Financial advisor mascots are creatures, teachers, cartoon characters in videos, doodles that come alive onscreen as your firm’s spokesman. The GEICO gecko is a classic example of a mascot, and that technique can be used by advisors.
Four and a half years ago, Elliot Weissbluth of HighTower Advisors posted a YouTube video targeting his firm’s prospects and clients in Chicago by featuring a cast of cartoon characters to teach a two-and-a-half minute lesson about hiring a fiduciary instead of a broker.
Contrasting a butcher who sells meat and does not care about your cholesterol-level with advice from a dietician who encourages you to eat right, the video framed HighTower as a new kind of advisory firm and has generated more than 100,600 views to date. A video that Weissbluth probably paid less than $10,000 to produce has brought HighTower more visits than Merrill Lynch's and Morgan Stanley's YouTube channels typically attract without spending millions on TV, print and online ads. It serves as a case study in creative online marketing.
The era of the doodle has come and gone, however. Drawing a character on screen is no longer novel. It makes people wait to watch computerized drawing. It’s as self-indulgent and insulting to visitors as a splash page. It will be regarded as anachronistic soon. But what endures are the cartoon characters who can serve as advisor mascots.
You heard it here first: As silly as this may sound, advisor mascots are going to show up more often in advisor videos teaching prospects and clients about investing, and these endearing creatures are going to be around for a long time.
Academic research like the clippings shown above repeatedly have confirmed the efficacy of using cartoons to teach complex topics, like retirement income planning. Maybe it’s because, as children, we all watched cartoons, or maybe it’s just that simple funny drawings make information easier to consume. My survey of academic research databases doesn’t answer exactly why cartoon character work but they improve learning measurably.
Six weeks ago, I created a frog mascot for an advisor who helps people to make the “leap” from a corporate plan to an IRA. Then, two weeks ago, I created the beaver mascot to represent Advisor Products, and that’s when it clicked.
The next day, I started making mascots for advisors regularly. The creatures possess physical attributes required to for the financial success of your target market. If you help people jump from a corporate retirement plan to a portfolio managed by a fiduciary, then a frog, grasshopper, kangaroo, rabbit, or creature not from this planet, could be employed.
I’m making mascots now with an artist I’ve worked with for 15 years and who can draw. She can modify line drawings so your mascot can have your facial characteristics, hairstyle and body-type. For me the beaver was immediately funny, loveable, and true to character, because Advisor Products is always as busy as a beaver building new software for financial communications by fiduciaries.
Mascots are well-suited for static marketing content, your website brochure. You can drop them from cliffs, drown them in red tape, and make them smile, cry, grimace or scream.