Why Do Brand Mascots Propel Startups to Soaring Success?

Why Do Brand Mascots Propel Startups to Soaring Success?
By Rojan

Table of Contents

Let’s imagine we want to create a brand mascot for  Samsung to make it stand out in its market of competitors. What would be a good choice?

A lion to focus on how strong their hardware is?

Not bad.

A rabbit that implies speed?

This could work, too.

Or maybe an anthropomorphized robot?

But people have already seen enough robots in the tech business. So, what would be a good choice for a startup or tech company that’s one day going to be as big as Samsung?

In this article, our brand agency will tell you why tech and startup mascots push your brand to the top. We’ll also help you create and choose the right mascot by sharing some tips that similar companies follow for the best.

In continuation, we’ll introduce some of our favorite brand mascots from these two types of companies.

But wait, do tech companies and startups really need brand mascots?

People who use apps and technology are usually educated because there’s some complexity in the products offered by companies that offer such services.

So, why not use a communicator that makes things easier for users? They need explanations along the way from a nice, helpful personality.

You don’t want your mascot to be an advertiser; You want it to be a COMMUNICATOR of your brand.

Moreover, nothing makes a brand more tangible than a brand mascot, especially if we’re talking about companies with bland characters, like insurance and tech companies.

Umbel was a data management platform whose brand mascot, the Luchador (meaning fighter in Spanish), was a perfect fit for them. The founder had a Mexican heritage and chose such a character because his startup’s mission was to fight online thieves and protect its users’ data rights.

Real image of the brand mascot of Umbel; El Luchador
Umbel’s Luchador is an example of brand-character consistency.

Startups, too, will find out sooner or later that a brand mascot is their best hope of outshining the competition.

Whether you run a B2C, B2B, FMCG, or SaaS company, a brand mascot can make a huge difference.

Tech companies benefit a lot from mascots but walk a rockier road

Even though tech companies enjoy the fruits of a strategic brand mascot, it’s not easy for them to have one. While cereals, snacks, biscuits, and fast food chains find it easier to get into the brand mascot game, technology companies undergo a complicated process.

Because it’s not the technology itself that requires a brand mascot but the products of the tech company.

For instance, Glomper was an app that helped people plan activities and events. The company’s mascot tried to convey its purpose and be likable but failed despite its “cuteness” and due to the fact that nobody could tell what it was!

Image of the brand mascot of Glomper app
Glomper’s brand mascot was confusing to the point that it was dropped despite being friendly and cute.

But no need to worry. There are many companies that have succeeded big time with their brand mascots, and we’ve included them in our blog. Here’s how you can know if your company needs a brand mascot and how it can thrive on it:

1. Read this article and see how companies with similar services use their brand mascots.

2. Contact one of our experts. We’ll give you a free consultation and tell you how your brand can benefit from a mascot.

For startup companies, however, it’s relatively easier

Although it takes time for them to really get to know themselves and submit what they stand for, matching their personality with their name, logo, and character seems to be working for them. When the mascot of ReadMe was introduced, their website visits went from 1000 visits to over 77,650 in just 48 hours. Impressive, isn’t it?

There’s also the question of money. For up-and-coming companies, each dime needs to be justified.

Related article

How Can Brand Mascots Grow Your Business? The Truth About the Forgotten Opportunity

How can brand mascots make startups & tech companies blow?

 To answer this question, we have to go through the core benefits of the ever-going success-bringing tool of tech and startup mascots:

1. It gives your startup a personality

You always look for things that make you different from your competitors. A catchy name, a memorable logo, a spectrum of services, reliability of products, and so on. But everyone works on the exact same things. These are awesome features to have as a startup, but a brand mascot is an ever-producing asset that’s been forgotten by some companies.

No matter the product or service, your brand needs to be more than just a name and line of services. If people see that your brand has a personality, they’d remember it more and go on to connect with it as if it were a person.

Image of Hootsuite's brand mascot "Owly" laughing
Hootsuit’s Owly has given the software and company a distinctive personality.

