Would a mascot help your business?
Boost your marketing strategy with this expert advice.
By Carlye Adler, FSB Magazine

(FSB Magazine) -- Before you say yes, consider a few guidelines from the experts:

1. The most important step in creating a character for your brand is understanding the brand itself: What are you really selling? McDonald's sells food but also fun. It uses minor characters, such as Mayor McCheese, that look like food, but its best-known mascot is a clown.

mms.03.jpg

2. Characters generally work best for consumer products, not services. If your company doesn't try to attract buyers through creative packaging, a character might not give you a big marketing boost.

3. Don't envision the character as an ambassador for your brand. Ambassadors have to be perfect, which generally makes them boring and unbelievable. Conflict and flaws make characters interesting and engaging, such as the competing personalities among M&Ms.

4. Don't worry about making the character look like your typical customer. KFC's hip-hop version of Colonel Sanders was a bust because the marketers were concerned more about how he looked and less about how he embodied the company's brand.

Which commercial mascots have been the most memorable ones for you? Have any influenced the way you think about marketing your own product or service? And do you have a mascot for your company? If so, how did you choose it? Let us know by writing to fsb_mail@timeinc.com.

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.