Bare Tree Media Partners with TikTok to Bring the Power of AR Effects to Brands

Boston MA – June 25, 2020 – Bare Tree Media, a leader in branded interactive experiences, has been selected by TikTok as a preferred AR (Augmented Reality) design agency partner. As part of the TikTok Branded Effects Partner Program, Bare Tree Media will be assigned to strategize and design TikTok AR Effects for brand campaigns. Through TikTok’s technology and Bare Tree Media’s in-depth expertise in 2D and 3D AR design, this partnership will help to scale creativity and production of AR effects for brands. This partnership builds on TikTok’s newly launched Branded Scan, an innovative format of TikTok’s Branded AR Effect that activates certain visual effects after recognizing a flat image such as a brand’s logo or physical object such as a branded product.

 

TikTok, is a Chinese short-form video-sharing app, which has proved wildly popular this year.

“With the digital landscape always evolving, we are consistently investing in our interactive competencies such as augmented reality,” said Robert Ferrari, President of Bare Tree Media. “We are honored to be selected into this partnership to create branded AR experiences to engage audiences within the popular TikTok platform.”

 

“Branded Effects give brands the opportunity to interact with Tiktok users in a way that’s engaging and fun,” said Melissa Yang, Head of Ecosystem Partnerships, Global Business Solutions at TikTok. “We’re thrilled to partner with the most creative leaders in 2D and 3D development to bring this playful, immersive experience to our brand partners and the broader TikTok community.”

 

About Bare Tree Media

Bare Tree Media enables brands to reach, engage and entertain consumers through the creation and digital publishing of branded emojis, messaging stickers, GIFs and augmented reality within popular messaging platforms. As a pioneer in the digital creative and technology sector, Bare Tree Media’s clients and partners include; ABC Television, American Greetings, Apple, Baidu, CBS Interactive, Disney, Duracell, EA, Facebook, Giphy, Google Play, Instagram, King Features, Life is Good, LINE Corp, Lionsgate, Mars-Wrigley, MasterCard, MuscleTech, Paws Inc, P&G, NBC Universal, New England Patriots, Snapchat, Snap-On Tools, SONY Television Pictures, Tenor, TikTok, Twitter, Viacom, Warner Bros, Wimpy Kid, and many more. Brands interested in offering their own mobile messaging apps, mobile stickers, emojis, and augmented reality can go to www.baretreemedia.com or contact Bare Tree Media at info@baretreemedia.com.


The Best of Snap Summit 2020

Like most recent events, this year’s Snapchat Summit was adapted virtually as opposed to existing in a physical space; it might seem like a no-brainer for a company whose expertise is in the digital realm—but if anything, this year’s summit has proven Snapchat’s ambition of bridging the gap between between augmented reality, and reality.

If the theme of Snapchat up until now has been “show, don’t tell” the mantra they’ve adopted moving forward seems to be “experience, don’t show”. What this means for brands is that Snapchat has uniquely positioned itself to allow artists & studios to create unique, branded AR experiences that transcend the digital sphere.

Below I’ve highlighted the features that I’m most excited about, as well as how they can be utilized to elevate users’ AR experiences.

Local Lenses:

These dynamic lenses use real-life locations (whole areas or specific buildings) to create a unified AR experience that different Snapchatters can share, as long as they’re in the same physical space—the first of its kind. In the example above, multiple people are creating a mural of different colors on one shared space using multiple phones. This added expertiental element creates a unified experience that exists wholly online, but that facilitates physical community. This is the first best of both worlds experience.

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Snap Scan & Marker Lenses:

Scan Partners is a powerful tool for brands. It allows the camera to recognize an item and then attaches it to a specific lens. The examples Snapchat used were a plant-identifer that, when clicked, would provide information on how to care for that plant (including links to buy those items). But they can also be utilized by luxury brands in order to create beautiful AR experiences in the physical world, once again blending the 2. Louis Vuitton recently added their logo as a marker lens, which means that when their logo is scanned in real life in Snapchat, a virtual door to their latest showroom opens highlighting classic and current collections in a virtual showroom. Too-Faced marked their 'Born This Way' product packaging—so when scanned, users can try it on virtually. Marker lenses elimiate the need to advertise via Snapcode, as well—the product is the Snapcode.


Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

SnapML:

The developer tool now features SnapM (or Snapchat Machine Learning), which lets developers bring their own machine-learning models to power Snap lenses, making what is possible to create limited only to the imagination. This allows for the creation of lenses that were previously impossible (such as the Van Gogh filter below, created by Nicholas Dominici) that would benefit anything from a new movie or video game with a singular aesthetic, to a museum wanting to highlight a current exhibition.

Additionally, this allows the creation of extremely accurate tracking of faces, gestures, feet, and even landmarks such as buildings. Below, you can see the practical application that Wannaby has used: they created a try-it-on filter that lets users see their newest shoe in a variety of colors (yes, that shoe is AR, not real).

In short, SnapML has destroyed many creative boundaries that previously existed—the new “brand experience” is limited (mostly) by what you can imagine vs by technology, as used to be the case.

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Places:

Snapchat is making it easier than ever to integrate call-to-actions with their app and lenses. One example of this is “Places”, which would lead to an outside-Snap call to action such as ordering a physical product online, whether it’s that new lipstick or food from their favorite delivery spot! This would be especially crucial for smaller businesses that need to receive local support.

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Integration SnapKits:

If your brand has an existing app, Snapchat will now let you integrate their technology with it in order to create a new layer of interaction with your fans. This is more abstract in thought, but can be applicable to any number of brands across any discipline—it’s an equally powerful tool both for those brands within the entertainment industry, and outside of it. Rally Road is an app that is meant for classic car investments, but has integrated Snapchat’s CreativeKit to let users purchase shares in rare items and share them with their friends in a unique AR environment. Atom movie tickets has also utilized this to let its users browse movies, purchase tickets, and choose seats together in one easy experience.  There are numerous types of kits available, each with their own unique perks (AdKit, which makes monetizing apps easy with SnapAds, CreativeKit, which allows apps to bring real-time data into Snapchat, and CameraKit, which brings the power os Snapchat camera to your apps).

Photo courtesy of Snapchat.

Where Do I Start?

If you're interested leveraging Snapchat for Any of the above uses, a qualified creative studio is your best bet, since we know the ins-and-outs of not only best creative practices to create an attractive filter, but can also help determine which strategy is the way to go when the options can seem endless and equally appealing (especially after this year's summit).

We here at Bare Tree Media would love to collaborate with any artist, strategist, or brand who's just as pumped about these new Snapchat features as we are! You can take a look to see the lenses we've already created.


enchanted-forest-video-call-ar-effect

How to Bring Some Fun to Your Video Calls

enchanted-forest-video-call-ar-effect

How to Bring Some Fun to Your Video Calls

As we adjust to a new normal, video conference calls have become the number one way to get some quality face time with co-workers, clients and loved ones. If you’ve been like us, you’ve been spending a majority of the time in these calls and want to break up the monotony with a bit fun! Using Snapchat’s desktop app Snap Camera or simple videos, you can add exciting backgrounds and AR effects to your video feed.


How to Add Videos to Zoom

Adding fun videos to Zoom calls is super easy! Once you are in a Zoom Meeting, in the bottom left corner of the window, you will see a ‘Start Video’ button. Click on the up arrow to the right of the icon and select ‘Choose Virtual Background..’

 

This will bring you to your video settings within Zoom. You will see five default videos from Zoom that you can try out. But if you want something special hit that plus button to the right and choose ‘Add Video’. A finder window will open up where you can navigate to any mp4 video file you have on your computer.

And that’s it! You should now have a fun video playing in the background!

If you’d like to use our enchanted forest video background you can download it right below by hitting the download button. Then right click on the video, hit ‘Save Video As’ and choose where you would like to save the video onto your computer.

Download

How to Use AR Effects

If you’d like to get a little fancier, you can use Snap Camera to add a wide variety of AR effects to some of the most popular video call apps including Google Hangouts, Skype, Twitch and more! Unfortunately Snap Camera doesn’t currently work on Zoom with the latest macOS (though they are working to fix this!) but if you are on a Windows computer you can follow the instructions below for Zoom as well.

