Incorporating a Mascot into your Brand
Your brand is not your logo, your brand is what people think when they see your logo. There are lots of elements of a company’s vision, core values and culture that make up their brand. Brands have incorporated mascots into their efforts since the early 1900’s with one of the first notable mascots being a taxidermy mount of a cub for the Chicago Cubs. Mascots are often thought of as good luck omens and many are either human or animal in nature. Even the Edmonton Oilers chose to create a Lynx named Hunter as their mascot even though Oil and Lynx have no discernible connection. Once you have picked a mascot, choosing when to use it in your branding is the next task, and there are lots of great ways to promote this good luck charm.
How to develop the image of your mascot
At the Promo Addict we decided to incorporate a mascot because when we can imprint in full color, we didn’t have a full colour version of our logo. Developing a mascot was an easy way to give more complexity to the brand while keeping the fun-loving spirit alive. We decided to create an excited dog who is as addicted to promotional items as we are. The idea was the have a happy animal that basically gets excited about all kinds of swag.
The Mascot Design
We had our design team come up with some early renditions of what the mascot could look like and we fell in love relatively early in the design process. We did some minor changes like making his arms thicker and the hair on the top of his head a little messier, but overall the image of “Swag the Dog” came together relatively quickly.
Bringing your Design to Reality
We decided to produce custom stuffed animals of our new mascot as a fantastic branded giveaway for children. The main challenge in completing this program was the minimums. Many manufacturers wanted us to order thousands of stuffed animals, but as a company with only a few hundred customers, we felt that it would be better to order less stuffies, even if it meant paying a higher price per unit. After some research we found a trusted manufacturer with the proper child safety certifications and a willingness to produce 100 stuffies for us.
Manufacturing custom stuffed animals does not happen overnight. We started with our designed image and then we had a prototype made. There were some small issues, like the prototype didn’t sit properly, it kept falling forwards. We wanted to make some small changes like making the fur on his belly softer and perfecting the shape of his eyes and tongue. Little things go a long way when bringing your vision to reality. From initial ideation to getting the custom stuffies into our hands was about 3-4 months, but it was worth the wait.
Kids love them and they are the ultimate new baby gift
Nothing rings of the success of a promotional campaign more than getting text messages and emails from customers with images of their kids cuddling your custom stuffy. It makes my heart warm to see people love our custom creation.
PPAI Image Awards
Since Swags creation we have incorporated his image into dozens of projects including screwdriver pens, sweethearts for valentines, dash mounts for cars, lip balm for national donut day, custom advent calendars, screwdrivers, embroidered stickers and more. Swag is easily identifiable with our brand and he really does feel like a part of The Promo Addict family now. We were even nominated for a PPAI image award for our inclusion of Swag into our branding. Unfortunately, we did not make it to be a finalist because we couldn’t track his incorporation to a quantifiable growth in revenue… but I say forget that, you can’t quantify love.