Mascots can be a giant, larger-than-life boost to a company’s brand. If done properly, they can rally an internal team behind a company’s values and be a beloved culture symbol. Or they can flop miserably with a few eyerolls and snarky comments from team members who aren’t on board with the idea.
Considering a mascot program – when done well – can be a significant six-figure marketing investment, it’s critical to have all the pieces in place before you launch one along with the long-range plan to ensure the mascot brings the intended goal to life… literally. Here are some questions to consider if you are considering one.
Question 1: Why do you want a mascot?
Mascots can be incredibly powerful if you are trying to encourage social media posts, illustrate company values or have a unique draw for an event. Both kids and adults gravitate towards a giant, fluffy mascot to have pictures taken, so mascots can be social media gold if they are tied to your organizations’ brand. Understanding why you want to do a mascot will help inform what kind of mascot would work best for your organization.
Question 2: Do you have support from all the key stakeholders?
Before launching a mascot program, float the idea to the key stakeholders in your organization. Enlist support of key people and recruit them to your mascot planning committee to help them feel like they are part of the decision and creation process. It’s very difficult to be a detractor for a program one helps create. However, when key people are left out of a process or feel like it’s being crammed down their throats, it’s very easy to be negative about it. Rarely do the initial detractors convert their support, so just be aware of this before making the investment.
Question 3: Is your budget sufficient to launch and provide ongoing support?
Done properly, mascots will be at least a six-figure investment when it comes to design and production of the costume. Other budget considerations would include training the mascot talent team, professional photography of the mascot in different poses to use for collateral, promotional items and giveaways and ultimately shipping the costume to different locations and ensuring a second team member can be available to chaperone the costumed mascot at appearances.
Question 4: What is the plan to bring the mascot to life?
Be sure to think through how you plan to bring the mascot to life. Deciding what kind of mascot works for your brand, the significance of the chosen symbol and enlisting the launch team committee are good first steps. Then you may do a preview campaign to generate buzz while the costume and other logistics are in production. Once you have the costume, then photography and training for the team who will be in the costume performing are in order.
Here are some other considerations to keep in mind:
Mascot costumes can get very hot inside, so make sure whomever will be in costume has regular water breaks and water available.
The mascot talent will need a separate room to change into costume for appearances. Restrooms will not work for several obvious reasons.
Mascots will need to be trained if they are not a hired mascot talent. The mascot mannerisms and personality traits need to be consistent no matter who is in the costume, so setting up some training ahead of time or recruiting your mascot talent for appearances will be key.
Chaperones for the mascots also need to be trained and present at all times when the mascot is in costume. This seems like an obvious consideration, but many people don’t realize that the mascots usually do not speak and need a person to be their voice. Vision also can be very limited inside the costume, and you also will want to protect the mascot talent from stumbling on obstacles or from any potential negativity from a crowd.
Hopefully, the above questions can help sort through some of the initial planning pieces of a mascot program. If you are considering a mascot for your organization, Cumulus Communications has worked with some of the best in the industry and launched mascot programs for both consumer and B2B brands. Contact us today if you are considering a mascot program. We would love to play!