mascot tick.
Check out our brand character service page to see how we are helping brands enter the metaverse using a brand character.
What is a brand mascot?
A mascot is a person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure, especially to bring them good luck. A brand mascot is like the glue that binds the soul of a brand to the heart of its clients. In the same way, they are like the messengers that carry the story and the value making the brand more understandable and relatable.
A mascot represents everything a brand stands for, and by doing so, helps to increase brand awareness and sales. Mascots also embody the tone, values, ethics, and emotions a brand is aiming for. But there is more to having a mascot than just branding. What makes the personified character so fascinating is psychological!
Recently, more companies are using brand mascots in their transmedia storytelling campaigns. If you’re new to the topic, we recommend reading what is transmedia storytelling article before moving on to the next part.
How can company mascots add value (a psychological perspective)
One of the things that make people attracted to a brand is familiarity.
If the brand looks and feels familiar in specific ways, it has a better chance of attracting new customers and turning the current customers into leads. In the same way, fictional brand characters resemble celebrities and make a brand more familiar, thus boosting marketing efforts.
Besides, these usually stylized characters give you infinite possibilities to create engaging and exciting content on social media or your website, landing pages, and blog posts. You can put them in different conditions, make them feel a certain way, and change their clothes on various occasions.
If you want to know more about this, head over to our psychology of character design guide. So how do you create a mascot that stands out? Let’s see.
How to create a mascot (Step-by-Step process)
- Mascot Conceptualization: The difference between an awesome mascot and a cheesy one comes down to have three things:
- Visual storytelling: when looking, a mascot should describe a brand story visually through an animation storyboard, be it through colors, shape, gesture, or any other feature.
- Brand persona: Technically, a brand mascot creates a long-term relationship with the customer, so it should embody some of the clients’ characteristics.
- Character Psychology: Deep down, a mascot is like a brand ambassador, so it should possess all the qualities that brands and the target audience aim for.
The concept of your mascot is every feeling, goal, value, and idea you want to convey through your personified character. Therefore, this is a critical stage as it builds the momentum for great success in marketing your mascot.
2. Drawing and sketching
Almost all mascot designs start with a rough sketch because of the vital role of shape language in defining the character’s personality. Using different shapes and gestures requires specific examination. Artists go through this process according to the concept and the goal of the character.
Finally, It is time for the personification of your mascot. Here you are doing all the things that make your character feel like a real human being.
What are mascot branding characteristics?
Head over to the 2D animation workflow to see how mascots and characters are used in real-life scenarios.
You can add the following characteristic traits to humanize your character:
- Color Choose the colors of the character and add the details and shadows. Your colors will directly affect the way people interact with your mascot. If you want further information about choosing a color that follows the industry standard, take a look at our complete guide of color theory character design.
- Accessories Additional accessories like bracelets, belts, shoes, and bags give more personality to the character.
- Facial Expressions People are consistently moved and influenced by different emotions. Sad, happy, angry, surprised feelings give the viewer a reason to listen and think.
- Outfits Different occasions like Halloween or Christmas are great opportunities to have a different outlook for your mascot. This way, people can relate to the characters in every situation.
- Backgrounds Humans usually live in different environments or situations. You can design and put your character in various backgrounds to feel more natural and familiar to the audience.
What are the different types of businesses mascots?
Mascots in the shape of 3D animation come in all shapes and figures. Some are humans, and some are animals or objects. Here we are elaborating on some of the most used mascots in the history of marketing.
A lot of the brand mascots are stylized representations of a person (primarily the founder). Take KFC, for example; the logo illustrates Colonel Sanders along with some color tweaks. Using a human mascot makes a brand more familiar and relatable to the eyes of the consumer. The mascot can also be a fictional human character or a superhero like Max Steel – Mattel.
There are several reasons why a brand might pick an animal as a brand ambassador. Firstly, they represent some natural features of the product (for example, milk or meat). Secondly, animals signify the archetypal characteristics of a brand. (the tiger is assertive and confident, while the cat is cute and funny).
Brands like Twitter, Mailchimp, and Linux are among the companies that know how to take advantage of the power of animal mascots.
