How to create a brand mascot that never goes history!
One of the critical aspects of a successful brand comes down to its ability to communicate with the audience in an efficient way. But how could you expect a thing (a brand) to communicate with a living and breathing being(the audience) when there is no means of communication on hand?
That’s where brand mascots come into play.
According to a survey conducted by Fortune, a whopping 54 per cent of the world’s most admired companies use mascots as a means of communication in their marketing campaigns.
Companies like M&Ms and Nintendo are among the ones who 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 are going to tell you everything you need to know about mascots and how to create them step by step. Besides, we mention some key factors of what makes a mascot tick.
What is a brand mascot and how can it add value to a brand?
Brand characters are like 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 are also the embodiment of 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!
A more psychological reason to have a brand character
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.
What is the brand mascot design 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 be it through colors, shape, gesture or any other feature.
- Brand persona: Technically, a brand mascot is creating 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 very important stage as it builds the momentum for great success in case of marketing your mascot.
2. Drawing and sketching
Almost all mascot designs start with a rough sketch because of the vital role shape language has in defining the character personality. Using different shapes and gestures requires specific examination. It should be done 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.
Best things to add more human touch to your brand character
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 how to choose 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 always 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 so that it feels more real and familiar for the audience.
What are the different types of mascot?
Mascots in shape of 3d animation come in all shapes and figures. Some are humans, and some are animals or objects. Here we are elaborating some of the most used mascots in the history of marketing.
A lot of the brand mascots are stylized representations of a person (mostly 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 a 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, 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.
Three of the most iconic mascot marketing campaigns? (best examples)
One of the reasons a lot of brands use mascots in their marketing campaigns is that they have such an immense power to make humans remember things. So when done correctly, corporate characters will make the most important aspects of a brand to 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
It is not possible to talk about Smarties and not think about M&Ms talking candies. The fact that there are different mascots for different flavors makes it a versatile option to promote on various campaigns. What is more, is that each color represents a different aspect of M&M’s brand value.
Duracell’s hyperactive bunny
If you look at Duracell 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
Mozilla is one of the well-known brands who use its mascot for most of the company 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 and straightforward with a friendly, human spirit. These same principles guide the brand and product messaging and reflect the overall experience upon the Firefox brand story.
If you take a look at our commercial animation studio page, you can see some of the best brand characters we have developed at Dream Farm.
Why should you include mascots in your content marketing campaigns?
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 soul of the organization.
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; you can hire brand ambassadors to promote your products. Having a brand mascot, however, is something not all brands land on; And that’s precisely why you should consider it because of the diversity, and the boldness will bring you.
Should I hire a designer or an animation studio to make my company mascot? [BONUS TIP]
Here is the big question everybody seems to be asking, and a lot of 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 one type of process; it requires a deep understanding of color psychology, brand story and character design.
As a result, a freelancer might want to outsource each step desperately. Because 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 it 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 who are experts in their specific and the result would be more high quality. Still you are the boss here and you can choose which one to go for.
A few words to remember
Creating a brand mascot is a big 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.