With millions of businesses vying for a customer’s attention, having a strong brand has never been more important. But it takes more than just a catchy tagline and a shiny logo.
A brand avatar can be the key to edging out your competition. In other words, a tangible alter ego that acts as the face and voice of your brand’s personality – that can help humanise your business, stand out from the crowd, and inspire trust in both your customers and employees.
Toucan Sam and the evolution of a static brand mascot to brand avatar
From the original 1960s black-and-white design, to the computer-generated one we see today, Toucan Sam has been the face (and the beak) of Kellogg’s Fruit Loops for nearly 60 years.
What’s interesting is that over time, he’s become increasingly anthropomorphic, evolving from a simple mascot to a full-fledged brand avatar. This has allowed Toucan Sam to become a spokesperson, creatively communicating the unique experience of eating Fruit Loops in a way that’s fun and exciting.
Tiny Aaron and the act of humanising a software service
Project management software isn’t the sexiest item on anyone’s agenda, but when it’s (literally) your business, how do you get customers to empathise with and trust your brand’s service? The appeal of the simple – yet dynamic – character of Tiny Aaron is quite simple in this respect.
Based on the company’s founder Aaron Green, a lot of consideration went into the conception of Tiny Aaron to capture a feeling of quirkiness and positivity to humanise a software service.
Tiny Aaron was designed to be a helpful, earnest, expressive and lovable dork. By humanising a mascot for an essentially tedious task, the Streamtime team successfully made their brand just as human, and therefore trustworthy. For that reason, Tiny Aaron’s ‘everyman’ status is a great way to appeal to professionals across a variety of industries who need this kind of service.
4 benefits of a brand avatar
To dig a little deeper, here are four ways that having a brand avatar can benefit your business.
1. Increase brand trust
If your goal is for people to buy more of your products and services, then the most important thing you need to have is their trust.
Put simply, people trust brands that are authentic. A trustworthy brand is one that has a history of helping people, that isn’t too pushy, and are relatable yet authoritative. The majority of customers also tend to be loyal to brands that offer accountability and social proof – e.g. brands that can demonstrate that other customers trust them too by becoming brand advocates.
Building this kind of loyalty doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and strategy, but having a brand avatar can help in this department. As the embodiment of your brand, an avatar can exhibit all of the above qualities in a way that people can quickly relate to.
2. Good alternative to a logo
With competition between creative business concepts becoming more and more ambitious, logos can easily become old and stale. They’re often restricted by the design trends of the time, and don’t always reflect what a company currently does and says.
When new services and products are introduced, the business’s values and visions will need to be updated. In many ways, brand avatars are more flexible and adaptable than logos. Instead of remaining static, a brand avatar can easily move between contexts (e.g. from print to digital), adapt the way they look and speak, and literally echo your business’s directional changes.
3. Build a narrative
Your brand narrative exists whether you like it or not. It’s the story that encompasses the subjective and objective elements of your business. This is influenced by factors like the quality and price of your products or services, your purpose and values, the experience you provide customers and, perhaps most importantly, what people say about you.
While you can’t always control your brand narrative, you can certainly clarify it, shape it, build it and incorporate it strategically into your communications. In many ways, it’s an opportunity for your brand to connect with customers on a deeper level.
And who better to tell this story than your brand avatar? Storytelling is and always will be one of the best ways to connect with people. As the face and voice of your business, an avatar can deliver your narrative in a way that’s creative, interesting, emotional and different – everything that’s needed to tell an amazing story.
4. Humanise your brand
If your brand were a person or character, what would their name be? How would they dress? What would they like and dislike? How would they speak? Would they be funny and quirky, or down-to-earth and casual?
Questions like these will help you imagine a personality for your brand’s avatar. This is important, because when it comes down to it, people trust people. The more human your avatar is, the more people will trust your brand.
We’ve already established brand avatars are the perfect storytellers. You can use them in a variety of marketing scenarios – from social media and video content, to blogging and long-from content.
Think about Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome, or Barbie’s Instagram account. Over time, both of these mascots have morphed into influential brand avatars, exhibiting human characteristics that people genuinely relate and respond to.
Create your brand avatar today
With the opportunities provided by content marketing and social media, there are more ways than ever to leverage a brand avatar than ever before – helping you connect better with audiences, build your brand trust and loyalty, whilst driving sales. When your business is trying to compete with millions of others, this can make a world of difference.