How does a company go about starting a corporate mascot program? Such a program requires not only producing dozens of mascots, but also keeping them maintained and organized. This can be a very daunting task for anyone looking to start a large-scale mascot program.
Your brand’s image is on the line. If you end up with mascots that look different from each other or are falling apart, that will reflect poorly on your organization and brand. That’s why it is so important to have a plan and vendor that can meet your needs. To make your life easier, we’ve compiled a list of things that we recognize as best practice when it comes to doing any large-scale mascotting venture.
To mass-produce mascot costumes, you must have the staff, materials, skill, and facility to do so. You do not want to overwhelm production capacity, or be left stranded because your vendor couldn’t deliver. When evaluating vendors make note whether your mascot manufacturer has similar-sized projects under their belt. Ask them for a few examples.
We have a client that uses multiple mascot character costumes at their outdoor attractions across the nation. These costumes interact with kids, outdoors, in hot weather, each season. Even with the durability put into the design of these costumes, they are sent back to us bi-yearly for a mascot cleaning and repair if needed.
While we recognize that some DIY mascot maintenance and mascot cleaning is needed and we do encourage it, having a professional team do routine maintenance will ensure your investment will stand the test of time. When working on your mascot program, be sure to consider having a plan in place for routine maintenance for your entire fleet of costumes.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a large-scale organization that does not have multiple copies of its mascot costume. Having multiples of a mascot costume ensures you have a backup in case something goes wrong, and also gives you the ability to have multiple mascot performers on the job. For example, the Milwaukee Brewers use two mascot costumes for Bernie Brewer simultaneously during their baseball games. One performer mans the home run slide, while the other walks around the park and interacts with guests at a more personal level.
Having multiples copies of a costume not only allows you to be in two places at once, but it also allows you to substitute a backup costume in while another is out of commission. Having a backup costume gives you the ability to use your mascot during a period of planned maintenance or repair, or react quickly to any costume malfunction.
Your vendor should have patterning capabilities that allow for exact matching between mascot costumes. This also reduces the costs of mass-producing costumes which will positively affect your bottom line.
As you scale your mascot program, the need for consistency and patterning becomes even more prevalent. If your organization distributes mascots between multiple locations, you don’t want those mascot costumes to vary from location to location. For example, a pair of mascots in two different shades of blue looks inconsistent and alludes to poor quality. Two characterizations that you do not want to be associated with your brand. Color matching between themes, logos, and costumes is a must when dealing with brand mascot programs.
Ideally, you or your mascot vendor should have an inventory of replacement parts. If your mascot vendor provides custom made mascots, then they should have all the molds, patterns, measurements, and fabric saved on file. Having each mascot costume serialized makes managing the modification, repair, and cleaning of your costumes much easier, resulting in faster turn arounds.
Having an inventory and database of serialized parts is a key to providing quick turnaround on urgent repairs and new jobs. It is worth asking your mascot vendor about their method of storing this information. Knowing your vendor can store your mascot’s specifications will save you from many future headaches.
Handmade mascot costumes produced here in the USA often hold up better than their foreign counterparts. It also is nice to have the peace of mind that your manufacturer is not across the globe when you need an additional costume or a cleaning.
American quality is great, but we should also mention the advantages in logistics. International shipping can be a nightmare, especially when you’re dealing with large or heavy items. Oftentimes international shipping becomes a hassle when it comes to clearing customs and converting currency. Not to mention all the costs you will incur by shipping overseas. You avoid these inconveniences by ordering from an American manufacturer that designs, builds, and ships their mascots in-country.
In summary, any bulk mascot order can be an overwhelming task. However, by going with a mascot manufacturer that has professional mascot program experience, you can take the whole burden off yourself. To find out if they are up to snuff, ask them about their capacity, maintenance program, replication ability, brand consistency, parts inventory, and country of origin. These six enquiries will help you determine your best option for your organization.
Are you looking for help getting a corporate mascot program started? You’re in luck, because that is exactly what we do.
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