On Twitter, where personality reigns, how do you raise the volume of your voice without being squelched by your followers?
How about introducing a mascot?
From Cap’n Crunch to Captain Morgan, certain brands who have historically used mascots in traditional advertising are discovering that many of their fans take great pleasure in conversing with their gregarious fictional characters.
In June, social media agency fishbat conducted a study analyzing the effects of mascots in brand’s social media presences, concluding that they generate more buzz than brands with celebrity spokespeople. And not only are mascots cheaper and under your complete control, but they also can’t be Tiger Woods’d or Paula Dean’d, unless of course that were to become a gimmick.
In fact, the results of the study were so surprising that the company behind the research (Synthesio) decided “to create its own mascot to help with brand awareness.”
Confused.com, the insurance and financial services price comparison website, recently launched “Brian the Robot” on Twitter to help followers with questions relating to their services.
@AliceSykesx Hello Alice. I am glad you need me. But I am not a man. I am the fastest insurance comparison robot in the world.
— BRIAN (@BRIANtheRobot) July 10, 2013
“In the past,” says Sharon Flaherty, head of PR at Confused.com, “we talked a lot about car insurance, whereas now we want to focus more on emphasizing the level of expertise we have.” (PRWeek)
There are certainly caveats to playing the mascot game, however:
- Not talking to a real person – conversation may feel artificial
- Mascots can hardly be relied upon to broach sensitive topics
- More easily mocked/parodied/faked (if unverified) than your standard company account
- Difficult to maintain character in the long run
Warnings aside, if you have a good idea for a brand mascot and you know you can sustain the character’s voice, have at it. Cap’N Crunch’s goofy Twitter handle entertains fans with ‘jokevertisements’ such as the doctored Aeschylus quote below. Mr. Clean (@RealMrClean) regales followers with anecdotes from his banal “staycation.”
I know how men in exile feed on dreams of Crunch. #capnsquotes
— Cap’n Crunch (@RealCapnCrunch) July 10, 2013
How can your brand leverage the use of a mascot to raise awareness on social media?