 

First, Install Snap Camera

You can download Snap Camera to your computer here. Once it downloads, double click and follow the instructions to install the application. Snap Camera will automatically open and show a wide range of suggested lenses. Click on any effect to try it out!

 

 

Next, Update your Video Settings in your Video Call App

Once you have Snap Camera setup, open up your video call app of choice and go to the video settings. There you should see a dropdown to select which webcam you would like to use and select ‘Snap Camera’. If you don’t see ‘Snap Camera’ listed you may need to restart both applications or your computer for Snap Camera to appear on the list of options.

Lastly, choose an AR Effect and have fun!

After Snap Camera is selected as the video source, you can pick any AR effect you would like within Snap Camera and it will update in your video call. Try out our enchanted forest effect by searching ‘Enchanted Forest’ or search ‘Bare Tree Media’ to see all of our Snapchat effects!

Interested in having your own custom AR effect or video background created?

Reach out to our team!

Bare Tree Media is a full-service creative studio with a dash of technology and a whole lot of fun! Our mission is to help your brand stand out visually and engage your audience through creative and interactive content. Although we specialize in the creation and digital publishing of branded emojis, messaging stickers, GIFs and augmented reality, our talented artists and animators can create just about anything for your marketing needs.

Drop us a line

#StickingTogether in the Face of COVID-19

Tough times are upon us. Here at Bare Tree, we are closely monitoring the situation that is developing around the world. We hope everyone is staying healthy, safe and socially distanced. Our team of artists and developers is working remotely continuing to make engaging stickers and augmented reality effects that will hopefully bring some brightness to people’s lives.

As events are cancelled and people are using social distancing to combat COVID-19 continues, many businesses are feeling the strain. Among them are indie artists, many of whom rely on sales at conventions to make their living. Being illustrators, animators and designers ourselves, we want to salve some of the hurt our community is currently experiencing due to cancelled conventions, commissions and projects. Because of this we are opening up our services and expertise to any artists interested in selling their art as stickers for the next 90 days.

Our team will work with the artists to determine what work of theirs would be best as messaging stickers or give tips on best practices for stickers if they choose to create something new. Once the stickers are complete, we will publish them for sale on popular messaging apps like iMessage and Google Play. All ownership of the work will, of course, remain with the artist. The artist will also receive 100% of the proceeds.

We will soon be publishing a separate blog post that will be continuously updated with links to the newly released indie artist stickers, so look out for it and keep checking back. Together, we can support each other and make it through this!

If you are an artist and interested in taking part, please email info@baretreemedia.com with the subject line '#StickingTogether'

Sending hugs from Tod and Sal, a sticker duo created by former BTM Sprout, Amy!


Wimpy Kid, Inc Expands Digital Engagement with Augmented Reality and Sticker Keyboards

Boston, MA – January 24, 2020 – Fellow Massachusetts-based companies Wimpy Kid, Inc. and Bare Tree Media Inc., expanded their digital partnership with the introduction of augmented reality social media effects and a global expansion of their stickers within keyboard mobile applications.

To kick off 2020, Bare Tree Media designed and released three augmented reality effects themed around the latest installment in the popular middle-grade series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 14: Wrecking Ball. The AR effects offer users the ability to insert a swinging virtual wrecking ball into their camera scene and then wreck, record, and share a real world scene of their choice. The AR filters are available to engage Wimpy Kid fans on popular messaging platforms, Facebook and Instagram, and as an AR lens on Snapchat.

Bare Tree Media also expanded their Wimpy Kid-branded digital presence to include digital stickers released within Baidu’s keyboard apps worldwide, including Facemoji Keyboard in the United States, Simeji in Japan, and Baidu IME in China.

‘Augmented reality is a great marketing platform for brands to engage audiences, and a perfect fit for the Wimpy Kid fanbase to create and share their special moments with a wrecking ball,” said Bob Ferrari, CEO of Bare Tree Media. “We are also very excited to expand sticker distribution through Baidu in key markets around the world.” 

“We are delighted to be kicking off 2020 by launching these stickers with Bare Tree Media and Wimpy Kid, Inc.,” said Josh Fenn, Senior Marketing Manager at Baidu. “Now, our keyboard app users around the world can all enjoy Wimpy Kid’s uniquely charming brand of humor when they chat with their friends online.”

