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Following The Code or Winging It?
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Guiding your “Code of Conduct ”
- Consider your core values and beliefs as an organization
- Consider your main audience (a mascot for a Children’s Hospital will (and should!!) have a different set of prescribed behaviors than a mascot for a Monster Truck Rally.)
- Consider what your mascot will be doing! Is your mascot attending high profile events where good behavior is important?
- Keep in mind that it’s OK for your mascot’s behavior to vary from venue to venue, as long as you have a solid Code that always applies and a solid personality for your character.
Creating your “Code of Conduct”
Safety of Others
Alcohol and Drugs
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Political and Religious Activities
PROTECTING YOUR BRAND
Protection of Mascot and PropertyMake sure that your Code specifies how the costume is stored, and whose responsibility it is to make sure that mascot is safe and stored at the end of the day. Is this the performer’s responsibility? The handler’s? Aside from ensuring the safekeeping of an expensive purchase, physically protecting your mascot can save it from being on the “Missing Mascot List” (but that’s another issue for another time).
Management of Reporting Structure (Hierarchy)The Code of Conduct is a great spot to identify the reporting structure. Who does the performer report to? Who does the handler report to? Make sure that this is clear from the start, as it is the supervisor’s job to make sure that everyone understands the importance of the code!
Personal Use and Social Media ConductAs much as your mascot is a “real bear” he is also a part of your branding and should always be protected. He should only attend company sanctioned events and be used for company sanctioned purposes. In the age of Selfies and Instagram, you can avoid a lot of drama by clarifying the line here. Someone on your team might think it’s really funny to take a photo of the mascot on the toilet, but that could be a little less funny if it meets the wrong eyes. You want to make sure that your mascot enhances your brand…. Not dilutes it! Some points could include:
- Do not take personal photos of yourself or anyone else wearing the costume or parts of the costume unless authorized
- Do not take the costume off the storage property unless authorized.
- Always be camera ready when in public.
VIOLATION OF THE CODEThis is vital. Your code and vision should be uppermost in everyone’s mind and influence every mascotting decision that is made. Repercussions for violating the code should be clear. Consider a “warning system” or termination, depending on the severity of the violation. If you've done a great job in creating a Code of Conduct, you may never need to deal with violations!
Implementing your “Code of Conduct”If you rely on volunteers to wear your costume: Provide your volunteer(s) with your “Code of Conduct” at least a few days in advance of their shift. This will allow them to prepare for the role. Consider having a digital copy on file that you can send out to volunteers once they have confirmed with you. Empower your volunteers to act with confidence!
If you have one (or a few) steadfast performer(s): Lucky you! Make sure that each performer has a copy of the “Code” when they begin working for you. As stated above, it may even be helpful to get them to help you make the “Code of Conduct”. This one document will help them make day to day decisions with confidence, knowing that they make a difference to your organization’s branding.
Before “Show Time”:
- Have a huddle with your performer. Discuss their specific role in the event/ day etc. and what tasks are expected.
- Make sure that your performer knows who they are reporting to! There needs to be a hierarchy in place, just like with any other job.
- Does your mascot have a Handler? If so, make sure that “who does what” is clear. You may even want to make a separate “Code of Conduct” for the Handler!
- Give your performer a pep talk!! Even though they will be hidden inside a costume, being a good mascot still takes confidence!
There you have it folks. Protect your brand, protect your mascot, and protect your performer. Some pre-planning is bound to go a long way in ensuring that you have a confident performer (and confident PR team!!) Making a “Mascot Code of Conduct” may seem like a bit of an onerous task, but hopefully these recommendations will help guide you in the right direction!
This content was posted on Gameops.com with permission from Sugar's Mascot Costumes. For more details on Sugar's and their offerings, we encourage you to visit their home page at sugarsmascotcostumes.com
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