Advice from: Temple Owls (of Temple University)
Think outside the norm. Gorton's Fish Sticks, perhaps? "Maybe they do a promotion where the mascot stands at mid-court and you've got to try to throw [fish] into its mouth," says associate athletic director Scott Walcoff.
Advice from: Madison Mallards (a summer collegiate baseball team)
"If I were making the decisions for a team like that, I would tend toward fun," says Mallards president Vern Stenman. Goofy mascots draw kids; fun logos sell shirts. Basketball is only a game, after all.
Advice from: Baltimore Orioles
Less fierce means more flexible, says Greg Bader, Orioles' VP of communications and marketing. His team's mascot is a playful, cartoonish bird, but toward playoff time last year, it resurrected an old logo of an angry bird to fire up the fans.
Advice from: Pittsburgh Penguins
The pelican is Louisiana's state bird. "This team more fully represents the area," says James Santilli, the Penguins' VP of marketing. He suggests tapping into that hometown pride with a slate of basketball clinics and open practices.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.