“I’ve loved seeing fans around the globe engage with the Wimpy Kid brand using our existing emoji-style stickers. This year, we wanted to expand the Wimpy Kid universe and I’m thrilled to have the brand-new augmented reality and sticker formats on major global platforms. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Greg can go with his fans in 2020!” said Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

About Bare Tree Media

Bare Tree Media enables brands to reach, engage and entertain consumers through the creation and digital publishing of branded emojis, messaging stickers, GIFs and augmented reality. As a pioneer in the digital creative and technology sector, Bare Tree Media has worked with many brands including: 20th Century Fox, ABC Television, American Greetings, Baidu, CBS Interactive, Disney, Duracell, Facebook, Giphy, Instagram, King Features, Life is Good, Lionsgate, Mars-Wrigley, MuscleTech, Paws Inc, P&G, NBC Universal, New England Patriots, Snapchat, Snap-On Tools, SONY Television Pictures, Twitter, Warner Bros, Wimpy Kid, and many more. Brands interested in offering their own mobile messaging apps, stickers and augmented reality can go to www.baretreemedia.com or contact Bare Tree Media at info@baretreemedia.com.

About Baidu’s Global Business Unit

Baidu’s Global Business Unit (GBU) is focused on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western markets with its consumer and business-focused internet products and services. Baidu GBU’s product portfolio features keyboard apps Simeji and Facemoji Keyboard, content recommendation platform popIn, and ad platform MediaGo, which serves Chinese advertisers looking to reach consumers overseas. Baidu GBU offers its products and services worldwide, including in the United States, Greater China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. For more information, please contact us at: gbu_us@baidu.com

About Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The fourteenth installment in the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball, was published on November 5, 2019, and immediately hit #1 on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times bestseller lists.

2019 marked the first publication of a spin-off book, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, which was published in April 2019 and also immediately reached #1 on all three national bestseller lists (New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal). ABRAMS also recently released Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Best Friends Box, a box set containing Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1 and Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, and The Wimpy Kid 2020 Wall Calendar.

The series continues to reach new heights globally. This fall, Kinney visited seven countries on his international tour, including France, where he was made an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of the country’s highest cultural honors. Both Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball and Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid ranked #1 in every country in which they were published, including in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Germany. The series is now published in 64 languages and 76 editions.

More than 200 million copies of the books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series have been sold globally. Published in 2007, the first book was an instant bestseller and has remained on the New York Times bestseller list since its publication and through the release of the fourteenth book, for more than 686 weeks total.

About the Author

Jeff Kinney is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a six-time Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award winner for Favorite Book for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Jeff has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He is also the creator of Poptropica, which was named one of Time’s 50 Best Websites. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives with his wife and two sons in Massachusetts, where they own a bookstore, An Unlikely Story. For more about Wimpy Kid visit wimpykid.com.


Twitter Emoji Campaigns: A Primer

What is a Twitter Emoji Campaign?

Twitter emoji campaigns are a visually smart way to separate your hashtag from other hashtags. As the name may imply, they aren’t permanent additions to a brand’s main hashtag, but rather are centered around a specific campaign that the brand is putting out.

For a price tag of $1M, Twitter will—for 90 days—attach a picture that you provide to a hashtag of your choice (given it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s IP, of course).

On-the-nose advertisers may remember the tremendously successful #shareacoke campaign, one of the earliest campaigns to combine an emoji with a hashtag. The campaign created waves that led to the immediate introduction of other emoji/hashtag combinations.

The hashtag that launched a thousand twitter emojis

 

But how worth it really is it invest in a Twitter emoji campaign? Since the #shareacoke campaign debuted in 2015, the number of hashtag/emoji campaigns has skyrocketed up; what value do these little emojis hold that are making them mass hits?

The benefits are threefold:

Create Campaign Hype

Having a visual next to your hashtag will instantly create an association in people’s mind, and creates hype around the campaign. It separates your hashtag from other hashtags that may be similar, and even after the campaign ends, people will be left with the imprint reminder of your campaign. Additionally, it allows the user to create an emotional bond to the campaign that a text-only hashtag simply would not be able to achieve. The reason emojis are so popular is because people connect to them emotionally. Is your campaign cool? Funky? Nostalgic? Whimsical? The Twitter emoji’s art style paired with your hashtag will help determine this, and will shape how people perceive the campaign overall. Yea, it’s that important.

