Research shows that brand characters are among the most memorable brand elements. When consumers hear a brand name, they often tend to reconstruct the image of the respective brand’s character. This is very much valid for widely popular mascots such as Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders, the Polar Bear and Mickey Mouse. However, in order to prove a booster of brand success, a brand character should be created as an efficient tool for the implementation of the brand’s strategy. Therefore, each brand character should not only comply with, but also should embody and champion the following core brand positioning elements:
A brand character should identify itself with the heart and the soul of a brand i.e. with the brand mantra. A successful mascot always personifies the essence and the values of a brand. Ronald McDonald is the happy clown that persuasively conveys McDonald’s associations with fun, family and food. Colonel Sanders is the symbol of preserved traditions in procuring good taste. The image of Santa Claus recreates the strength of emotional bonding, being among the advantages of Coca Cola. The above presented instances show the tight connection between the time-tested mascots and the mantras of the brands, they represent.
To exert a powerful impact on the emotions of brands’ target audiences, it is recommended that a brand character should be adapted to the mindset of a brand’s target groups. That is why characters like Ronald McDonald and Danonino are very suitable to conveying brand messages to children. Children perceive these characters as interesting and attractive, trust them and turn the formation of their eating habits into play.
Unique Selling Proposition
Enhancing a brand’s efforts to differentiate from the competition is among the major functions of a brand character. A mascot should focus on these brand’s features which make the brand unique. Thus, Colonel Sanders guarantees the traditional good taste of KFC products, whereas the white polar bear proves a symbol of the purity of Coca Cola’s drinks.
The messages, conveyed by a brand character, should comply with the voice of the brand. If a brand is promoted as being entertaining like the Disney brand, the appropriate mascot is a cheerful figure such as Mickey Mouse. On the other hand, in case the voice of a brand is associated with power, a masculine, strong character with the respective vocabulary suits the brand like P&G’s Mr. Clean.
Brand Visual Identity
Not only should the instances of verbal and non-verbal communication of a brand character clearly embody the brand’s voice, but the mascot’s appearance should correspond to the brand’s visual identity. The colours of a brand character should be the same as or combine well with the colours of the brand’s logo, for instance. As brand colours are meaningful, the harmony of colours transfers brand meaning to mascots to make them powerful brand equity enhancement tools.