Brand heroes should wear capes
Creating a brand character is no small feat. Evolving one is an even greater challenge as you need to maintain familiarity while creating a sense of excitement about the new and improved edition.
ExtraMile® Convenience Stores sought to leverage its expanded growth efforts with a fresh look at the ExtraMile brand, marketing, and especially in updating ExtraMan, its existing brand character. And that’s where we came in.
WHERE WE’VE BEEN
- 2016 // Original ExtraMan is created and utilized as ExtraMile’s first-ever brand character.
- 2019 // The first round of consumer research is completed. Overall, consumers liked ExtraMan, but there is room for improvement.
- Spring 2021 // The second round of consumer research and testing is conducted and reinforces the new creative design direction for ExtraMan.
- Summer 2021 // ExtraMile re-introduces an updated ExtraMan into its brand, as well as across marketing platforms.
BRAND CHARACTERS MAKE AN IMPACT
While the conventional wisdom around brand characters and mascots ebbs and flows, research reveals that a brand character can create more emotional responses with consumers in ways that a corporate brand cannot.
“A brand character can increase a brand’s share of voice by 8–12 percent without additional media investment.” — Warc, System1 ‘Fluent Devices’ Research, 2020
A brand character remains one of the strongest assets for strengthening brand identity, achieving uniqueness in the marketplace, and reinforcing top-of-mind awareness. Just ask Geico.
RESEARCH IS A SUPERPOWER
We began the process by sticking to the idea that this was “an evolution, not a revolution.” This meant we had to take into account different perspectives on where to take the ExtraMan character. Central to this was finding out what the heavy c-store user felt about the current version of ExtraMan.
From consumer research, we discovered that c-store users felt the earlier iterations of the character were not approachable or even menacing. ExtraMan didn’t come across as friendly as we’d expect from a character representing the ExtraMile brand.
This feedback revealed that a more approachable ExtraMan could deliver on expectations. ExtraMan could delight heavy c-store users with the information they need, where they need it. This would connect over-the-top value with a fast and fun store experience delivered by a welcoming and friendly brand.
CREATING THE ECU (ExtraMan Cinema Universe)
To create the world of ExtraMan, we teamed up once again with our friends at Scholar, a leading creative production company located in Los Angeles and New York. This large team met regularly to redesign ExtraMan, going through every possible permutation on superhero looks and vibes over several weeks. This included a full range of expressions and color explorations to ensure he was more approachable than ever.
EXTRAMILE’S REVAMPED CHIEF CONVENIENCE OFFICER
All-in-all, a multi-phase character redesign, 3D conversion, animation, and an integrated campaign were completed for ExtraMan, ExtraMile’s Chief Convenience Officer. Three online video spots, digital banners, OOH, point-of-sale, social (paid & organic), radio, internal launch materials, merchandise, and an all-new fresh digital experience for ExtraMile were created for his grand reveal.