 

Promotes Interaction Around the Campaign

A hashtag creates a quick avenue for a community to be built around the hashtag, and in turn around your campaign. Once again, the visual element greatly helps people quickly recognize the hashtag, so they’ll be able to click on it and begin to interact with others who are also using that hashtag. This creates a feedback loop where those who are interacting with each other build on the conversation and continue to use the hashtag, keeping it active for others to see in their timelines and become interested in!  

 

It Improves the ‘stopping power’ of your Tweet

Twitter users cumulatively generate millions of tweets a day, so the average user is scrolling quickly down an array of hashtags. Internally, Twitter refers to tweets and hashtags that hold people’s attention and pause them in their action of acrolling ‘stopping power’—essentially, it’s a level of retention that determines how effective a campaign is going to be in a user’s mind.

Twitter found that the stopping power of tweets with emojis increased by 10%, and if  those tweets were promoted, that figured jumped up to 6x their previous impressions.

 

Case Study: Christopher Robin

For the release of their new movie Christopher Robin, Disney asked BTM to help them with their Twitter campaign, and we were more than happy to oblige! Christopher Robin was a movie steeped in nostalgia, so we definitely wanted to play up that angle and create emojis that felt timeless and resonated emotionally with the user. They actually had five hashtags, one for each of the ‘major” characters in the movie as well as one for the movie title:

Lovingly rendered above are #Pooh, #ItsPiglet, #Eeyore, and #Tigger! All for Disney's #ChristopherRobin! 

This was one of our first Twitter emoji campaigns, as well, so we were very excited and curious to see how it would fare. The thought was that users would have an emotional reaction to the characters’ faces and thus use the hashtags because of it.

Once the hashtags were live, we monitored the hashtags to see how they were doing. Sure enough, almost immediately we began seeing tweets that reflected nostalgia beyond what we even expected. Some users were tweeting specifically for seeing the hashtag characters!

So for your brand’s next ad campaign, consider utilizing the power of Twitter emojis! And if you need someone to help you out, hit us up!

 


We Can GIF It

Be A Trendsetter, not a Follower

Keeping up with the trends in today's society is the priority for brands who adhere to the schema of remaining relevant. They need to understand what conversations their consumers are having, what’s important to them, and prove that they are also a part of this conversation.

What if I told you that’s the wrong approach to take?

Brands need to start the trend, not catch up to it. Trying to appeal to an audience using memes won't win you any brownie points with consumers—it’s too transparent for the hyper-jaded consumer of today and rings so hollow it may actually push your audience away. They are too aware of the 'corporate' image, and view the attempt like an adult trying, embarrassingly, to relate to youth using what they perceive as 'the new culture' but in inexperienced, and incorrect, ways.

For brands who want to proactively expand their audience, the solution is a little different: to insert themselves into their consumer’s popular culture and become the medium through which the conversation is had in the first place. And in 2018, the form of discourse is memes, and specifically memes through GIFs.

There is one clear champion of GIFs: you might have heard of them, but in case you haven’t it’s a huge meme depository called GIPHY. It’s a free, online platform that lets users upload their GIF content and access this content through a whole host of platforms including: Facebook Messenger, Instagram,  (and most recently, Instagram DMs), Snapchat, Twitter, Viber, Slack, Discord, Outlook, and seriously, there’s MORE.

What does this mean? It means that putting your content on GIPHY makes your content as ubiquitous as GIFs have become across the internet. Given that, it’s amazing that it’s remained fairly underutilized by brands has a whole.

The Way Forward

Maintaining a GIPHY channel is great for brands who have high or low recognition alike. After creating the GIF content, they just need to be uploaded and  tagged appropriately. From there, the tags will do all the work and users will find and spread the GIFs (literally) everywhere. It’s free marketing, but more than that, it’s the creation of a culture around the brand.

