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Power of a mascot in your plumbing brand

Dec. 11, 2015
Ultimately, incorporating a mascot into a plumber’s branding — when done properly —can yield tremendous success for a company.  Brands with mascots stand out! 
One of the many company logos designed by Graphic D-Signs, Inc.

The competitive landscape can be crowded in the plumbing world, so how does a consumer choose one plumber over another?

With a seemingly endless number of options, homeowners often rely on referrals from their friends or check out online reviews. When they have no references from people they can trust, they rely on a plumber’s branding to help make their decision. Think about it—if Internet searches, mailbox fliers or newspaper ads present multiple options for the same services at similar price points, how else do they decide which plumber to call?

Consumers want evidence that a plumber is professional, trustworthy and reliable. To stand out, plumbers need to do something innovative and different—not just in terms of company mission and scope. A plumber’s branding needs to deliver a powerful message, or consumers won’t even bother to pick up the phone.

Branding with a thoughtfully designed mascot can evoke those feelings that homeowners want to associate with a plumber; that is, friendly, approachable and reliable. A mascot colorfully depicts a plumber’s personality and brand promise, ensuring that it stands out amongst its competitors and is a plumber that homeowners can feel comfortable welcoming into their homes. Successful mascot designs are intended to give an “at your service” type of feel.

Brands with mascots stand out

In a crowded market, especially when competitors have dull, poor branding, a mascot resonates well with consumers because it is distinctive. It’s impactful in small doses because it’s eye-catching and sticks in people’s minds. Individuals think that they’ve seen a mascot everywhere or multiple times, when in reality, their only exposure to it was on one truck that rolled through their neighborhood or in one ad that was featured in their local magazine.

In my book “Building a BIG Small Business Brand,” I note that there are plenty of clients who have us design their brand and truck wrap using a character or mascot for their one-and-only service truck, but they tell us that clients say, “We see your trucks all the time.”

They chuckle to themselves, since they really only have one vehicle. That’s the power of a memorable brand. It sticks out in the minds of consumers, and is an uncommon approach to small business marketing. This packs a powerful punch against larger plumbers with bigger budgets that can afford to put their brand everywhere.

Breaking down barriers

A mascot also enables a new plumber to break into the market and compete against experienced plumbers whose names consumers know and recognize. This branding style portrays longevity and gives ammo to a new name. Retro styling accomplishes this particularly well, because of the sense of nostalgia that it evokes.

Mascots’ personalities feel relatable, so they resonate with consumers who might be anti-big business or franchise, and want to support small local business instead. Because their charisma conjures trust, mascots break down barriers between consumers and a plumber with which they’ve had no experience. A plumber with a carefully crafted mascot no longer appears cold, corporate or crooked.

Of course, a mascot gone wrong won’t yield positive reactions like these. If it’s too cheesy or amateurish, instead of enhancing a plumber’s professional perception, a mascot can have the opposite effect.

Ultimately, incorporating a mascot into a plumber’s branding — when done properly —can yield tremendous success for a company. Start transforming your identity by defining the brand promise and building a personality. Then, with help from an experienced graphic designer, you can prepare for a fresh restart and a growing customer base.

Dan Antonelli has more than 20 years of experience in small business branding and marketing strategy. As the CEO and Creative Director of New Jersey advertising agency Graphic D-Signs, Inc., The Small Business Advertising Agency, Antonelli has helped nearly 1,000 small businesses succeed. Antonelli’s team at Graphic D-Signs, Inc. has won more than 200 design awards since its founding in 1995.

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