A mascot is a character that personifies a brand or communicates its values to an audience. Like a slogan or a logo, a mascot can assist in setting your brand apart from competitors’ brands. Mascots used in ad campaigns, such as the Geico® Gecko or the personified M&M’s®, usually promote their brands through humorous commercials and Web-based ads. Now, with the ubiquity of the Internet and social media, mascots can also be useful tools for engaging with customers through social media.
Progressive Insurance® (Flo) and the aforementioned Geico Gecko are examples of companies utilizing mascots to increase brand awareness through social media across Facebook and Twitter. A business can use this unique form of marketing to put a face on the company’s brand (aside from its logo) for consumers to interact with. Marketers can have these characters post content that is either directly related to the brand or is humorous yet only tangentially related. Both approaches help a company establish itself in an area where more and more consumers are spending their time. Consumers can engage with and react to a business’s mascot more casually than by passively viewing a marketing campaign, and this approach builds brand awareness in a way that’s both inexpensive and effective.
While a business could choose to create a social media account in its name, foregoing a mascot, that approach loses the sense of personality and memorability a well-designed mascot can provide. A celebrity endorsement can achieve a similar effect, having a personality promoting the brand. But aside from being exponentially more expensive, such endorsements run the risk of having any preconceptions regarding the celebrity bleed over into the brand. The celebrity’s future actions also have the potential to indirectly affect the brand, potentially damaging it. A mascot can act as a part of a brand that is just as controlled as a logo or slogan, but is flexible enough to organically react to trends and current events, and even directly respond to consumers and entertain them.
Bolstering a brand involves deliberate care of many aspects of the company’s image. A mascot can be an effective way to represent your brand over social media and to engage with your customers in a more relaxed environment. This helps build a relationship with consumers that can foster a sense of trust and loyalty, which can be all the difference in giving your brand an edge over the competition.