Many companies have made successful use of mascots from Disney, to SEGA, to Kellogg’s, to just about every football team. If those companies can benefit so much from having a character to identify themselves with, then why not a website? If you own a website and don’t already have a mascot then read on, it might just be precisely what your site needs…
Benefits of a Mascot
So why do companies use mascots and what possible use can they offer you? Well first and foremost a mascot will make a company more likeable and more relatable but also more engaging. This is due to the way that the human brain is wired: we naturally tend to pay more attention to things that appear human as they are likely to be relevant to us, and we like things that are more similar to ourselves. Thus if you create a mascot that is somewhat anthropomorphic – meaning that it has arms and legs and a face much like a human – then you will give your site something that naturally ‘jumps out’ at people and makes them feel comfortable.
This then also means that your visitors are more likely to remember your site, and more likely to want to visit it again. The fact that lots of sites don’t have mascots will only serve meanwhile to make your site more memorable and interesting. It also gives your site personality and character which can help you to avoid creating something that feels stark or bland and which can provide you with an ‘avatar’ through which you can speak. Your mascot can deliver news in a way that’s entertaining making people more likely to listen.
And of course if your site is aimed at children, then this all makes even more sense as children are bound to like your colourful character bouncing around the screen.
How to Create a Mascot
So how do you go about creating a mascot? Well first of all you need to think about the niche of your site and how you’re going to link that in. If your mascot seems completely random and irrelevant to the subject of your site, then it’s only going to look out of place.
Thus a good starting point is to take an animal or an object that is in some way related to your site. For instance if your site is about SEO then it could be a computer, or if your site is about music then it could be a guitar or a song bird.
Now what you’re going to do is to anthropomorphise that character. This means making it human, so you want to give it arms, legs and a face. This is also useful for animation purposes as it will give your object more expressions and more potential positions.
Next you want to make your character cute. People like things that are cute, and if you can replicate that in your mascot then they will feel instantly loyal to your site and your character. You can do this by giving your character more child-like features – that means making it more ‘squat’ by shrinking the height and plumping it out, and it means giving it bigger eyes and a bigger head in proportion to its body.
One final tip is to make this simple so that you can replicate the image in future, but note that you can always outsource this job if you struggle with it.
How to Use It
Now you don’t want to use your mascot too much – familiarity breeds contempt and it’s important that people don’t hate your character. As such then you should keep it to a minimum, but you certainly want to include them by your site’s title to help strengthen the association between that character and your site.
Likewise if you create videos then the character can feature in your opener where you’ll be able to animate them and give them more personality. They can also be useful in places where you need to deliver information – such as instructions on a checkout page for instance or mailing form where you can use them with a speech bubble to communicate with your visitors.