AMiable Solution #287: Mascot or Not?
When I say “mascot,” you likely either think of your favorite sports team or your old high school.
While these groups do tend to have some sort of mascot that their students and fans can identify with and celebrate, they’re not the only ones taking advantage of this marketing tool.
As far back as the 1800s organizations have used mascots—people, animals, or objects used as fictional spokespeople—to grab attention, create brand recognize, and generate mass appeal.
The Jolly Green Giant.
Geoffrey the Giraffe.
Charlie the Tuna.
The Kool-Aid Man.
The Marlboro Man.
Duke the dog.
The GEICO gecko.
The AFLAC duck.
You know these characters by name. In fact, in some cases, you’d know the company or organization they represent by image alone. Hence, the power of a good mascot.
But mascots aren’t for everyone. Good intentions without thoughtful analysis and planning can not only result in an ineffective mascot, but it can also make your business look downright foolish in the eyes of your target audience.
The keys to a good mascot? Know your market and develop a mascot that represents the interests of your audience and the personality and goals of your brand.
This is where good intentions usually go bad, according to Mash Bonigala, Founder and CEO of SpellBrand, a logo design and brand identity agency. “Your target audience will respond most to mascots that share similar values and appearances,” Bonigala says. “Half the reason that mascots get bad is probably because they are conceptualized by executives who are too far removed from their customers.”
Who represents your brand?