The team coach is adamant: “Our mascot should be fierce. Like our team. Hungry to win and ready to take out the competition.” The marketing manager has a completely different opinion: “Cuddly and cute. We are trying to draw in families. We want a mascot that is friendly and huggable.”

So, which is right? Should your mascot be fierce or friendly?

There are a few factors you need to consider say the experts at Street Characters. They’ve worked with over thousands of organizations, helping them identify the right character to represent their brand and genuinely engage with fans and customers.

The first step is thinking about your audience and where your mascot will be performing. A college with a mostly young adult crowd might be able to get away with a more ferocious looking character than a corporate mascot attending family events.

The second consideration is your organization’s brand – your mascot’s personality should be a reflection of your organization’s public image. Is your brand bold, easy, family-friendly, innovative? Because mascot never talks, his personality will need to shine through in his suit.

At Street Characters, we ask our clients to fill out a quick questionnaire that asks about audience, brand, look and activities, as well as which adjectives you want your character to personify.

All those questions aside, which is best?

While these questions are all important considerations, the mascot pros will tell you that friendly is often better than fierce.

One of the most important traits of a good, effective mascot is that people can relate to them. People – small people and big people – are more comfortable engaging in a hug or a selfie with a character that seems approachable. And which would you rather hug – a furious-looking lizard or a cuddly dog?

At Street Characters, we encourage our clients to remember the Law of Huggability – huggability is directly proportional to the amount of fur. That’s why we often recommend organizations choose a cuddly animal. That’s not to say we can’t make human characters and inanimate characters friendly, but you’ll get more “hug for your buck” with a furry mammal.

Can an old fierce foe become cuddly?

Maybe you’ve had the same “killer competitor’ dinosaur or lizard the coach requested two decades ago, and you think the mascot is so ingrained that it would be just too tough to change. Have hope! It is possible to go from fierce to friendly! Street Characters has helped dozens of organizations make the transition. Take for example Miami FC – Golazo.

At the end of the day, with the right designer and the right performer, anything can work….but, if you find yourself debating whether to go fierce or friendly – just remember the Law of Huggability!