We all know by now how important branding is in business. As more and more small businesses come into existence and develop a presence on the web, and more and more blogs aim to grab at our attention, elements that can help us remember a given name and associate it with the values its creators want to put forward make a big difference.
Branding is a very broad term for all of the elements that make up an enterprise’s identity. While many people think of just a logo and a name as brand elements, there are actually dozens of things that can be used to reinforce a brand, such as a color scheme, a uniform, a tone used in writing, or a specific way of greeting customers (remember Skyler in Breaking Bad telling everyone to ‘have an A1 day’? That was a lesson in branding!). One element that some companies use to great effect is a mascot – a character that is associated with their brand. Is this something you should consider for your company?
Where Are Mascots Most Used?
You may think that mascots are mostly used to sell things that appeal to children, considering their cute nature. However, this is not actually the case. Mascots are used to sell all kinds of things and represent all different brands – not just sports teams and theme parks! Consider the brand of kitchen paper you buy. Does it have a mascot? How about your cleaning products? Mr Muscle, the Andrex puppy, the Charmin bear – these are all mascots used to brand fairly mundane products. In Japan, mascots are used for just about every conceivable enterprise, with every effort made for even the most ordinary items to be associated with a ‘kawaii’ or ‘cute’ character.
Case Study of Mascots in Tech – PrestaShop’s New Puffin Character
Mascots are making something of a resurgence in the tech industry (though hopefully that doesn’t mean Clippy the Microsoft paperclip will be coming back in Windows 10). We are all familiar with the robot that serves as a mascot for Android, and now more and more software platforms and websites are creating brand characters as well. As an example, in the latest version of hugely popular open source online retail platform PrestaShop, the brand not only added new functionality and improved their platform’s performance, but also added in a new mascot – Preston the puffin. PrestaShop is something that is used by people who run online businesses, and therefore not in any way marketed at children, and yet the cute puffin character really enhances their branding and makes using the platform somehow more fun!
No matter what your product or niche, if you think it would be beneficial to your brand, make it more memorable, and perhaps give the appearance of a fun, friendly and modern company, then there is no reason not to get to designing your own mascot. The only thing to be careful about is not to overuse them, and to make them un-intrusive enough that they are fun, rather than annoying!