At first glance, many mascots can seem simply like joyful, cute, or interesting personifications of a business. Others become so ubiquitous in daily life through advertising and media that they become a part of the fabric of pop culture. Mascots frequently appear in ads designed to be witty or amusing in some way. Considering all that, one might write off mascots as superficial. The reality is much different. Mascots are for much more than just putting a smile on a customer’s face — though that function is more important than it may seem.
Designing a mascot that represents your company’s personality, values, and message is often a lot of fun. It’s a chance to distill what’s important about your brand into a representative image. Once that’s done, though, it will do more than just delight customers. That’s precisely why they’re worth taking seriously.
First, mascots create a link of association between their own image, your company’s services, and a brand’s reputation. No one looks at the Michelin Man and thinks “those are bad tires,” for example. Years of reliable service reflect well on your business, but it’s your mascot which embodies that dedication. The right mascot combined with hard work and dedication on the business side can create a more powerful, more effective brand. When someone needs the service or product you offer in the future, your mascot may be the image their mind’s eye conjures up — and that equals more business for you. A carefully crafted mascot makes forging this association easier for your current and potential customers.Mascots also take on more importance as they age. In the age of rebranding, where companies constantly reinvent themselves, the mascots which stand the test of time all enjoy a similar regard. These mascots represent the longevity and long-term quality of the brand. Consider the way RCA used the image of a dog enjoying a gramophone recording, for decades. The art itself is over a century old. Even so, it’s still enough to make people think “RCA Victor.” The familiar comfort of a friendly mascot is a powerful feeling to be able to instill in consumers.
Finally, a more practical benefit to mascots besides their symbolic power is the way they literally mark your business. Spot a mascot from afar, and you instantly know what business resides there, even if you’re far down the street. Advertisements can completely forego a company’s name and remain recognizable as long as the mascot appears — even as only a small graphic in a corner. This makes it easier to stand out everywhere, be it in a sea of social media posts and shares or on a street crowded with businesses.
In spite of the happy face mascots put on your business, they represent quite a serious purpose. Building up brands is hard work. It’s a little easier, though, when you make your business instantly recognizable. That lends them a value far beyond their more superficial uses. It’s why every business should carefully consider whether a mascot is appropriate for its brand.