If brands are worried about maintaining the channel themselves, or are unsure about how to go about optimizing search results, fear not! There are companies who will help you create and manage your GIPHY channel (like us!) Although it will come at a price, the recognition that stands to be gained and the opportunity to insert your brand into the cultural lexicon is worth the hassle.

In fact, in this sense GIPHY can be even more advantageous to brands who aren’t well known. What better way to build your brand than by letting it expand organically through conversations that consumers are having? You can tailor the image you want by the content you upload and then wait to see how your consumers use the content you’ve created.

So while other brands struggle to remain a part of the conversation, those brands on the social beat will recognize the importance of being a part of the language spoken.


AR in Advertising: The New Era of Interaction

Connection to audience has always been fundamental in the creation of a brand message. The link between brands and their audience is what creates brand loyalty—people buy things that align with their personal values and that they feel an emotional attachment to. That’s what keeps them coming back. However, what that connection looks like has begun to shift. Augmented Reality (AR) is changing the way brands can interact with their fanbases in an unprecedented way, and many brand juggernauts have already embraced paving the way for the new era of interaction.

Amazon

Amazon is known for taking risks and trying almost anything in order to get results, but their foray into AR is a decidedly calculated risk. They recently acquired Body Labs, a company that uses cameras to scan their users and report weight, size, and height. The implications of this save Amazon a lot of headache: consumers will not worry about their clothes fitting if bought online (the largest detractor by far for why people don’t shop online), and Amazon won’t have to issue as many refunds or track as many returns. From a business perspective, they’re addressing and eliminating reasons that consumers don’t buy their products and creating a better experience for when they do buy it, since the clothes will fit versus a disappointing or even frustrating return. This positive experience becomes associated with Amazon and drives the consumer to go back.

Entertainment Industry

Snapchat needs no introduction: they are one of the leaders for AR filters, lenses and games. This technology is still evolving, and so is the community centered around creating for it. They have, on average, 70 million users using AR lenses for 3 minutes per day. This is the perfect platform for brands in the entertainment industry (TV shows, movies, and personalities) to promote themselves and their brand. However, recently Snapchat has been moving into a new arena—ecommerce for ANY brand, thanks to a new feature called now Shoppable AR. Shoppable AR allows companies to actually advertise through Snapchat by redirecting users to a website from a lens. This could be a product page for merchandise, a trailer for a movie—any link on the internet is fair game. Forerunners of taking advantage of this include King, who promoted their famous game Candy Crush through an install button right in their filter, STX Entertainment, who had a trailer for their upcoming movie “I Feel Pretty”, and Blizzard Entertainment, who utilized a filter to promote their new expansion pack, Battle for Azeroth.

Exponential Growth

AR isn’t just entering the ecommerce industry, it’s redefining it. It’s providing its consumers the ability to directly interact with their brand, to become a part of it. That kind of inclusivity encourages attachment, which encourages brand loyalty. The brands that have found the greatest success don’t just appeal to their consumers, they engage with them and become a part of them, like a member of their family. They make their consumers feel good; AR provides an unprecedented engagement level on that front.

The data speaks for itself: AR has exploded in growth over the last year, and it’s not looking like it’s going to stop anytime soon. Augmented Reality companies have grown 50% since the beginning of 2018 across 290 prominent companies, according to The Venture Reality Fund. AR and VR companies have raised over $1.8 billion in funding and are only continuing to expand. And although AR started out small, like the Facebook and Snapchat lenses we’re all familiar with, it’s beginning to branch out at a rapid pace, continuing to be developed and supported by goliaths and forerunners who see and fully comprehend its value, and who know making an investment now will yield profits later.

AR is still an understated marketing tool for now, but that will change sooner rather than later. Instead of being behind on the trend, brands should take full advantage of what AR can offer and showcase their product in a way that gets consumers excited about it—and thus, drives sales up, up, up.


Pushing your Headlines into the Spotlight

The Challenge

It’s every brand’s dream to stand out amongst the crowd, and every marketer’s goal to help their brand achieve that dream.

In today’s world of exponential technological breakthroughs, marketing strategy has by necessity been evolving to complement—the Internet is the newest frontier for marketers looking to expand their brand. However, changes in marketing aren’t always revolutionary; sometimes, even little changes have a large impact on a brand’s identity and tone, and thus, the relationship with their consumers.