Sometimes the product is an object rather than a person or an animal. In this case, the object mascot is a better choice. A good indicator of a functional object mascot is that you don’t notice it’s an object. Why? Well, because there are sorts of human characteristics that the mascot has internalized.
Take a look at all the common mascots you probably took a glimpse of:
Most common mascot examples in marketing and advertisement
One of the reasons many brands use mascots in their marketing campaigns is that they have such immense power to make humans remember things. So when done correctly, corporate characters will make the most important aspects of a brand stick with the customer for a long time. Some of the best examples of mascots that found their way into advertising, leading to brand awareness, include:
M&M’s talking candies mascots
It is not possible to talk about Smarties and not think about M&Ms talking candies. There are different mascots for different flavors, making it a versatile option to promote on various campaigns. What is more, is that each color represents another aspect of M&M’s brand value.
Duracell’s hyperactive bunny mascots
If you look at Duracell’s marketing campaigns, the rabbit mascot moves so fast and changes environments swiftly; This represents the speed and longevity of the batteries created by Duracell.
Firefox red fox mascot
Mozilla is one of the well-known brands that use its mascot for most of its digital and offline marketing campaigns. The visual expression of the red and orange fox is based on the principles of being bold and dynamic yet simple with a friendly, human spirit. These same principles guide the brand and product messaging and reflect the overall experience of the Firefox brand story.
If you look at our commercial animation studio page, you can see some of the best brand characters we have developed at Dream Farm.
4 Perks of using your brand mascot in social media
You might think to design a mascot is all about brand awareness and visual identity. Here are four other reasons you should consider having a brand character for maximum success:
- They embody the spirit of your brand
A mascot is something beyond a mesmerizing cartoon character. You need your clients to pick up something about your organization with each bit of advertising, which means your mascot should signify the organization’s soul.
2. They increase brand engagement.
Mascots are an excellent method to connect with your target audience, and you can promote them on different social media channels.
3. Better online presence
Social Media is one of the most versatile and effective ways a brand can increase conversion. Using a well-designed mascot in your social media post and campaigns will have an immense effect on the outcome and brand awareness.
4. Diversity and Recognition
Companies usually come up with different strategies for content marketing. For example, you can go for influencer marketing and hire brand ambassadors to promote your products. However, having a brand mascot is something, not all brands land on; that’s precisely why you should consider it because of the diversity and the boldness it will bring you.
Should I hire a designer or an animation studio for mascot designing? [BONUS TIP]
Here is the big question everybody seems to be asking, and many people go for hiring a freelance designer to create their mascot because it is cheaper. But keep this in mind:
Creating a brand mascot is not a single procedure; it requires a deep understanding of color psychology, brand story, and character design. a freelancer might want to outsource each step separately and since different people create every one of these steps, the result might not be ideal. For example, even if the freelancer provides high-quality design, he still has to storyboard and tie it to the brand message. So what happens is that you tend to get someone talented at one thing and just OK at rest. But when you hire an animation studio, you get a team of experts in their specific and the result would be more high quality. Still, you are the boss, and you can choose which one to go for.
How we lead brand mascot projects on Dream Farm Studios
At our animation studio, we believe in the power of communication. For a long time, brands have shown to value and take advantage of a brand character superpower. Below is an example of a mascot for Merident, a brand in toothpaste.
Firefox lite browser got in touch with us to design a character. Below is an example of how we ended up doing it:
If you’re interested, visit our character design studio page to check out the other mascots we worked on.
A few words to remember.
Creating a brand mascot is a significant achievement that should not be underestimated. If you want the mascots to have the most long-lasting effect, you should try to use them consistently over a long period (on your social media posts or blog posts). Eventually, They will become the messenger of your brand, the noticeable element that your clients see and connect. Not every brand has to utilize a personifying character to represent them. Still, it is a magnificent marketing tool. So, make it your best shot.
Arash is the equivalent of Buzz in Toy Story when he goes to infinity and beyond, but never comes back! responsible for our blog and content marketing efforts, he always delights the audience with his tenacity and passion in creating the extraordinary.