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Here’s a quick question for you. What – or rather who – comes to mind when you think of the term ‘brand character’?
Whether it’s Tony the Tiger, Aleksandr Orlov (the Russian meerkat) or one of Dreamwork’s abominable Minions, it’s likely the first image that popped into your head was of a B2C mascot.
But why is that? Should quirky brand characters really be B2C-only territory?
Of course not.That’s why we’re here to blow your conceptions out of the water and ignite some creativity around using brand characters for B2B marketing.
The case for a B2B website mascot
Let’s start with a statement that’s rather obvious (but worth reiterating): your B2B customers are human.
Like B2C customers, B2B audiences live, breathe, eat, cry, laugh, forget to turn the oven off… you know, regular human stuff. So, although they may be reading your content with their business hats on, they’re still very much keen on content that’s empathetic, relatable and even humorous.
As such, it’s no surprise research states that B2B customers care more about your trustworthiness than the amount of informed content you produce.
Although this trust can’t be executed entirely by a mascot, having a friendly, consistent face to aid your storytelling will help your customers relate to your brand. What’s more, a mascot’s purpose is to build brand loyalty and engagement. A fun brand character will increase the longevity of your brand’s impact, and raise your content’s shareability on social media by a substantial percentage.
So, how does your business go about creating and promoting a bespoke brand character?
Building your brand character in 3 steps
It takes more than a few minutes to build a new mascot. Let’s break down the process into three simple steps.
Step 1: Producing a personality
Before your in-house or agency design team get started, it’s important to jot down what exactly your brand character will encapsulate.
Ultimately, any character you choose to create should align with your business. So, ask yourself these questions:
- What makes your organisation unique?
- What are your core values and principles?
- How would you define your company’s personality?
- Who are your target personas?
- What industry are you aiming to reach?
- How do your customers see you? How would they describe you?
- How do you want your customers to see you?
These questions should help you piece together the character’s identity. From there, you can start brainstorming some initial design ideas.
Step 2: Digging into the design
What form should your brand character take? Human? Lion? Spatula?
It can be tricky to visualise your B2B brand character, but try to consider the following:
- If your company had a voice, what would it sound like?
- If your company had a face, what would it look like?
- What animal, human or object represents your industry and personality?
- What qualities do your customers associate with you?
If your brand character doesn’t match your ‘vibe’ or true brand image, chances are it won’t resonate with your audience.
At Articulate Marketing, we opted for a funky robotic fella called Artie. He’s friendly, fun and inquisitive, like us, but is also relatable to our target market (B2B technology companies). It’s important to note that he’s also consistent with our brand guidelines and colour scheme (this is vital for brand consistency).
Step 3: Promoting your character
Finally, it’s time to let your brand character loose. Think of this as a website optimisation exercise.
Try promoting your mascot throughout your webpages, blog content and social media messages. If you’re feeling brave, bring them to life in a video or gif.
The key is to share your mascot widely enough that your audience begins to associate this ‘face’ with your company. In time, your brand character will hopefully be a well-loved, familiar presence on both your site and the wider web.
Of course, the further into the zeitgeist your mascot penetrates, the more exposure, shares and traffic your website will get.
Redefining B2B website branding
Okay, so perhaps your mascot might not be the next Mickey Mouse. But, the important thing to remember is B2B doesn’t have to be boring.
Give your human audience a website and brand character that they can truly relate to and trust. Make it represent the face of your company and don’t be shy to have fun.
But, please, we beg you… No more Minions.