A brand character, along with a company’s logo, helps a business reinforce their presence in the market. Aside from being the face of your company, they help convey the story behind your brand and create a lasting impression on your audience.
When you see Colonel Sanders, don’t you feel the taste of the flavor of their chicken bursting in your mouth? How about Mr. Peanut of Planters? Don’t you want to take a bite at their crunchy snacks? The senses evoked by these character designs are not to be taken lightly in the realm of advertising.
Let’s discuss the curious case of the Kellogg’s brand and how it became one of the most successful brands in the food industry.
Branding the Bland
The discovery of the cereal flakes by Kellogg was the product of a mere accident: he left a cooked wheat that went stale and when they processed it, it turned into the crispy corn flakes we know of. He saw this new invention as something that can be sold to the market so he started a company focused on selling cereals. However, he hit a wall thinking about how to advertise a tasteless food.
It was not until he met Leo Burnett, the founder of the infamous advertising agency Leo Burnett Worldwide, when Kellogg’s cereals took the world by storm. Burnett’s ingenious approach showed the world the power of character designs and how they can affect a company’s advertising efforts.
Let’s take a look at how he used brand characters to sell Kellogg’s cereals.
1) Association and Recognition
Maybe one of your favorite places is a bookstore because you feel a surge of calmness when you’re surrounded by books. Your body associates the calming feeling with the place, encouraging you to visit a bookstore more often. We like the positive feeling we get when we eat a certain kind of food, visit a place, or do a specific activity which is why we crave for it.
Now, how do you sell a food with no taste? The answer is you don’t. Burnett, thought about focusing on the strengths of Kellogg’s corn flakes and our natural ability to associate things that make us feel good. So instead of focusing on telling people straightforward the advantages of eating Kellogg’s cereals over the typical American breakfast, he designed a brand character to depict the product’s edge.
Cornelius, the animated green rooster of Kellogg’s corn flakes, came to life.
In a commercial aired way back then, Cornelius wakes up every morning to crow. However, he seemed to be having a bad day because his voice doesn’t sound too well. However, when he had a spoonful of Kellogg’s corn flakes, he was able to crow properly with a loud sound.
This sends the message that consumers will have a good morning if they eat Kellogg’s corn flakes. The brain associates eating the product with having a good start for the day. This is the power of association that Cornelius successfully harnessed.
2) Memorable Metaphors
When you read a novel, you’ll notice that authors often describe a scene or a person in the story using a series of metaphors. This makes it easier for you to visualize what the author is trying to say.
A child’s mind is very playful and that’s what the contrast in colors, the position of the characters, and the kind of images displayed in a box of cereal tap into. The colorful bits of Fruit Loops and the inviting figure of Toucan Sam entices buyers to dive into the fun adventure of eating the fruit-flavored cereals. When children see the muscular Tony the Tiger in a box of Frosted Flakes, they’ll think that the cereals can also make them stronger like Tony.
The message represented by these character designs work in favor of the business by portraying the benefits one can get from trusting the brand.
3) Brand Characters Enforce Relationship
Leo Burnett marketed something more than Kellogg’s cereals. His character designs made friends with children. More than the product, he sold a kind of relationship that children can rely on. The brand characters became loyal playmates that offer a rewarding experience to children. This feeling is further reinforced with the inclusion of free toys in each cereal box.
Let’s get out of the Kellogg’s brand for a moment and tackle Nestlé’s Koko Krunch. In its recent commercials, you’ll notice that the boy with Koko is all grown up but he’s still having adventures with Koko. The same thing goes for us. We may have outgrown the times playing with brand characters like Koko, Cornelius, and Tony, but the good feeling we felt eating those cereals when we were children is still there which is why we still buy the products.
The relationship forged with a brand character remains throughout the years. Just take a look at Mickey Mouse and how we’ve had fun watching him in cartoons. This entertainment we felt has been engraved into our being that we anticipate the same level of entertainment every time we see him and the logo of Walt Disney in a film. How about Mario of Nintendo? Mario has been a symbol of gaming which is why we look forward to the games the company will release every year.
These are some examples of the effect these brand characters have carved in our system. It’s important to know the psyche of the market to understand the power that these character designs hold in the realm of brand advertising.
Getting Your Own Character Design
Companies have grown to realize the importance of having their own brand characters in helping them promote their business. The familiar faces of Colonel Sanders (KFC), Michelin Man (Michelin), Rich Uncle Pennybags (Monopoly board game), and other brand characters are proof of the power of character designs in endorsing the identity of a company.
If you’re a startup in the US, competition is much harder because of the number of companies playing in the same industry you are. However, you can increase your chances of success by having an easily recognizable brand character to associate with your business.
We at Create Nova know the importance of character designs in marketing and branding which is why we closely work with our clients to make sure our creations fit into their business’s agenda. We ensure the brand characters we create perfectly fit your company’s products and services.
If you want to have an edge over your competitors in the industry, give us a call at (+1)315 563 69 00 and let’s discuss how we can improve your business with our character designs. If you’re too shy to speak with us via phone, you can drop a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the requirements you have for the brand character you’re visualizing.