Bring Brand Recognition to Life: How Small Businesses Can Benefit From Having a Mascot
Updated: Jan 2
For years, I helped Quick Quack Car Wash (now a national car wash brand), develop and evolve their brand mascot. His formal name is Quackalton Duckswell, but most of us know him as "Quackals." I spent many a day illustrating the fluffy duck in all sorts of costumes and predicaments. From Quackals dressing up as Shakespeare's Hamlet to driving on long road trips with a heavily packed car to hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner with one of his BFFs, who, by no coincidence was a turkey. Big corporations have used mascots for years to increase profit margins and promote their brand image. Mascots have a long and storied history, and if done right, can go a long way in helping a brand stand out from its competitors. But is a brand mascot right for a small business?
Benefits of a Brand Mascot
Any tool used to reinforce a company's brand identity and message is a solid way to build brand awareness. Mascots are one such tool. Not only can they help you stand out from the competition, but they can also create an emotional connection with customers, keep them engaged, and build customer loyalty. Plus, it can help make your business even more memorable.
Increased Brand Recognition
A brand mascot provides a fun, lighthearted way for people to engage with a business. It creates a memorable visual representation of your brand that customers can easily identify and remember. Mascots bring life and personality to your business, making it more relatable and approachable.
A well-designed brand mascot can create a unique identity for the brand and help to make it stand out from its competitors. A good mascot can create an affinity and loyalty to a brand that is difficult to replicate.
Brand mascots can help to differentiate a brand by creating a memorable and relatable connection with consumers. Creating an emotional connection with customers gives them a face to associate with the brand that stands out compared to competitors. This can help to create brand loyalty and bring people back to the brand again and again.
Having a mascot can also help to drive engagement with your brand. People are naturally drawn to characters and will be more likely to interact with your business if they have a mascot to associate with it. Quackals is often depicted doing fun and relatable activities like flying paper airplanes, posing for selfies, or tending to his family flock, which makes him more relatable and likable to potential customers.
Improved Brand Loyalty
People tend to form emotional connections with characters, which can make them more likely to become loyal to your brand. By consistently representing the Quick Quack Car Wash brand in a cute and likable way, Quackals helps to create a positive impression of the company in the minds of potential customers. This, in turn, could lead to increased customer satisfaction and a desire to continue doing business with the company, potentially leading to increased loyalty.
Increased Bottom Line
A well-designed and effective mascot can help to create a positive association with a brand which can ultimately drive sales and revenue for the company. In fact, according to research on the effectiveness of advertising with characters by Technicolour Creative Studios, company data shows that brand mascots and characters can increase profit and emotional connection with customers by up to 41%*. Whoa. That's pretty significant.
Pitfalls to Avoid
While it's true that mascots can make a brand more memorable and endearing, they can also be a significant source of potential pitfalls if they're not handled correctly.
Don’t Forget the Mascot’s Purpose
The purpose of a mascot is to be a memorable face of the brand and create a deeper connection with customers. Mascots help to create an emotional connection with your customers and can be used to help explain complex concepts in an entertaining way. Your mascot should be easy to recognize and appeal to your target demographic. Additionally, it's important to ensure that your mascot differentiates your brand from the competition and remains consistent across all platforms. Make sure the design captures the essence of the brand in an identifiable way.
Don't Neglect Personality
A mascot's personality needs to align with the core values of the brand while having an approachable persona that consumers can easily relate to. Start by brainstorming characteristics that reflect your brand's message and target audience. Consider the mascot's age, interests, likes, and dislikes. Create a backstory to give your mascot a personality and determine how it will interact with your audience. How will it help promote your brand and create a connection with your target market? Finally, consider how the mascot might evolve over time, allowing it to stay relevant and interesting to your audience.
Not Considering Your Target Audience
When creating a brand mascot, you want to make sure that it resonates with your target customer. Understanding the target audience's values, interests, and needs will help to create a mascot that resonates with them. The Quackals character appealed to moms and kids who drive through Quick Quack on a regular basis. Make sure your mascot has the right look, personality, and message that appeals to your target audience.
Ensure the Mascot is Timeless
To ensure that a brand mascot can evolve over time, it's important to recognize the current landscape and the changing trends of the industry. Companies should also consider how their mascot can reach different consumer segments and reflect their values. To keep the mascot fresh and relevant, it's important to periodically review the mascot and make appropriate changes such as updating the look and giving it a new spin on the story. The design of Quackals has evolved over the years to be a softer and more approachable character by rounding harsh lines and thickening his outline. Companies should also look to social media to help shape the evolution of the mascot by responding to feedback from their customers.
Don’t Get Too Literal
When selecting a mascot, look for one that captures the spirit of the brand, as opposed to something overly literal. Start by thinking of the mascot in terms of a character or personality trait that will embody your brand. Consider the function of this character and what they bring to the brand – then brainstorm ideas that fit that role. A llama might be a great choice for a company that sells outdoor gear like backpacks as llamas are known to carry heavy loads while a health-focused company such as a health food store might use a personified carrot. Mascots should be fun and engaging and should help tell the story of your brand in a unique and creative way.
Don’t Overload the Mascot with Features
Too many bells and whistles can make a mascot look like a hot mess and totally miss the mark. Keep the design simple and focused. Only include features that are necessary and relevant to the mascot's purpose. Additionally, try and limit the number of colors used in the design, as too many colors can be distracting and overwhelming. Finally, make sure to test the mascot element to ensure that it looks good in different sizes and formats. This will help ensure that the mascot remains recognizable and effective no matter where it is used.
Ultimately, a brand mascot can give your business a fun and creative edge over competitors and can be an effective and affordable way to help your small business stand out and succeed. Your brand's message, personality, and values will determine the mascot that's right for your business. If you put solid effort into building the right backstory and character, you can get people rallying around your brand and starting conversations that help you build a solid fan base with a tool that blows traditional marketing out of the water.
*Brand mascots will send your profits and emotional connection soaring - Campaign UK Sep 22, 2021
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Considering a brand mascot for your business? Reach out. I can help.