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.


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 ❄️☠️💤.


marketing stickers and gifs

Six Reasons Stickers & GIFs are Effective for Marketing

Marketing is constantly evolving around the consumer, and during the Age of Technology it’s evolving at a more rapid pace ever; it can be difficult for marketers to know whether or not they’re on the uptake or being left behind. Perhaps the most underrated game-changing tool for marketers are animated stickers and GIFs. Although many still use video, this format is frankly out of date for the modern internet user. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, a whopping 71% of Americans would rather send a digital sticker over a block of text. With such a large user base, it’s no surprise more and more companies have been seizing the opportunity to make branded stickers and GIFs to seamlessly integrate their brand into their consumer’s daily life. We partner with these companies to make their brand come alive within mobile conversations. However, not all companies are aware of the wide gamut of opportunities afforded to them across platforms or the sheer flexibility stickers and GIFs inherently have.

1. Custom Twitter Emojis that create trending hashtags:

Companies can pay Twitter to attach a custom emoji to a Twitter hashtag for a period of time. Then, whenever someone uses their hashtag the emoji automatically comes with it! The brand’s hashtag instantly stands out with its unique emoji and helps create a community around the product.

Recently, we collaborated with Disney on a campaign for Christopher Robin and other upcoming titles, including creating a range of twitter emojis to promote the film and make the hashtags appealing, relevant, and most importantly create the cute Pooh-bear association to the Christopher Robin movie in people’s minds. We managed the storyboarding, sketching, and illustration for these emojis.

2. Clickable Branded Stickers:

A branded sticker campaign’s main objective is to organically increase brand awareness and engagement. To that end, stickers are a revolutionary tool because it enables marketers to have their brand present in their customers everyday conversations across mobile. In other words, their brand becomes a permanent part of their customer’s life.

A good example of this is Lovate Health’s MuscleTech stickers, promoting their MuscleTech brand of products. These stickers are centered around and cater directly to the consumer base that uses MuscleTech products; as a result, they end up using them a lot because the sentiments and in-jokes are relevant to them. This entrenches MuscleTech further into the community in a feedback loop that keeps both the company and the consumer happy, and helps new initiates to the community naturally find their product in a sea of competitors.

Lovate Health has taken it even further by making their stickers clickable. These stickers, when sent, allow the receiver or sender to click the sticker and be redirected to a website, the app, or the app store. This is brilliant because users are able to interact with the images being received and has quick access to the company’s brand. They also allow people to send links to products they enjoy in a fun way!

3. Sticker Markets on Messengers:

Stickers and messengers go hand-in-hand, creating a demand for sticker marketplaces, which offer a wide variety of branded emojis and keyboard and almost functions as an advertising playground.

In 2016, around 50% of all mobile users used at least one form of mobile messenger, according to Stastia. The fact that since then, messenger apps continue to add free features like video calls, encryption and social media means that usage has only been increasing. Sticker marketplaces have also grown in kind, and many of mobile messengers have created their own sticker markets that draw users to their specific platform.  

Apple and Facebook are leaders in this industry with their respective iMessage and Messenger platforms; in total, over 1 billion stickers sent on them. We’ve  has observed the intense popularity of stickers it created for the mobile game Plants Vs. Zombies, which had 1 million downloads 4 days, and 2.5 million downloads in a week with over 100 million impressions.

4. Everyone is a Brand Ambassador:

This was touched upon briefly in point number two, but one of a branded sticker’s major selling points is the seamless integration into a consumer’s life: in other words, converting that customer into a brand ambassador.

This is one of the most effective ways of creating brand ambassadors because people are sending these stickers to their friends organically; they love the content and they are spreading the brand to all of their friends in a win-win scenario. Furthermore, people who are friends tend to be in similar target markets, which means having stickers so your customers can share your brand with their friends is the ideal way to spread your brand.

5. They Can Reach New Audiences

Stickers are an important bridge that connects companies to a younger audience in a charmingly appealing way. In an age where this younger audience has been collectively groomed to ignore the millions of ads they see every day, stickers appeal as authentic and fun, leading more of this audience to be attracted to and spread your brand (in the form of stickers). Sometimes you even get people who were previously unaware of your brand but will buy sticker packs because of artistic appeal or funny witticisms, which could convert them into customers. If not, they’ll at the very least be creating more brand awareness for your brand.

6. They Have Potential for Going Viral

Some of these sticker apps/packs go viral and have millions of downloads. Although not a guarantee, the possibility is always there and because stickers are created to be spread on the internet, where the phenomenon of “going viral” first appeared and retains the farthest reach, it is a direct line to the culture that facilities going viral.

