We decided to create a mascot to market our product and differentiate ourselves from every other video + mobile based product. The mascot will be a major part of our logo, but can stand on it’s own. We wanted something that could appeal to our target demographic but also speak to a wide audience. Selecting a mascot can be extremely time consuming and daunting. It’s definitely the first thing people notice when interacting and discussing a product.
First task. We spent 7 days brainstorming different concepts and animals. I started a huge spreadsheet to capture different ideas and turned to family and friends for initial ideas. From that list, we started a scoring system with different points based on our predefined qualities that we strive for. I’ll admit, we were using wikipedia and the google image search extensively, and cross referencing any ideas with angel.co. Even the most abstract animals that resonated with us were taken. We started to notice common themes; everyone likes to use elephants, gorillas, penguins, and birds. Android ignited a new trend with robots, they seem to be popping up everywhere.
We made the call to work with our designer to build some rough sketches and "get out of the building" to talk with real people. Our designer came back with 27 sketches. They ranged from robots, monsters, animals, and even characters made from actual television parts. Before spending a ton of time blowing up the sketches we formed focus groups to gather initial feedback. We used these focus groups to provide feedback throughout the entire design process. There were 3 groups in total, with the average age of the focus group at 22 years old. This fits will within our target audience of 16-28 year olds. The youngest participant was 5, and the oldest at 65 years old. From the focus groups we narrowed it down to 4 different characters. We took those characters, and made some slight changes to the mouth and eyes before meeting with the focus groups again.
Here are some interesting findings from our focus groups
- Females gravitated to characters with larger eyes
- Males gravitated towards robots
- Each age group preferred different characters
- Groups were easily influenced by other peoples opinions, and order that mascots were displayed to them
- Slight adjustments to eyes and mouth would drastically change peoples opinions
It was easy to get confused and frustrated after each focus group session, we felt like we weren’t getting anywhere. We conducted a few more sessions and shifted our thinking from ‘let the masses pick a favourite’, to ‘let the masses weed out the weakest mascots’. We finally dwindled the mascot list to two mascots and made the decision to go with the yak. We’ll save the “why the yak and goggles” for another post. We hope the mascot will grow on people and evolve over time. Once we narrowed down the character we used the same process to determine the smile and eyes of the mascot. Here are the finalists below:
The slightest change to the eyes had a significant change on our focus groups perception of the yak. After 10 days of feedback and revisions, we’re 90% there. Here’s a preview of our mascot: