• Transform magazine
  • June 22, 2024

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The strategic efficacy of brand visual characters in marketing


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Sameh El Tawil, chief creative director and managing partner at Hive Innovative Group, Dubai, discusses the importance of brand visual characters, and offers a deep dive into his agency’s work for LikeCard’s Cards' Monster.

Brand visual characters, often realised as mascots, are essential in sculpting and amplifying the identity and emotional appeal of a brand. These characters, whether depicted as humans, animals or inanimate objects, serve as central figures in marketing narratives, embodying the ethos, values and strategic goals of the brand. They transform abstract corporate identities into relatable and engaging personas that resonate deeply with consumers.

Theoretical foundations and benefits

Brand characters bridge emotional connections between the brand and its consumers, fostering a personalised relationship that converts abstract corporate identities into familiar and engaging entities. This emotional bond is crucial for cultivating sustained brand loyalty and deepening customer relationships. Iconic mascots like the Michelin Man and Tony the Tiger greatly enhance brand recognition, often becoming synonymous with the brands they represent, which plays a pivotal role in brand recall.

Moreover, brand characters possess unique advantages over human endorsers owing to their timeless nature. They can be seamlessly adapted and evolved to align with changing market dynamics and consumer preferences without compromising their intrinsic essence. In a saturated market, these characters provide a distinctive competitive edge, infusing marketing campaigns with unique, memorable elements that captivate consumer attention more effectively than traditional advertising methods.

Empirical validation

Research validates the effectiveness of brand characters in marketing, demonstrating that campaigns featuring such characters significantly outperform those without. This is evident in increased market share gains and profitability. Thus, the strategic use of brand characters proves to be a crucial asset in marketing, enhancing the brand's visibility and consumer engagement.

Case study: LikeCard’s Cards' Monster

LikeCard’s integration of their Cards' Monster character exemplifies successful brand storytelling through strategic use of a CGI character. This character is not merely a brand mascot but a narrative agent that embodies the brand’s innovative approach to digital gift card solutions. The Cards' Monster personifies brand equity and usage ease, thereby enhancing consumer interactions with LikeCard’s App by making the technological aspects accessible and engaging.

Literary integration into brand strategy

The Cards' Monster demonstrates how visual characters can craft complex, engaging narratives that resonate with the target audience, thus elevating emotional engagement. This character effectively communicates key brand attributes such as reliability and user-friendliness, distinguishing LikeCard from its competitors in the digital marketplace.

Contemporary trends and future prospects

Despite a decline in the usage of brand characters, there is significant potential for innovation within this domain, particularly through modern animation and interactive technologies. Brands investing in high-quality CGI characters can engage a digitally savvy audience, offering not only products or services but also a unique, experiential brand interaction.

In an era that emphasises inclusivity and cultural sensitivity, characters like the Cards' Monster provide a non-controversial way to reach diverse consumer demographics. These characters are designed to transcend cultural and demographic barriers, thus expanding the brand’s appeal across various segments.

Brand visual characters are integral to modern marketing strategies, providing substantial benefits in terms of emotional engagement, brand identity enhancement, and competitive differentiation. The case of LikeCard’s Cards' Monster underscores the successful application of these principles, highlighting the importance of well-crafted brand characters in enriching consumer experiences and strengthening brand perception and that can be proofed in numbers as well. Moving forward, it is imperative for brands to continue exploring the evolving roles and impacts of brand characters in the ever-changing landscape of global marketing. This strategic deployment of brand characters not only captivates consumers but also fosters deep, enduring connections with the brand.