Toucan Sam, The Trix Rabbit, Smokey The Bear; you’d never mix these folks up in a lineup. Many brands have chosen to use an animated character to voice their brand. But every brand is different, so, in order to work, a brand’s character must be uniquely tailored for their style, voice and audience.
It takes a very unique brand and message to both require a unique character and also to pull it off with power and integrity.
We’ve shared our journey with NutriVet and the discovery and design of Dr. Wellington, the wise canine doctor that stars in their new promotional videos. Let’s explore the character development process for another happy SolidLine Client, Smart Payment Plan.
Similar to NutriVet, Smart Payment Plan knew that they wanted a character, but they didn’t know all the nitty gritty specifics. They did, however, know that they wanted their character to represent their audience. For them, the ideal character-type was someone who uses their service and someone they are familiar with; the busy working mom.
Say no more, Petrik was off and running, trying to design the perfect mom for Smart Payment Plan.
“First thing I do is work out the type of character that best fits the style of video they are looking for, but also the kind that I, as a consumer, would find appealing and I, as an artist, would enjoy building and animating.” says Petrik. The process became a conversation; Petrik would send the client a design, they would send back suggestions and comments, Petrik would take their input and redesign or rearrange, and the whole bit began again. However, Petrik noticed that the back and forth was happening too many times, “which led me to believe I was missing the target, at least for what the client was looking for in character design.”
Eager to save the client time and get the character just right, Petrik asked the team at Smart Payment Plan if they wanted to get their hands dirty, creatively speaking. “I asked if they could find a design online somewhere of a style they liked, and to send that over,” says Petrik, “and with that, I knew exactly what they were looking for.” That saved a lot of time and got everyone on the same page.
SolidLine Media takes pride in providing their clients with a 100% original character design, but communicating style and design can be tricky. And, the important thing, is that the client is involved in growing the character they want.”This time I was close, but the help of examples of what they liked enabled me to nail down the Mom character design pretty quickly and move on to rigging and animation.” After that, Petrik designed the mom’s two children, a boy and a girl, in the same style.
Once again, Petrik nailed it. “The only small change was a color of the eyes, and we were ready to roll,” he said. And so, Smart Payment Plan’s “Mom” was animated and on her way.
Developing a character for your brand or campaign is a very focused process, but ultimately, the rewards are endless. You now have another way to personalize your brand; another face to humanize your message and connect to consumers. Unique characters are more than talking heads; they are powerful, engaging forces for your brand’s message. And, it’s good to know that the SolidLine Media team is always up for the challenge. In fact, they relish it.
Check out the final product: