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Tydy Product: How a mascot transformed a leading pharmaceutical company’s employee onboarding journey

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In the world of advertising and marketing, mascots are a familiar concept.

We all remember popular characters like the Pillsbury Doughboy, Michelin Man, Amul Girl and Geico Gecko.

Famous brand mascots

Apart from being cute and lovable and featuring in the brand’s ads and communication collateral, mascots - when done right - serve a more meaningful purpose.

They build an emotional bridge between a brand and its audience. Mascots humanize the brand and give it a recognizable voice, tone, and personality. In fact, if we go by the numbers, a successful mascot, according to Technicolor Creative Studio, can increase the emotional connection with a brand by 41%.

“But there is a very fine line between a mascot becoming an audience favorite and going horribly wrong or just being this obsolete figure that features on company collaterals but serves no purpose. This is why, when a multinational pharma brand reached out to us to revamp their entire employee onboarding journey by also giving their mascot a new look and feel, we went through an extensive month-long process to get to the final result”, recalls Pooja Nair, Tydy’s design mind behind the brand’s current employee onboarding mascot.

A Little Backstory

Our customer, a leading pharmaceutical company, has over 22000 employees spread across multiple geographies. It has been in business for 80 years, which means even before they reached out to Tydy, they had a pretty well-defined employee onboarding journey for its new hires. 

Given that their onboarding processes were developed over time and by different teams, it meant they were:

  • Siloed: No uniform process across the organization. For instance, a mascot did already exist, but it was being used only in one part of the entire onboarding journey and only by a few teams.
  • Manual: A lot of the tasks in the employee onboarding journey were manual and lacked standardization. For example, the employee onboarding checklists followed by HR teams across different locations were not the same, nor were they fully automated.
  • Impersonal: Given that the employee onboarding journey was heavily process and compliance driven, the human touch was missing. In other words, the employee onboarding journey wasn’t delivering an experience to remember!

The company wanted to upgrade its employee onboarding process on two fronts:

  1. Digitalize the manual processes: Processes that were being manually carried out by HR needed to be digitalized in a way that not only reduces their workload but also standardizes the onboarding process across the organization.
  1. Make communication more engaging: Transform the onboarding process to make it more fun and exciting for the new hire, while also reflecting the dynamicity and liveliness of the brand itself.

While Tydy’s software enabled this global brand to achieve the former, Tydy’s Design Team got down to work on the latter.

The resurrection of the employee onboarding mascot

“The HR team of the company had a clear vision for its employee onboarding journey: it had to be interactive, fun, and a very personal experience for every new hire. A mascot, we agreed, was a great way to breathe life into the employee onboarding experience and also activate their employer brand”, commented Gaurabh Mathure, Tydy’s design mastermind and Co-founder, as he recalls his interactions with the HR team.

Tydy’s Design Team followed a four-step approach to build the mascot, which would go on to become the face of this pharma conglomerate’s employee onboarding process.

Step 1: Defining the archetype: Who is this mascot? 

“Usually when we build a mascot, we give it a history and an archetype that will make it relatable to its audience. In this case, because it was already a part of their onboarding journey, we didn’t need to create a story about its birth and its past, we just needed to nail its archetype”, Pooja explained.

For those of you who are not familiar with archetypes, it is a brand positioning tool that is used to personify a brand. There are 12 widely accepted archetypes and identifying this brand’s archetype would help determine the mascot’s personality too.

Photo credit: Iconic Fox

“So we prepared a questionnaire around the 12 brand archetypes and shared it with a representative sample of employees at the company. And the wide majority of them voted for the “caregiver” archetype. And to us, it made absolute sense because their core value is also about caring for life”, recollects Pooja.

With the mascot’s personality type locked, the Tydy team then moved to the next step.

Step 2: What should the mascot look like?

The existing mascot design had a robotic appearance that didn’t align with the brand anymore. It looked archaic as against the youthful and caring image that the brand has now.

“We decided to build something from scratch. So the first thing we did was to decide if the mascot should be a thing, human or animal”, Gaurabh shared and then added, “We finalized a thing because creating an inclusive human figure was a challenge and an animal didn’t go with the image of this brand”.

Choosing the mascot's appearance

Once the mascot was finalized as a “thing”, the next step was to identify what that thing would be. In keeping with the company’s line of work, Tydy’s Design Team considered three product artifacts that could take on the look of a mascot as shown below. The pill, given its shape and flexibility to transform into a mascot-like figure, was finalized.

Finalizing the mascot's look

And then came the actual work of creating the design. 

After days at the drawing board visualizing the mascot that would be a true personification of the brand, the mascot’s new look took shape.

“We took the new look to the HR team. During the review meeting, we realized the new mascot was a complete detour from the original one, which could break the continuity of the brand. The new mascot needed to be an evolution of the earlier one. So we went back to the drawing board again and breathed life into what would finally become their mascot 2.0” said Pooja.

Step 3: What are the mascot’s personality traits?

As final steps, the personality traits needed to be named. Tydy’s Design Team sat down with the HR team to further break down what those would be.

Gaurabh shares, “In keeping with the caregiver archetype and the support a new hire would require during onboarding, we identified the traits of the mascot and created variations in design to represent these traits. And that included an advisor, a mentor, an enabler and more.”

With that, the mascot was born…or reborn!

Now we were left with one last task - to integrate it into their employee onboarding program.

Step 4: Putting the mascot at the heart of the employee onboarding journey

The mascot needed to be a new hire’s constant companion guiding them through every aspect of an employee onboarding process. 

And to introduce it to the new hire, Tydy’s Design Team designed a pre-boarding journey that looked exactly like the experience of traveling on a flight.

The offer letter was designed to look like a boarding pass. The policies looked like the instruction manual inside a flight. Through this entire journey, the mascot would be present, just like a flight attendant, to help when necessary.

Impact of the mascot and the new personalized onboarding experience

Creating a new and more personalized onboarding experience using a mascot took the ‘dull and boring’ out of their onboarding journey. It helps new hires feel a sense of connection with the brand.

As a result, the percentage of onboarding tasks completed voluntarily by the new hire went up considerably and the employee onboarding experience was rated higher than ever before in the feedback surveys.

Wondering if a mascot can help you revamp your onboarding experience? It definitely is one way.

If you'd like to figure out what will work best for you and your brand, you could book a consultation with People+, our in-house EX Design Studio.

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