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7 steps to using mascots to build brands successfully

By Dan Antonelli

Posted on Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Vary your style. Be careful with developing such a unique style that everyone knows your work by it. If you are working in the same local market, it can potentially work against you because your mascots all look similar, and therefore, to the consumer, potentially confusing. It is a disservice to the company that hires you to their brand, if your mascot looks similar in nature to a previous local design you’ve done. We’re very careful of brands we deploy in the same market. We take extra precautions so that each brand is unique in their market and not likely to be confused with another brand we previously created.

Be creative. When possible, if a name lends itself to something unique and memorable, design your mascot to help connect them together. For example, the logo we created for Cool Experts utilizes a penguin with shades, who looks cool. He is a “cool expert.”

Mascots are certainly not appropriate in every branding application. Much depends on the feel that the business is trying to evoke with their brand. We do a lot of this type of work, largely because it’s often requested specifically. But we also talk a lot of clients out of this approach if we find that their goals won’t be met with a mascot-based brand approach. Having designed hundreds of mascot-based brands, and an equal amount which didn’t use a mascot, and assessed the results of both, there are pros and cons to both. But the key to success remains in consistent applications of the brand across the board. And in general, the concept of visual disruption in the market, whether the brand is mascot-based or not, is truly at the root of small business branding success. Don’t design brands that fit in. Be the needle in the haystack.

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Dan Antonelli

Dan Antonelli owns KickCharge Creative (formerly Graphic D-Signs, Inc.) in Washington, New Jersey. His latest book, Building a Big Small Business Brand, joins his Logo Design for Small Business I and II. He can be reached at dan@kickcharge. com. Dan also offers consulting and business coaching services to sign companies. For more information, visit danantonelli.com. On Instagram: @danantonelli_kickcharge.