While digital brands naturally have their feet planted squarely in the crystal clear waters of the Web, brick-and-mortar companies had to adapt once it became obvious that the Internet would be the playing field of the future for all business. Now, the necessity for a fully fleshed digital presence practically goes without saying.  The most successful companies intuitively understand this; one form this has taken is to modernize established icons and mascots by putting them on social media.

Transcending their original mediums is not just important but necessary for continued success. Social media lets these mascots become characters that people can actually interact with, and people will accept a cute and/or funny character far more readily than just another salesperson. With that being said, here’s a look at a few well-established companies that have successfully leveraged social media as a platform to interact with consumers by engaging their mascots in real conversations.

Travelocity And The Roaming Gnome

The Roaming Gnome hit the scene in 2004 as part of a viral video marketing campaign used by Travelocity. The video was inspired by traveling gnome pranks and featured a man looking for his missing garden gnome. Ever since then, the Roaming Gnome has been Travelocity’s mascot. Now with over 30,000 Twitter followers, the Roaming Gnome is clearly a little force to be reckoned with. His Tweets are sweetly clever, with a consistent voice.

 

Progressive And Flo

Insurance companies are not necessarily known for being exciting and engaging, which makes Flo’s popularity and success that much more impressive. Flo is a great example of a successful transitional mascot, leaping from the television and into our computers with nary a mussed hair. Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s cute, quirky, and endearing; women can imagine her being a best friend and men can imagine bringing her home to the parents.

According to a competitive report created by analytic company Simply Measured, Flo has the best content and is the most-liked mascot. With over five million Facebook fans, Flo is clearly Queen of the Internet.

 

Allstate And Mayhem

Insurance companies must be privy to some secret social media knowledge, because they appear twice on our list of successful brand engagement through digital platforms. Allstate is an interesting example since they already had a recognizable face (or perhaps voice) for their company, but wanted to skew younger. Enter the personification of the concept of mayhem, and here we are. He’s a mischievous and malevolent character, representing any disasters that might occur which would require you to call upon your insurance company. With over 40,000 Twitter followers, Mayhem is a great example of the ability to leverage social media into fan engagement while keeping the purpose of the business front and center.

 

The digital landscape has created numerous ways for companies to embrace character growth in their mascots, and social media is at the front lines. The ability to carve out and build a distinct voice through Facebook and Twitter allows for consumer experiences that reflect genuine human communication. The more genuine an experience feels, the more likely consumers are to appreciate and share.

– Ana Gavrilovska