2. It’s a friendly guide for tech users

Using apps, programs, and anything technology-related requires some degree of knowledge. Users need help working with them. Brands offer user guides, provide a form or number for contact, and answer FAQs. However, when this is done with a friendlier face, users will feel more connected to the brand.

Your brand mascot’s image can be included in your app, giving tips and as a pop-up when there’s an error.

3. It provides multimedia leverage

Living in today’s super-advanced world, there’s a lot in it for brands if they’re present on different platforms. Your brand mascot can not only appear on your website, in commercials, and user guide, but it can also promote your product or services via:

Live events (as a wearable costume)

Symbolize the spirit of your startup, spark enthusiasm, and provide broader visibility and reach by displaying your brand mascot at company exhibitions, industry events, and even online meetings.
Immersive media (Metaverse): Brands are given a lot of creative freedom and sales opportunities in marketing in the metaverse without doing extensive travel or physical events.

NFT collections

NFTs create exclusivity and scarcity for your brand’s assets and let you dip your toe in global markets and enjoy partnership opportunities. Using NFTs doesn’t have to be limited to your mascot; Any asset can be a collectible.

Interactive media

The type of content that actively engages the audience and encourages their participation is far more immersive and memorable than passive content. In this area, a brand mascot can interact with people in real time to answer their questions and promote services and products.
Gamification

Who doesn’t like to play games? Gamification is a proven method to boost engagement and conversion rates on multiple platforms. What’s better, this type of campaign’s ads is not stopped by ad-blockers.

Image of banner of OwnVerse's metaverse advertisement solutions
OwnVerse has a virtual influencer that allows them to promote their brand on other platforms.
Image of screenshots of M&M's puzzle app
M&M is one of those brands that use gamification as a marketing method with its characters.

4. It helps with brand awareness

With a brand mascot, your brand’s no longer just a name and logo. People will become more easily familiar with your brand and product if it’s represented by a face.

Image showing the different brand mascots of Salesforce
Salesforces has an ensemble of brand mascots, each with its own distinctive personality and traits, promoting different services.

5. It allows effective communication

You already know that a successful brand has a solution for a problem, manages to tell its story, and articulates its goals. Having a character allows you to not only do this but also show the audience that they’re understood and create a dialogue with them, making long-term clients out of them.

8 tips to create successful technology and startup brand mascots

It’s been said time and again that if you have a disruptive idea that could shake the market, put it out there before someone else does. But it’s not the same with a brand mascot.

As we’re talking about the face of your brand, it’s crucial to show what you really represent.

But don’t worry. We’ve prepared a list of Dos and Don’t to provide a strategy for a successful, engaging brand mascot.

1. Don’t suffice to a logo

Brand mascots are more than logos. They’re characters that make your brand come to life. They can be used in your blog page, social media, animated ads, and even the Metaverse and NFT!

Screenshot of MailChimp's login page with its brand mascot "Freddie"
MailChimp frequently uses a monkey as its brand mascot.

2. Use your mascot sparingly

Saturating the viewer’s eyes with your mascot won’t do you any good. Sure, the audience should recognize your mascot within a few seconds on your social media channel or website but don’t feel the pressure of using it in every single corner.

Brand Agency Tip

The “About” page is a sensitive area. Show your mascot there only if it’s of high value to your company.

3. Be “yippy”, not like Clippy

Remember Clippy? The poor guy was actually a lovely, creative creation, but he popped up to ask stupid questions. After a while, all people remembered Clippy for were interruptions. Keep in mind the users of such services and put your mascot where there’s fun, user-friendliness, and efficiency.

A contradicting example would be ReadMe’s mascot, Owlbert, who makes a good impression on users from the Login page.

4. Use it inside your company, too

Selling your products is important. No doubt about that. However, brand mascots can come in handy in the work area, too.

A wearable mascot can welcome guests, chill with the staff, and be part of the family at gatherings, inaugurations, anniversaries, and other events.

