Before we highlight the benefits of having a mascot, let’s answer a few basic questions about mascots in general…
What is a mascot?
A brand mascot is a character that represents your company, or ‘brand‘. Companies use brand mascots as a spokesperson to promote goods and services as a part of their marketing strategy.
What can a mascot be?
A mascot can take any form you want – a human character like a superhero, an animal like a tiger, a fantasy creature like a dragon, or an anthropomorphic character like a smiling tooth. A mascot should relate to your products, community, or clientele.
How can mascots help your business?
The importance of creating an emotional connection between your services and your customer via marketing has never been more critical. Customers are much more discerning having the world at their fingertips to find and compare services before making a decision. You need to resonate with your audience and make them think of and choose you.
Emotions are produced by the same section of the brain responsible for memory and decision-making. Advertising that stimulates emotions also stimulates memory which inspires your client to make a buying decision. Advertising should not be presented with reason alone. It is assumed that dentists have a similar level of education and expertise, so how do you make your dental office stand out?
But saying a mascot helps with your marketing and attracts clients because of emotions is a broad statement. Let’s dive deeper into how this works…
5 Benefits of a Brand Mascot for Marketing Your Dental Practice
1. Mascots Increase Brand Awareness
Memory for faces is a core capacity of the human mind. Mascots are memorable because mascots have faces. Your logo or business name may slip from memory, but a character will stand out.
Quick, name a brand of frozen peas… is it Green Giant? I certainly couldn’t name a single brand of vegetable if it wasn’t for the friendly face on the label.
2. Mascots Create a Positive Image for Your Business
As we just said, mascots help people remember your business, but they also help them remember you in a positive light.
Your brand is the thoughts and feelings people associate with you. If you’re a pediatric dentist, the brand you want to create can be summed up as a child-friendly dental office that goes above and beyond for their comfort and care. A friendly mascot effortlessly communicates to parents that you are catering to their children’s wants and needs beyond just focusing on their teeth. You are the dentist they should choose to go to because you also are looking after their emotional and mental well-being. You go above and beyond!
Here’s a famous example of a mascot putting a business in a positive light.
Thinking about car insurance doesn’t generate warm feelings, but the soft-spoken Geico Gecko stirs up feelings of charm and relatability, and that was a big win for Geico. The company itself became relatable and a trusted place to buy insurance from. The mascot worked so well that it spawned competition from other insurance companies including the Aflac Duck and Flo from Progressive.
When kids think of the dentist they definitely don’t get warm feelings, but you can change that with a welcoming character by bringing some humor and warmth into their visit. Tell people what your brand is with a mascot. The kids will love you, the parents will appreciate your effort, and your business will grow.
3. Mascots Appeal to Kids
Mascots indicate to kids that something is made for them. Kids are used to seeing mascots on their cereal boxes, sports teams, and schools. The Nesquik Rabbit and Tony the Tiger will forever be associated with a tasty (although not good for your teeth) breakfast. Kids will feel special and welcome because your dental office is meant for them.
4. Mascots Can Assist Your Staff
We don’t mean they’ll be in the office helping to fill cavities. But they really can help.
Your staff can use your mascot as a teaching tool or as a way to break the ice with nervous patients. Create a backstory for your mascot – maybe they were once nervous while visiting the dentist, but they knew that the dental assistant, hygienist, and dentist are there to help keep their smile bright, so they were very brave and let the friendly staff look at their teeth – can they be brave like your mascot too?
Using a stuffed animal or a coloring page with your mascot to convey this backstory can help visualize this story to your patients as well and get them on board for their treatment.
5. Mascots Can Appear Across Different Media
Illustrations, sculptures, photo ops, costumes, puppets, coloring pages, animations, and more!
A mascot can be used in ways that a logo or your own name and face just can’t. A mascot becomes a simulacrum of you and your business. Creating marketing collateral becomes easier for your design team when there is a character with a personality to draw inspiration from.
Let’s look at all the ways you can utilize this great resource…
When and Where to Use Your Mascot
Incorporate your mascot into your logo.
Have a naming contest for your mascot on social media.
Use your mascot on building signage.
Place a 3D sculpted photo op of your mascot in your office.
Include your mascot on printed swag and shirts.
Create plush toys that look like your mascot.
Featured your character on coloring sheets for contests and prizes.
Bring your mascot to trade shows, community fairs, and educational presentations.
Include your mascot in commercials or TV interviews.
Create social media videos with tips and facts featuring your mascot.
This puppet mascot makes educational videos aimed at kids. Here kids are learning about healthy food choices.
Include your mascot during celebratory moments with your patients and staff.
Include your mascot during holiday celebrations.
Santa Claus, the mascot of the most wonderful time of the year, will be happy to team up with your own jolly character.
The possibilities are truly endless!
Case Study: See a Successful Mascot in Action
One of our clients, Dr. Bill Martin of Martin Kids Dental and Orthodontics, has been utilizing his mascot in amazing ways! We want to show off some of the successful ways he has used his mascot characters in his office and around his community.
Drawing inspiration from the local bayou wildlife, along with the well-known football team in the area, Martin Kids Dental has three charming characters for kids to fall in love with. A turtle, alligator, and frog (Phineas the Frog is Dr. Martin’s personal favorite).
First, the IDS team altered his existing “M” logo, adding in these 3 special mascot characters.
These characters appear in and around his office in his themed decor in 3D sculptures, posing as friendly photo ops, playing around in the murals, and on eye-catching wall-busting exterior signage.
The Martin team successfully uses their interior decor all over their website and social media. Check out these photos of patients from their Facebook feed with freshly applied braces and those who have finally had them taken off. The “Wired” and “Wireless” signs are a great touch!
Dr. Martin even created a costume version of his main gator character – Martin (or Marty) the Gator. This huggable, loveable, portable mascot gets around town.
Marty shows up in all their team group shots – he is one of the crew after all!
Marty has been touring around schools, helping teach kids about good dental hygiene.
And he gets to attend family events and expos. This friendly mascot makes Dr. Martin’s table approachable for kids. If kids go, parents will follow, and the Martin team gets their chance to do their health and sales pitch.
Dr. Martin is getting great mileage out of his mascot. He is known around town for his characters.
When I go around town and say “Hi, I’m Bill Martin, the Orthodontist at Martin Kids” the first thing they say is “Oh my gosh, that’s the alligator that comes out of the building.” We’ve since had people stopping by and taking pictures, it’s great.
Bring Your Mascot to Life with IDS
Don’t know where to start with creating a mascot for your office? One of our Creative Consultants would love to help. Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to a magical patient experience. The IDS design team can create a mascot for you through logo designs and implementation in theming around your physical office space.
Our business friend Street Characters has helped make some of our designs come to life in the form of mascot costumes.