The branding process usually involves creating an emblem that represents a company’s distinct business philosophy. And sometimes that means creating a mascot that can be incorporated into the logo or for myriad promotional purposes. However, perhaps you’ve wondered recently why so many mascots seem to be animals rather than humans or something more ambiguous.
Perhaps the easiest answer is that if you use a real human being as a mascot, you have more risk. An actor you hire to play a character may get into trouble and place your business reputation into jeopardy. Plus, that actor will retire and die later, hence leaving you without the classic mascot so woven into the minds of local or national audiences.
While technology can sometimes help revive those mascots in animated or CGI form (plus through another actor), this usually works the best with national brands. If you’re a local business, are you better off sticking with an animal or some kind of non-gender character?
If you’re just now starting your business, consider character ideas based on the most important elements of what you want to convey about your company.
What’s in a Name?
Certain company names can sometimes be a play on words that can help you create a mascot, whether human or animal. AFLAC may be one of the greatest examples of recent years where the name of an insurance company happened to sound like a quacking duck. We all know the rest is history, including ad campaigns that seem to never end.
Does your business name sound similar to an animal or a sound they make? Are there other elements that could connect to giving rhyme or reason why you’d use a particular mascot? You’re better off having a close connection to your business so your customers don’t get confused about why you may happen to use an anthropomorphic dog character for a plumbing business.
Mascots in the Guise of Your Product
As an alternative to the connection between name and mascot, why not create a character in the guise of your product? This can help you think more creatively and not be so specific on gender or choosing a particular animal character to represent you. The California Raisin characters may be the most famous national mascots in history thanks to being believable as actual raisins. And anthropomorphic M&M’s are the current winners in this category.
Can you do the same with a popular product you sell? You don’t want to get too contrived here, especially if it looks a little too surreal turning a pizza or a piece of plumbing pipe into a character with a face. Think logically on whether your product can easily integrate into the shape of a character that resembles a human.
Mascots That Target Specific Demographics
If you’re catering to kids as your main demographic, creating cute human or animal characters is a standard. But you may have to choose certain characters that kids can truly relate to rather than just automatically going with cute. With cats being so popular on the net lately, you can’t go wrong with using a kitten or adult cat in some capacity as a mascot.
For adults, cute characters may be annoying to some and fun to others. Pick a character that relates to something in their life, or perhaps with a satirical edge to provide laughs when they see the character in costume form during promotional events.