I remember years ago someone telling me, "you should create a bee mascot, it would be so cute!" I immediately shrugged it off and thought there is no way I was going to spend my time on that. We don't need a mascot.
In the years since then, I have had numerous people come to me with ideas on creating a mascot for HIVE Digital Strategy. I again shrugged them off. That is until we worked on one of our favorite HubSpot CMS website projects to date — Smarter Sorting.
Smarter Sorting, at its core, is a data company. They analyze the chemical make up of products to help retailers and manufacturers manage their products better, get them on shelves, and dispose of them responsibly.
Needless to say, it's not a "sexy" company. It's not even a "fun" company — at least on the surface.
While what they do is revolutionary and important to our economy and ecosystem, it's just not the most exciting company or industry in the world. That is why they decided they needed to make their brand more engaging. In doing so, they introduced their new mascot, Sorty.
Sorty takes what Smarter Sorting does and makes it fun. He adds some flair to their company and makes it far more approachable.
As we were introduced to Sorty, our team immediately started day dreaming about all the ways we could use Sorty throughout their website. We saw him in rocket ships, driving trucks, carrying packages, and so much more.
Throughout the Smarter Sorting website development project, we got to do just that. We brought Sorty to life and introduced him to the world through smartersorting.com. And because of that and the immense love that Sorty has received since launching into the world, JC at Smarter Sorting was the next in the long line of people to tell me that we needed a bee mascot.
This time I listened. After seeing how well Sorty turned out, his three dimensional design, and how much fun we had with the Smarter Sorting site, I decided (FINALLY) that it was time to birth our own mascot and so Buzzy was born.
Buzzy started from this design and just happened to be used on an internal presentation that our Web Developer Erin put together. She wasn't attempting to create a mascot, just to have some fun with our branding and add some flair to her presentation. Nevertheless, she had unknowingly created the very beginning to what Buzzy would eventually become.
This very early version of Buzzy was not our design. He was a stock Buzzy. It was time to put our spin on him.
Our First Take
Now it was time for our team to put together our first version of our very own Buzzy. We started in 2D with the plan to move Buzzy into a 3D (almost toy-like) version once the 2D version was finalized.
We knew there were a few things that we wanted Buzzy to portray:
He needed to look a little nerdy
Let's face it, all of us at HIVE are a little nerdy. We get excited about nerdy things like code, strategy, and data. If Buzzy was really going to portray our team, he had to nerd out a bit. This made the glasses mandatory. What's nerdier than some big specs?
He had to be approachable
If we were going to utilize Buzzy in our own marketing material, throughout our site, and even on swag materials, he had to be approachable and friendly. We didn't want any versions of Buzzy where he was sad, mad, or upset in any way. What we do at HIVE is not life or death. What we're doing is happy, exciting, and fun. So you'll only ever see Buzzy with a big goofy smile.
He had to have great shoes
So it's possible that I have a shoe problem. I collect sneakers (probably have around 70 pairs). We had to give Buzzy some personality and what better way to do that than with some great kicks? Loosely modeled off of the Jordan 1, we set out to give Buzzy some great, defining shoes.
Getting Three Dimensional
Once we were happy with Buzzy's general look, we decided it was time to take him to the next level and make him 3D. This took him from from his basic mockup format into what he is today. Through this process Buzzy really started to take shape. We manipulated him in a ton of different ways to make him effective and fun for any situation.
Because no one needs to see a naked bee, right? 🤔
We didn't want Buzzy to be some generic bee. He needed to stand out and that lead us to giving him some shorts and sleeves to go with his sweet kicks. He had some chicken legs going on and we HAD to cover those up. Needless to say — Buzzy does in fact skip leg day.
Obviously to increase the cool-factor. 😎
Again, we needed to give Buzzy some style. We added hexagon accents to his shorts and his shoes in order to pull it all together. Plus the orientation of the hexagon is a nod to the HIVE Digital Strategy logo.
Maybe the most fun part of building Buzzy was giving him tons of accessories. We gave that little bee everything — an office, backpack, megaphone, confetti, and basically anything else we could possibly think of.
Once we had a finalized 3D version of Buzzy, it was time to pose him. We were able to manipulate his arms, hands, eyes, glasses, legs, wings, and perspective to create the perfect poses for different uses. This allowed us to have him holding items, giving a thumbs up, wink, fly right or left, look up, point, face forward, left, right, and back, and so much more.
Needless to say, creating Buzzy has become one of the most fun digital marketing projects that we have ever worked on and we're excited to have him join our team. Have you spotted him around our website? He tends to pop up pretty frequently!
Our team is in the process of developing Buzzy's backstory and we can't wait to share his story with you! Be on the lookout for Buzzy's bio coming soon!
Looking to find a way to brand your business, give your organization some personality, or attract a new target audience? Let's chat! Maybe a mascot is in your future too!