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3 things your small business can learn from the M&M mascot changes.

A few weeks ago, M&Ms released the promo video for their redesigned mascots. You'll know them as the red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and brown M&Ms. Each M&M color represents a different humanized persona.

It had been 10 years since these characters were last updated, so you know that M&Ms was going to put all of their resources towards this redesign and promotion.

Now, chances are you're not a global company with near-endless resources, so what can you learn from M&Ms and how can you incorporate that into your business.

Refresh your content to extend it's lifecycle

M&Ms has been using these humanized versions of their candy for decades. So, how do they continue to stay relevant? Mars (who owns M&Ms) has given the humanized candies a refresh every couple of years. Sometimes they add a new character and other times (like this latest update) they refresh the whole group. The genius part of these refreshes is that Mars makes the changes while staying true to the brand value that has been built.

How can you do the same thing?

Every few years you should take a look at all of your marketing materials - website, flyers, social media, brochures, presentations, etc. Do they look like they are coming from one company? Do they tell a consistent story? What is the value that each brings to the customer's journey? What do you like about each piece? What don't you like?

Inclusion helps grab more people's attention


Two things that Mars did with the updated M&Ms characters was to change the footwear for the female characters. Now, the brown M&M has a lower heal and the green M&M has on tennis shoes vs. the go-go boots that she used to have. This helps to show the range within a gender.

Mars also changed the color of each character's arms and legs. In the past, all of the characters had the same color skin. Now, each has a lighter version of their body color - i.e., the blue M&M has light blue arms and legs.

With each character representing more types of people, customers have a better chance of finding a character that they relate to which deepens the connection they have with the brand.

How can you do the same thing?

Sure, you can include images of people from different ages, ethnicities, races, physical abilities, etc. in your marketing materials. But, inclusion also extends to who you hire. By hiring people with different backgrounds, you'll have more diverse voices, and your business will benefit from first-hand insights into how others experience the world and how your business can add value.

User generated content expands your reach

Mars released the video (linked above) on all of their social media profiles. On Facebook alone they saw hundreds of engagements, comments, and shares.

Sure, not all of the comments were supportive of the changes, but because of the Facebook algorithm those people will see more M&M content in their feeds. Plus, each person who shared the post, expanded the reach of M&M's post to include people who don't follow M&M's profile.

How can you do the same thing?

Create quality content that your audience finds valuable and will want to engage with. Start by answering questions that your customers ask you. Then create content that illustrates the answer in a helpful way. The more value you add, the more engagement you'll see.

Bonus tip - Know when to outsource

Mars has their own in-house marketing team. They strategize and implement effective marketing plans all the time, but for this M&Ms campaign, they did outsource the creative work.

By outsourcing this work, Mars was able to:

  • Get a fresh perspective and new ideas.

  • Continue to create their normally planned marketing initiatives while the ad agency focused on creating the new campaign.

How can you do the same thing?

Whether or not you have an in-house marketing person or team, the marketing professionals at Violet Clover Consulting can help you evaluate your current marketing portfolio, identify opportunities to be more inclusive, and create content that your audience will engage with.

To get started, contact us and we'll get a meeting scheduled so that we can discuss your business, goals, and how Violet Clover Consulting can help.

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