Pop-up and targeted ads, a long stalwart of advertising and marketing, have become taboo so companies are now looking to the next best strategy. People don’t want to be sold things anymore; in the new, transparent age, they’re looking for genuine connection.

The Solution

What does it take to connect to an audience? The answer may be simpler than you think:

Emojis!!! 😁😂❤️🌮🔥👍🤠

Emojis are ubiquitous in today’s world; which means there’s one for any demographic you’re looking for. They come in different skin tones, in a huge amount of objects, places, and even in travel symbols and signs. They add personality to otherwise-bland text and catch the attention of the community your brand is trying to appeal to because they’re connecting to the image on some emotional level.

 

Which one of these catches your attention the most?

Emojis are also the perfect way to show HOW you are saying something; emojis can be used ironically and sarcastically, which in itself helps frame the brand’s relationship with their consumers: are they cool and edgy? Professional? Fun? There’s an emoji for that! There is no genre barrier: apps like CNNMoney have fully adopted emojis, with over 50% of their push notifications including at least one. In general, companies who’ve been early on the trend and incorporated emojis into their notification headlines have already received tangible, data-driven results. According to a study conducted by the entertainment platform LeanPlum, consumers open push notifications with emojis 264% more often than those without. Email subject lines that include emojis are opened 66% more, and applications that incorporate emojis receive a 26% lower uninstall rate.

Which one of these jumps out at you?

In short, emojis drive engagement. There is no aspect of a company’s goals that can’t be improved by adding a little emotion to help their consumers connect to them on an emotional level; whether the goal is to get hits on a webpage or sell a product, emojis can unify and enlarge your audience and their retention of your content.

The Takeaway

Emojis aren’t going anywhere; Twitter emoji campaigns, which allow brands to publish an image in tandem with their hashtag, have caught fire and are only picking up traction. Platforms like Slack allow users to upload their own, specific emojis so people can message in-jokes to each other. Emoji use and variance is evolving, and the farsighted brand will take measures to ensure that in a world where brands emote, they aren’t seen as ❄️☠️💤.


BTM Miraculous Ladybug Stickers

Give 'em the Ol' Razzle Dazzle: Digital Painting Applications in Messaging Stickers

Obi here!

As a digital illustrator at BTM my job requires me to cover everything from illustrating and creating images from scratch, to working on and building off of already existing assets.

Because of this, I have to be able to work in a variety of different styles, especially when it comes to working with already existing assets. An instance of this is BTM’s messaging stickers for Zagtoon’s Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir.

To start this project BTM was supplied with a variety of assets, which included a mix of expertly rendered illustrations of Ladybug and Chat Noir, the two main characters from the show, and images of the 3D models used in the show. While the 3D models were fine, they were also distinctly different from the finished illustrations. When building a sticker pack keeping a consistent art style across the board is key. As the digital illustrator on the project it is my job to give em’ the ol’ razzle dazzle.

Miraculous Ladybug
Final Art vs. 3D Render

The first step in this process is addressing why some of the art looks different than others. The main difference is the hair, eyes, lighting and the places where the limbs got cut out of frame.

Notes Identifying Changes Needed.

Next comes roughing out the general form over the 3d model, this includes adding parts that got cutout of frame and taking away the hard edges of the hair, so that it can be painted back to look less like a hard plastic model and more like actual hair.

After the general form has been established the forms and textures get refined and detailed. This stage includes painting her hair, eyes, touching up various parts of her face and further refining the areas of her figure were extended.

With some of the details, such as the mesh texturing on Ladybug’s body suit, it was faster to extract the pattern from other areas of her suit, build the flat texture in another document, and map it to the areas that required it.

With the form and details rendered, it’s time for lighting. With various blend modes and opacity layers I simulated more dynamic, colored lighting, which further pushed the contrast and helped to match the style of illustration used in the finished assets BTM received.

To finish the edits, a final rendering of any small details and a layer of low level noise to unify the piece are applied.

BTM Miraculous Ladybug Stickers
Final Sticker Art

Voila! C’est Ladybug!