Over 4 million blog posts are published online every day, according to the latest statistics.
Can you just imagine how all of that content makes it difficult to stand out?
And that’s why creating a strong and recognizable brand is so important.
If you want people to remember you, you have to give them something to remember.
In this post, you’ll get an inside look at the creative process that goes into developing a brand mascot and insights you can use to develop your own. You’ll also meet Blogging Wizard’s mascot.
Let’s get started:
Creating a recognizable brand
There are many roads that can lead you to creating a strong brand. It could be your writing style, your humor, or the way you communicate with your audience.
But here we are going to focus on the visual side of branding.
You have a logo design for sure. But what about your images?
How do you brand the images for your posts? How do you make your social media visuals stand out?
Let’s take as an example the visual branding of Blogging Wizard.
Blogging Wizard have a distinctive color palette and style of their visuals:
But what else can you do to make your visuals distinctive?
Imagine if you can have highly recognizable visuals even if they have different styles or colors.
By using a mascot associated with your brand.
Mascots, also called brand characters or spokes-characters, serve as an ambassador of your blog or business.
Mascots, like the M&M’s characters, Geico’s Gecko, or the Michelin Man that we all know, have always been part of the branding strategies of businesses in various niches.
In recent years, mascots have become extremely popular in the online world.
- Mascots are attention-grabbing and memorable
- They help with expressing the brand personality
- They establish a personal connection with the audience
- They can be used in various marketing campaigns and visuals
Let’s hear from Adam himself why he decided to create a mascot for Blogging Wizard:
Over the years, I’ve seen a bunch of different mascots and I loved how they were instantly recognizable and extremely memorable.
While Blogging Wizard started off as a personal blog, it’s always felt like more than a personal brand to me. Especially considering the growth of traffic (and the team) in recent years.
So, a mascot seemed like the perfect way to add a new dimension to the Blogging Wizard brand.Adam Connell – Blogging Wizard
Now let’s have a sneak peek behind the curtain and see how the Blogging Wizard’s mascot was created.
How to design a mascot
There are five main steps in the process of creating a mascot.
Step 1: Planning the concept of the character
For some brands, it’s easy to choose a character. Let’s say you are branding cat food. It would be odd to choose a camel for a mascot, right?
But for others like Blogging Wizard the possibilities are endless.
When Adam first contacted me, he had an idea of what kind of mascot he was looking for.
Of course, the character should be a wizard, but he didn’t want yet another old white-bearded wizard. Adam wanted something very specific and recognizable.
How did Adam choose a dragon?
A regular old wizard seemed like the obvious choice. It could have worked pretty well sure, it wouldn’t have been so unique. In my mind, a dragon seemed like it would be more memorable and harder to ignore.
Then there’s the brand tone to consider – a dragon is a lot more fun and far less serious than an old wizard. Which was the exact vibe I was aiming for.
Step 2: Exploring through sketches
In the beginning, it’s hard to imagine the final result. That’s why sketching is crucial.
Initially, we planned to create a baby dragon. But while sketching we decided to make the dragon a little bit older, more like a toddler.
We experimented with different outfits.
Then we tried out different accessories. We added glasses and a book to accentuate his competence and wisdom. We also replaced the magic rod with a wand.
And here is the final result.
Step 3: Creating the digital design
Once we have the sketch it’s time to create the digital version and choose the colors.
For Blogging Wizard that was the easy part. They have a 7-color brand palette. So we just played with some of the accent colors.
However, many brands work with 3-color palettes. For a logo and website design 3 colors are enough, but you will need more if you want a mascot.
So create a 5 or 7-color brand palette to make your visuals consistent and recognizable, especially if you are going to use a mascot.
In the end, the final touches like shadows and textures are added. And here’s the dragon finished!
However, if you’d like to get the full potential of your character this is just the beginning.
Your next step is to bring your character to life.
Step 4: Add emotions
Emotion is one of the crucial factors to make your character look alive.
Think about what situations you are going to put your character in and what emotions would suit her/him.
Step 5: Put your mascot in action
Making your character perform different actions is the other key to bringing life into your mascot. The poses and the actions also depend on the character and the context you are going to use it for.
At best you should have poses from each of the following categories.
- General Poses:
- Working on a computer;
- Talking on the phone, etc.
- Functional Poses – can be used in various scenarios to promote your content or products:
- Pointing to something;
- Holding an object;
- Holding a sign or a paper you can write on, etc.
- Character Specific Poses – related to the specificity of your character. Falkor is a wizard, so his special ability is magic.
Sounds fun to have a mascot. But how exactly can you use it?
