Ever found yourself struggling with choosing a cereal brand at a supermarket? Boxes and packs from a number of food brands are stacked on the shelves in such an identical manner that you sometimes have to resort to the ‘Eenie Meenie Miney’ approach to pick up a pack of cereals!
Wait, let’s go back in time and start from where you came near the cereals’ shelves, to pick up a pack of your favorite morning-time snack! Suddenly, the image of a vibrant red character catches your eyes! It is the iconic character of CORNELIUS ROOSTER from Kellogg’s! And, instantly, your hand goes to grab that box of cereals!
If we could explain this in a business language, we’d say this is called ‘Top of the Mind Awareness’ that gets triggered when you see or hear a relatable picture or a phrase! And, for that, characters and mascots have an unimaginable power in keeping a brand remembered for decades and even centuries.
The reason characters have worked so well for B2C companies is because they make a brand easier to understand. They can personify a brand, attaching an element of mass appeal and memorability! Brand characters also create excitement and are very relatable. It’s hard to forget a doughboy that laughs when you poke his belly or a walking pitcher of Kool-Aid that yells “Oh yeah!”. Characters even make products like insurance more fun: Think of Gecko from Geico or Flo from Progressive Insurance.
It seems that B2C companies have traditionally given more room for artistic creativity while those in B2B have maintained serious professionalism. But instead of focusing so tightly on respectability and credentials-oriented messaging, B2B companies should consider humanizing their products and services through a character or a brand mascot.
Well, you might say that a B2B offering is not a box of cereals! It is definitely not! But, at the end of the day, all companies speak to people. Even when you address a company, you’re actually addressing the decision makers in that company. You establish a conversation with them via a variety of channels, send and receive messages, and enter into a long-term relationship with them. When you add a brand character to your marketing toolbox, especially when your competitors do not have one, your brand gains a relative advantage, which you can always develop and leverage further.
If you were to find the ultimate marketing person, who has the following qualities:
You would hire that person without a second thought, right? Well, let us tell you – that person is your brand character or mascot!
While brand mascots and characters come in handy with all the aforementioned advantages, there is a recommended way of using them in your marketing! Mascots making baseless claims and uttering salesy quotes might tick off your target audience as much as a not-so-smart chatbot that doesn’t understand the context and comes in with pre-programmed responses. Moreover, the personification of brand characters won’t work unless they have a backstory associated with them! And, storytelling can provide the context that these characters need to be able to talk to your relevant target audience!
Let’s look at an example of how weaving a story with a business offering can make your brand character or mascot the unforgettable hero!:
Well, the party doesn’t end here! We just now looked at two video examples from the B2C space. Now, let’s divert our attention to Winsupply. The Winsupply Family of Companies is a leading supplier of materials for residential and commercial construction as well as for industrial use. It’s their top mission to provide entrepreneurs with guidance and services to start and run wholesale distribution businesses that in turn support local contractors and their businesses.
Let’s look at how this company opted for a character based storytelling approach and revamped their entire ballgame of marketing with us:
Now that you know about the most appealing format of storytelling via characters and mascots, you would be eager to know what are the ideal steps that your brand must follow! Here’s a visual and informative treat on:
HOW TO DESIGN A CHARACTER THAT HELPS YOUR BRAND GROW: