Picking out a new mascot for your organization can be a lot of fun, but you also want to make sure you end up with a final product that ticks all the boxes. A mascot should be engaging, creative, and memorable. Here are some questions to consider at the beginning of the process to make sure you get the results you’re after.
1. What are you trying to communicate about your organization?
In the preliminary stages, it is a good idea to look back at historical accounts of your own or similar organizations and make note of any mascots that have represented them in the past. Historical precedent is important, and you want to make sure that you’re only evoking references deliberately.
Brand identities evolve, and although ideas that worked well in the past may still have the potential to be revamped for a modern audience, you want to make sure you’re fully aware of what your audience might be reminded of when encountering your mascot for the first time.
2. Who is your target audience?
Speaking of audience, this question should be front and center as you decide what kind of mascot will go furthest when it comes to inspiring interest. You want to ensure that the mascot type is appropriate for who you want to attract and entertain.
Generally, mascots fall into three categories- friendly, strong, or comic. Depending on whether you’re trying to make children smile, rile up sports fans, or engage adults, you should pick a design that corresponds more directly with one of these characteristics. Remember that, at the end of the day, you want a mascot that your audience can easily relate to, interact with, and will be left with a lasting impression of.
3. What inspires you?
Although of course your audience should be top of mind, you also want to involve your own creative aspirations in the process. Consider your larger community and consider evoking a symbol that you, along with a large portion of your target audience, would identify with. This could mean employing a regional symbol, or even a local agriculture product.
You can also pay tribute to someone or something that has important cultural significance within the community. Ask yourself what is the one thing that everyone in your target audience is familiar with, and try to incorporate that into your final vision.
4. What do you need your mascot costume to be able to do?
Although the creative part is definitely most fun, you also need to be mindful of practical considerations when designing a mascot costume. For example, if the mascot will only be present for meet-and-greet style performances in a controlled setting, then any design would work. If you anticipate having to move through busy crowds, however, you may want to avoid any characters with wings, long tails, and other such elements which may impede in moving around smoothly.
5. What does your team think?
Don’t forget to value the input of other members within your organization. Arrange a meeting, include everyone, and ask others to provide feedback and ideas. Compare and contrast the ideas that arise while asking deeper questions about where your team drew inspiration from. Facilitate an open discussion, and encourage everyone to toss in even goofy or funny thoughts that come to mind.
You might just end up being surprised by how valuable some of these creative suggestions are when understand what you want to achieve with the final product. It is also a perfect way to stimulate internal excitement and enthusiasm about the new mascot, which will ultimately contribute to its reception from your audience.