Where (and how) to use a brand character
It’s extremely important to build a strategy on how you are going to use your mascot. Without the strategy, you can easily overuse your mascot and make it annoying for your audience.
Let’s have a look at where and how you can use it to promote your blog or business.
While it’s not necessary to make your character a part of your logo, it’s a good idea to have an image on your website of your character interacting with the logo. This will help the audience to associate the mascot with your brand faster.
You can also have your logo somewhere on the mascot itself.
For example, we placed the Blogging Wizard’s logo on the Falkor’s belt and the book. We also used their distinctive star for the stars coming out from the wand and the pattern of the outfit.
You can use your character on your homepage or product/service pages or wherever you’d want to.
Note: You should be careful when you promote your services directly with your character, you risk people to start seeing your mascot as a salesperson.
You can also use the mascot as part of subscription boxes and pop-ups.
Apart from these common practices, there are some other creative ways to involve your mascot.
Allow your mascot to interact with the visitors directly
Curious fact. Research shows that mascots are most effective when people can interact with them.
MailChimp certainly takes the crown for the most creative way to interact with the user.
You’ve probably met Frederick von Chimpenheimer IV (Freddie for short) – the MailChimp spokes-character. MailChimp was a pioneer in the friendly way they communicate with the users. For example, whenever you hit the send button of a new email-campaign you get a high-five from Freddie.
Note: Keep in mind that the interaction with the user should happen in positive situations. Do not use it when the user is frustrated.
Otherwise, your character will end up like Clippy, the Microsoft Office Assistant.
Clippy was the mascot of the Office Assistant launched in Windows 97. Occasionally, Clippy did offer some useful tips, but most of the time Clippy was just staring at you and dancing at the corner of the screen. Clippy provoked strong negative reactions and eventually, he was left out.
Let’s have a look at some other creative ways you can use your spokes-character.
Even the most boring pages on your website can skyrocket your traffic!
You can catch the attention of your visitors even in the most boring pages.
The tech company ReadMe is a great example. They provide code documentation software – that’s not an exciting niche. That’s why they decided to spice up their brand with a mascot.
In the beginning, the only place they put their mascot was the login page. They also added a colorful detail – when you click on the password field the character closes his eyes.
To their surprise, their login page got extremely popular. For 48 hours, their visits jumped from 1000 to 77,652 daily.
As I mentioned above, it’s important to have a positive interaction between your character and your audience. This also applies to the content you promote with your character. Use your mascot to provide valuable information to your visitors.
That’s why your blog is one of the best places to use your brand character.
Based on the content of your blog, you may plan several poses and actions. Later, you can use them to create various images for your blog.
If you have a freebie such as an ebook, a guide or a checklist, you can create an eye-catching cover and in-text illustrations with the character. The cover will not only make your freebie more attractive but it will also help you promote your character as well.
Social media is the place where your character can shine.
You can do much more than promoting your blog posts and creating call to action. When you have a mascot you can create entertaining sharable content.
Here are some ideas:
- Holidays are a great opportunity to show the human side of your mascot (and your brand).
- Put your character in funny or frustrating situations that your audience can relate to.
- Use the viral topics and challenges circling around social media at the moment.
If you know the struggles, interests and aspirations of your audience, you can easily create content that resonates with them!
Want to see more ideas? Check out my post on how to use a mascot to make your brand go viral.
To sum up
A brand character can differentiate your brand and help you build trust with your audience.
Here are the key points to take with you:
- Create a 5 or 7-color brand palette to make your visuals consistent and recognizable, especially if you are going to use a mascot.
- Emotions and actions are the crucial factors to make your character look alive. To choose the facial expressions and the actions, think about how and where you are going to use your spokes-character.
- It’s important to plan a visual strategy beforehand. This will help you choose the right emotions and actions for your mascot.
- Be careful when you promote your services directly with your character, you risk people to start seeing your mascot as a salesperson. Instead, use your character to provide valuable information to your audience.
- Let your audience interact with your mascot. Keep in mind that the interaction with the user should happen in positive situations.
- Social media is the place where your mascot can shine. Stay up to date with the hottest topics on social media and be creative, experiment!
Mascots are probably the most entertaining marketing tool. However, in order to be successful, you should choose the right mascot, develop the character and make it part of your branding and marketing strategies. If you make your brand character unique and look for creative ways to use it your audience will love it for sure!
Are you thinking about getting a mascot? I’ve created a post on how to create a brand mascot, it includes everything you need to know before jumping into the design process. So don’t miss it!
Falkor was created with lots of care and enthusiasm! I hope you’ll enjoy his company on Blogging Wizard!