Can you add too much character to your brand?
Most people like Alexandr. And why wouldn’t you? He’s a cute character and witty with it? But Did he personally recommend your car insurance? Of course not but you can’t argue that the phenomenon that started as a website typo has now become a great example of a business harnessing their marketing voice. It also shows how this can work for a business without it having to be directly linked to their offering.
The now ubiquitous Meerkats have influenced countless customers into using Compare The Market as their broker, whether it is down to a pestering child, the memorable association with the brand name or if you just thought they were cute. The past few years have seen other companies use this tactic with success. From the Go Compare opera guy to Oil Monster, it is an effective way to add personality to sometimes not-so-exciting services (Go Compare are a cost comparison site and Oil Monster offer the best deals on waste oil collection).
Let’s investigate when this styling of branding works best and when it doesn’t.
Making the audience care
Well, this is something that lies with the decision makers, creatives and production team. At what point do people start caring about the story? Whether they are emotionally involved. Does anyone really care what happens to Brian, the confused.com robot?
Get your tone of voice correct
Another consideration when considering the use of characters for your brand, is they go add a frivolity to your business. This is fine as long as you know you can back it up with service but can sometimes be seen as a weakness or element of humour often not appropriate is sectors such as finance and law. In my opinion, an example of humorous marketing leaving a slightly sour taste is Halifax’s “Isa, Isa, Baby” tv spot. I might not speak for all but the impression I was left with after seeing this was “I wouldn’t leave those idiots messing around in their offices pretending to be DJ’s within a mile of my financial affairs”. Sometimes, like in business, trust is more important than being best buddies.
Is it right for your type of business?
As a rule, the use of a character often works best for service businesses rather than retailers or physical product. However, they can be used wisely in conjunction with great information such as the Hippo and Duck series for Silent Night (featured in the logo designed by Ken, our creative director).
Recently, Sofology using a sloth, “Neal” to be precise. Sure he’s cute but the difference here is they have a physical product to shift, not a necessary evil in the ether like car insurance. Therefore, a sloth isn’t really going to sway someone to buy a sofa from them but the quality of their product and customer service will. Their recent marketing has toned down his profile returning to more focus on the product and creation process. So they also are aware that the product should be the focus rather than a loveable slob (sorry sloth!).
So, in summary, using a character and humour can be done very well but it might not always right for your company. If you are thinking of adding something new to your brand then why not find out what our creative team think? You can get in touch or check out some of our work here.