Brand Agency Tip

Creating wearable mascots using inflatable costumes technology has some benefits: The disguise weighs little, the inflatable technology enables more shapes, the wearer’s comfortable and can perform for longer hours, and the shipping and mobility are easier.

Image of BambooHR's brand mascot making gestures in the office
The mascot of online HR software platform BambooHR hangs out with the staff in the company building.

5. Pick a natural brand mascot

Find out if a mascot feels natural to your brand identity and services. We believe that many brands need a mascot, but a funny, cute character might make your brand come off as childish.

6. Get the animal right

As we said in our examples in the beginning, different animals imply different things.

You want to stand out from the competition but if you’re going for an animal mascot, it needs to correspond to your brand’s identity.

Synk uses a Doberman, and Phoenix Security rocks a Falcon. For cybersecurity companies, we can’t see how a puppy and a pussy cat would’ve been wise choices.

Image of the logos of Synk and Phoenix Securities and their brand mascots: a Doberman and a hawk
Doberman and falcon characters convey a sense of security, Corresponding to the services their owner companies offer.

7. Remember that not all coincidences are bad

After giving a lot of thought and attending several brainstorming sessions, you’re still not sure what character to choose?

It’s okay. There are some companies that can’t explain why their brand mascot is an elephant and not a giraffe. But if they’re amiable and memorable, go for it.

However, I repeat that it’s better to consult an advertising agency to sort out your ideas and use their expertise.

8. Talk about your backstories

You want to get roasted online? Go against Wendy’s. The smiling redhead girl may embarrass you today, but she’s her daddy’s little girl first. That’s right. Melinda Lou “Wendy” is the daughter of Dave Thomas, the brand’s founder.

Screenshot of a mean tweet by fast food restaurant Wendy's
Wendy’s is known for its backstory and humorous (sometimes offensive) tweets.

The Pixar Lamp has quite an interesting backstory to it too. Luxo was a lamp sitting on director-animator John Lasseter’s desk, and after being inspired by a co-worker’s newborn, Luxo Jr. was born.

Pixar's brand mascot "Luxo Jr." the Lamp next to the animation company's logo
The Pixar Lamp has become a memorable character due to its famous backstory and human-like movements.

What’s the story behind your brand’s mascot? Was the CEO spooked by a crow on the day he came up with the idea of your corporation? Trust me, it’s interesting for people to know!

Here’s how some startup and technology brand mascots have done it

Now that you are familiar with the world of brand mascots used by tech companies and startups let me show you some examples that will help you with your own brand’s mascot creation.

1. Salesforce’ Astro Nomical

Image of Astro, the brand mascot of Salesforce, leaping in the air

According to the could-based company, Astro was at first an MTV-inspired “moon landing” graphic their developer team wanted to print on t-shirts for participants at a Developer Week conference. Their community loved the character so much that they decided to bring it to life.

Now, Astro is part of Salesforce’s free online learning platform Trailhead and welcomes visitors to their trailblazer community.

Like the other mascots of the company, Astro has personal traits that make him unique:

• His pronouns are They/them

• He represents community and inclusion

• He’s faithful, happy, curious, adventurous, inspiring, joyful, caring, and versatile

• His main duty is welcoming people to Trailhead and the Trailblazer community

• He frequently hangs out with the community and promotes Trailhead during live events.

Image of Salesforce brand mascot "Astro" in a live event

His social media presence is also strong and charms people and gets them to talk about the company.

Image of Salesforce brand mascot "Astro" in an Instagram post by the company

2. Tux the Linux Penguin

Do you remember when I told you that people like backstories?

Long story short, the program’s writer, Linus Torvalds, was bitten by a penguin, and it didn’t stop him from making the animal the company’s mascot three years later!

After getting the cute, ample belly, he was named Tux as an abbreviation for Torvalds Unix.

Linus says he wanted a cuddly character, not a corporate one. And people loved him! He’s been the face of the Linux brand ever since.