Overall, the existence of stickers as a marketing tool has opened a completely new avenue for brands and consumers to communicate through. Instead of having their message get “lost in textlation”, customers can augment their thoughts with your brand, without losing what they want to say.

Most importantly, they can do it in a way that feels fun and cool and makes them feel good, which will push them to keep doing it. People can show who they are by sending stickers of TV shows, music, or quotes they like from pop culture that curate their personality by showcasing the communities they’re a part of and appealing to others like them. In layman’s terms, stickers/GIFs are great for showing some personality!


Christopher Robin Sticker Sketch

Behind the scenes of the Christopher Robin Film's iMessage Stickers

Once upon a time in the hundred acre wood, the classic characters we all know and love needed a new look for their very own set of iMessage stickers. In anticipation of the new Christopher Robin movie, Disney approached us to create of set of stickers in line with the stuffed animal character designs of the movie.

We drew inspiration from children’s books and developed a style that resembled cut paper with distinct texture shading. We then illustrated all nine characters that were going to be in the sticker pack: Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo. This tested the style’s flexibility in rendering human characters, stuffed animals, and realistic computer generated animals.

Christopher Robin Colored Style Pitch Sticker
Style samples for different characters

Sketch Phase:

Once style direction was determined, the next step was sketching out all the stickers.

Christopher Robin Sticker Sketch
Christopher Robin Rabbit Sticker Sketch
Stickers that were going to be animated got annotations for animation direction

Color & Texture Phase:

Upon sketch approval, all stickers were colored and textured.

Christopher Robin Colored Sticker
Obi Little working on Christopher Robin Sticker

Animation Phase:

The art was then sent over to our animation team. Many were animated in After Effects but a few required special attention. Those got frame by frame treatment. Rough animation was completed to get direction approval before final rendering.

Christopher Robin Tigger Animated Process GIF
Tigger Sticker Process: (1) Simple shapes (2) Rough Animation (3) Color (4) Texture & Details

It was pleasure to work with the team at Disney and an honor to work on characters we all adore. The team looks forward to seeing the movie this Friday, August 3rd!

Check out the full sticker pack and download for your iPhone!


snapchat bitmoji gallery

Personalized Emojis are Taking Messaging by Storm

Recently, custom emojis have been sprouting up on all major messaging platforms like Apple, Google, Samsung, and Snapchat. These were started by Bitmoji, a company that allowed users to create their own personal emoji. Once Snapchat acquired Bitmoji, the race was on for all major messengers to create their own. These personal emojis are used by a wide range of age groups and are some of the most popular stickers.

Bitmoji

Bitmojis were the first personalized emojis to take messaging by storm. They were designed to fill the gap between selfies and text messages by sending a personal sticker that could express emotion. This idea took off and was acquired by Snapchat to become the avatars for all Snapchat users. Bitmojis were a massive success and are now on most major messengers as well as Snapchat. These custom stickers led to most major messengers adopting their own personalized emojis.

Bitmoji example Image
Image Source: Snapchat

Apple Memojis

Apple is currently testing their new personalized emojis that are expected to be released with iOS12 called Memojis. Previously Apple launched Animojis, which were animated stickers of the user’s facial motions illustrated by various animals. Memojis, are an extension on these animated stickers, by allowing users to use their animated character. This movement is then translated to your Memoji on your screen, creating your own personal animated sticker. The Memoji’s are completely customizable to make your own unique animated messages.

Memoji Example Image
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Samsung AR Emojis

Samsung Augmented Reality (AR) Emojis allow a user to create their own personalized emoji. These emojis are able to be customized with different effects that make the sticker look more cartoonish or more lifelike. Samsung also gives you the option to change the clothes of your custom sticker.

Recently, Samsung updated their AR Emojis with the addition of 18 more set stickers to add onto your emoji, making the total 36. Right after the release of these extra stickers, Samsung also announced they will be launching 18 more additional stickers soon. These personalized stickers are only available the Galaxy S9 and S9+.

However, creating custom stickers is not the only thing that AR Emoji allows a user to do. It also has a feature that brands can utilize, like Disney who released some of their classic characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck onto the platform. Then Disney followed up with a release of the Incredibles characters to promote the newly released sequel to the film.

Image Source: Samsung AR Emojis

Google Minis

Google recently announced that they are launching a keyboard add-on called Minis that allows users to send customized stickers of themselves. The user will take a picture of themselves and a digital sticker of them will be created. Google is taking a unique approach to their customizable stickers. Unlike Snapchat and Samsung, Google Minis will have packs to purchase containing different gear and backgrounds for your personal sticker. Currently, these custom stickers are only available in the Beta keyboard, however, we should expect to see them soon.

Image Source: Google