Is a Mascot a Must?

From McDonalds Ronald and 7Up’s Fido to Disney’s Mickey Mouse and the five M&M’s spokescandies, there’s a business case for creating a mascot for sure. But does that mean every business needs a mascot?  In short, no, but for certain types of business and brands a mascot is without doubt a killer marketing asset.

Characters create instant visual engagement and interaction and give a brand a personality. When you think of McDonalds you visualize Ronald right? Or mention Disney and of course you’re going to hear the cute voice of Mickey Mouse.  Notice that we asked you about what you see and hear when we mention a brand with a mascot.  A mascot’s visual appearance as well as their voice are both memorable, and that’s important.  You can have just the visual aspect, or you can add a voice to it too.


Mascots create greater brand awareness because they are a visual representation of what the brand stands for.  KFC’s Colonel Sanders, the founder of the company itself, is the epitome of the heritage of the brand.  Who would have thought that an old man’s face could make such a memorable mascot, incorporated into the company’s logo.  “Created years after the death of its founder, this friendly smiling face with glasses, white hair and goatee certainly has turned out to be a super successful choice of a brand character conveying professionalism and vast chef experience.” Says GraphicMama


Creating a brand image is half the job though. What’s more important, and a little more difficult, is sustaining that image. If you have a mascot that you want to be the visual representative of your brand, then it needs to be integrated into all campaigns, every advert, social media post and marketing plan so that it becomes a constant element.


Mascots can be a great way to stimulate and revive brands that are traditionally dull.  Think of dish washing liquid or hand soap, for example, and how refreshing a character would be instead of flowers or dishes as the norm.  If you have a brand that is struggling to make it’s mark or one that needs a little push, then try creating a mascot to add personality and revive it!


Greater recall and creating memorability is every marketer’s aim. Mascots help you do that with ease. What’s more, a mascot is an enduring image that does not age or change with time. Consumers remember your brand just as it is…fresh, funny (if that applies) and new as ever.


Your business might sell a less than sexy product such as insurance, or it might offer millennials experiences or a service. Regardless of your product, a mascot can help bring personality and brand recognition to your business. But before you get going with creating that cute animal or character, here are some mascot strategies to consider.


  1. Define Your Goals


Not every company needs a mascot to establish a brand. To determine if creating one is a good idea, lay out your company’s goals first. Outline the branding strategy behind your mascot and how it will help bring recognition and clarity to your business and services. Remember, the mascot will represent your company at all times. Your team should know your mascot’s purpose, identity and personality and embrace it as a team member. Otherwise, a poorly formed idea and brand mascot will only bring confusion to your branding and marketing efforts.


  1. Make It Memorable and RecognizableRecognizing and understanding your product is one of the primary purposes to use a mascot. Your business is also at the advantage that your mascot isn’t a real person or celebrity who might make the news for acting inappropriately.


  1. Celebrity RecognitionConsider hiring a celebrity to give your mascot a distinctive voice – keep Mickey Mouse in mind. For the South African context think of Suzelle’s instantly recognizable voice.


  1. Personalize Your CompanyA mascot should help bring your core values front and center. Reddit uses an alienthat helps identify its practical use and intelligent audience that often discuss less than mainstream topics.  Others help educate consumers on what your company does and puts a name to a face.


Remember, while a mascot can be fun and engaging, the factors behind why you created it are serious ones.  Take the time to carefully consider if you need a mascot.  And if you do, give us a shout.  Our team loves to illustrate!