You probably know that some key benefits to having a brand mascot are creating more visibility and fostering a more personal connection with customers (which drive brand-building and repeat sales), but one sometimes unexpected benefit is being able to sell your character and generate passive income. The mascot itself is an intellectual property that can generate its own revenue stream through licensing, and can be a basis for its own line of consumer products.
At Floob Creative, we practice what we preach: although we are a creative services company, I spend at least 30% of my energy growing the popularity of the character universe that represents the company. We create artwork every week and post it on our Instagram page, we do art gallery exhibitions, we make animated stickers to share on social media, and I have a dedicated licensing agent, Sarah Law, who is constantly helping to monetise "The Floobiverse" through brand partnerships.
And it works in simple, surprising ways. Yesterday I was in a cafe doing some artwork for our upcoming exhibition in Hong Kong, and the owner of another design studio approached me and said "Sorry, I looked over your shoulder and saw your screen, and thought the designs were super cool. We are looking for new designers to help us out - would you be interested?"
Working with Sarah, whose main job is to promote The Floobiverse, has resulted in plenty of external design work. People she's shown our artwork to, but are not interested in licensing our characters, see the quality of work we do and ask "could Floob Creative design a character for us?"
But our biggest win came recently when a major shopping mall in Shanghai licensed our characters to decorate all 7 floors. Outside the mall on a big display screen, Floob and his friends made their public debut:
Inside the mall, we had our characters everywhere:
(that's me trying to look cool. Floob does a better job...)
Needless to say, this was amazing exposure for our brand. Plus, a proof-of-concept: now when we approach other potential partners, we can show them that a credible, legit shopping mall had enough faith in the appeal of our characters to cover their mall with them, and new licensees will consequently be more likely to sign on the dotted line. With licensing also comes free promotion, accessing the licensee's existing fan base and connections, and the upward spiral continues.
It also creates free user-generated content. Not polished, commercial content that might turn off potential fans of the IP; but real people liking and sharing our designs:
This is what I think should be the goal of any company with a brand mascot. The immediate marketing value is obvious, but if you take a page from the book of LINE Friends, a simple set of animated stickers can become a multi-billion dollar asset.