Tux is the only mascot on our list to be featured in video games (SuperTux, Tux Paint, SuperTuxKart, Tux Racer, Tux Math Scrabble, and more). He’s even made a small cameo in a Froot Loops commercial!

3. AOL’s Running Man

In the 90s, people had already witnessed the moon landing, computers, CGI, and portable phones. Technology was making lives easier. But it was all moving too fast, and some were a bit intimidated. That’s why tech companies started using friendly, playful brand mascots.

In AOL’s case, we can’t say their character was “playful,” but it convinced people that their messenger was fast. A yellow, dashing man was all they needed.

The Running Man’s design was inspired by postwar logos, and it made one hell of a silhouette that was inducted into Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame; one of the highest honors a mascot can receive.

4. Jeeves the Butler from Ask Jeeves

A butler or a valet, as many consider him to be, the idea of either one fetching you what you were looking for in a search engine was genius!

Jeeves garnered many loyal fans and answered many questions for years, but despite his helpfulness, he didn’t appeal to the younger audience anymore. He did not seem like the right person to answer people’s “more sophisticated” questions, and the company had to drop him in 2006.

Image of a floatable Jeeves the Butler in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Jeeves the Bultler’s floating balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

5. TiVo’s Bouncy TV character

Even though the creators of TiVo failed to reach the same level of memorability as Mickey Mouse, we like how it looks and what it represents.

The mascot’s a combination of old TV (antennas) and obtaining and bringing things for customers (the legs).

Following the simplification of logos, he’s got a different look. Still, we remember him as a friendly character with the letters T-I-V-O symbolizing his eyes and nose and a line below that’s supposed to be his mouth. The black bouncy character

6. Grubhub’s Grubby

We just love personalities we relate to. Looking at Grubby, I think, “Look, he’s me, an average Joe!”. There are no complexities in the characters’ designs, and the animation looks really cool.

In their Delivery Dance commercial, the “dude” Grubby and his friends start to boogie after their meals are delivered. This resonates with many people as they become joyous when they get the delicious orders they’ve been impatiently waiting for.

7. Java’s The Duke

It’s hard to tell what the Duke is, so his demeanor is open to interpretation.

Image of Java's brand mascot "The Duke" as a wearable brand mascot in an event

The character-thingy was designed to serve as users’ software agents and perform tasks for them. He’s grown more popular among the geek bunch and has appeared in Java’s tutorials, the company’s headquarters, and venues.

8. Gopuff’s Puffer Fish

Image of Gopuff's brand mascot; A puffer fish, as a wearable costume in the streets

The goPuff mascot, designed by the same creative team that created Tony the Tiger, has become a part of the Philadelphia delivery startup’s overall brand and is frequently displayed on social media accounts and at in-person events that Gopuff attends. The creative group behind Tony the Tiger’s conception and realization really created the Puffer Fish.

9. Loggly’s HOOVER

Image of Hoover, the brand mascot for the Loggly company

Hoover has spent his entire life working in the logging sector and is a seasoned expert in log handling.

We’ve overheard him saying, “I could give a good dam!” when asked how much wood costs these days. The current mascot and Chief Twitterer of the log management and analytics service company that offers cloud-based services despises ponies, on-site log files, and software downloads, and occasionally he refers to himself as “Nice Beaver” in the third person.

Key takeaways

Congratulations! You must be very enthusiastic about having a brand mascot for your company to have come thus far! To wrap things up, our article can be summarized in the following:

1. Brand mascots help build a strong emotional connection with the target audience by being “human” communicators. Most businesses can benefit from a brand mascot as long as it’s created and executed in alliance with the brand’s personality and purpose.

2. Users need help using services such as apps, and a brand mascot can be a great way for the company to help and guide its users.

3. Brand mascots also entertain staff members and give extra personality to the company’s working environment.

4. If aligned with the company’s personality and what they went through to make it all happen, the mascot would turn into a proud symbol and reminder for everyone working there.

5. Business owners and companies can learn a lot by studying the creative process and launch of successful brand mascots. Besides, brand agencies can offer professional help and save them time by showing the right steps.

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