Practically every sports team ever has been accompanied with some sort of mascot. A character that embodies what type of team they are – and what type of punishment they wish to inflict on their opponents. At least as far as intimidation tactics. Some team mascots far more threatening than others, but each is still there to rile and energize players through game completion.
But that’s not the only task of the mascot. They’re also there to pump up the fans. To get them hooping and hollering through every painful – or joyful – play. They perform favorite cheers, give away t-shirts and other forms of swag. And when a mascot is successful at the above, there’s heavier crowd involvement – this helps players get through a game, but also encourages more fun environment (and in pro/college versions, that means more money from repeat attenders).
With all of the jobs of a mascot, however, it’s a wonder more entities don’t have them. Like marketing efforts. After all, isn’t marketing a series of colors and fun tactics to draw folks in? What is a mascot if not just a great big slice of marketing?
The Social Media Mascot
To date, social media platforms have worked on a schedule of constantly rotating tactics to bring in new users. They advertise, they adjust their algorithms, they partner with outside sites so that piggyback logins can be obtained. And while it’s true that their tactics are working, they’re also spending an exorbitant amount of time honing these new ideas. And they only work to a certain extent – look at the slew of teenagers bolting from Facebook. With a more targeted branding, could all of these users have been kept on board?
These mascots could also act as a seemingly buffer between brand and status quo. Folks rarely get mad at the mascot (unless it’s the opposing team), leaving a clear outlet to release positive info, while the company itself can act as the bad guy. Or better yet, pass the buck onto more fictional entities. Mascots have enemies, social media platforms have enemies – why not combine the two into a spam account, fake user, or Hamburglar hacker? With a common bad guy, users can root for the hero while learning at what’s at stake. And how they can avoid feeding these spammers all their personal information.
Possible Social Media Mascots
- Facebook – The Zuck, a cartoon version of Mark Zuckerberg popping in with business quips and other words of wisdom. “I really ‘like’ what you’ve done with your business page.” In text form, of course; sports mascots can’t talk. (And no one likes pop up sound.)
- Google+ – Googie, the math nerd. Googie wears glasses inspired after the company’s OOs and pops in for a math joke sidebar whenever a plus-1 is given. Think Steve Urkel, but silent and in control of his bodily movements.
- Twitter – Obviously theirs is the bird, Larry, but in animated form. This version has spastic tendencies and often rattles off more links than we have time to click on. He shares “users like you” and awards seedlings (or treats) for tweets with high stats. Don’t worry though, he may be hyper, but he’s also got a photographic memory; everything he shares can be tracked by date and time.
- YouTube – Yoto, the self-made cowboy who has a weak spot for watching TV. As soon as his duties are tended to, he’s on the couch and catching up on the day’s latest vids. He’s also prone to the occasional “how to farm” short – followers love his info but also his awkward nature toward the camera.
- Pinterest – Penny, the hipster freelance photographer who only uses items she made herself. She can show you exactly how she made her burlap dress, how to cook that vegan tofu loaf, and which compost items allow for the best cucumber growth. Despite her own dry-showering beliefs, she knows everyone isn’t so “crunchy,” and offers less labor-intensive options.
With the addition of these crowd favorites, companies could greatly grow their customer reach. (Plus think of the free t-shirt ideas.) Hopefully with a little encouragement and a lot of user interaction, we can help make social media mascots a reality.