Accounting Seed recently unveiled their brand new mascot, Buddy. But, how did Buddy sprout into being? Well, it was definitely a process. Let’s take a look at Buddy’s origin story.
It was just one year ago – Sept. 2019 – at the Accountex USA accounting technology conference in Boston, Massachusetts, that the idea of Buddy the Accounting Seed mascot germinated! As a native Salesforce solution, Accounting Seed is no stranger to Trailhead mascots like Appy, Astro, Einstein, Codey, and Cloudy. Each character has a specific job and purpose and they always attract the paparazzi at events like Dreamforce.
While at Accountex, Accounting Seed founder and CEO Tony Zorc noticed that other vendors had mascots walking around the trade show floor, getting a lot of attention, even from employees of competing solutions. He thought: What if Accounting Seed had a mascot to travel to shows? And the timing was perfect because Sprout, Accounting Seed’s first user conference, was planned for April 2020. The mascot could debut at the conference!
We brainstormed non-stop about having a character that represented the company. The initial ideas were that the mascot should match the theme of nature and the “Seed” company name. Buddy was floating around as the mascot’s name, and the look could be a flower that’s budding… like that of a young not-to-be-named-here tree superhero character.
Once back at Accounting Seed headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, we started doing more in-depth research. Then, we contacted mascot designers and challenged the marketing team to plan out a strategy. What kind of mascot? Would it be a custom design? Something living? An animal? A person? An imaginary creature? An object? Would it be huggably cute or superhero cool? There were so many questions we had to ask ourselves.
How could we leverage the mascot in our marketing outreach? Aside from events, the real-life mascot – “Your Back Office Buddy” – could appear in videos and teach customers how to use Accounting Seed and the basics of accounting. Secondly, we could use the animated Buddy for trade show giveaways, on our website, and in our marketing collateral and customer support as an assistant with helpful hints.
Most importantly, who would actually be the mascot? That’s almost as significant as the mascot design. If you don’t have a person who can transform the suit into a distinct persona, your mascot won’t be a success. Fortunately, we had an experienced mascot performer on staff. Our digital marketing manager, Heith Hart. Previously, at UMBC, Heith frequently donned the Chesapeake Bay Retriever “True Grit” costume for various campus events.
Once the strategy was approved, we decided to focus on a cute and friendly flower design. After talking with a handful of mascot designers, we selected Promo Bears USA. Promo Bears took all of our mascot ideas and Accounting Seed brand requirements (colors, fonts, imagery) and started coming up with potential Buddy designs.
After coming up with our preferred look, we thought about who will be wearing the costume. We learned that knowing the height and weight of our mascot performer is key to its design. Naturally, Buddy is a plump flower. But, the costume is mostly padding. In conclusion, we decided the ideal Buddy performer is a slim 5’8”.
Finally, we developed an amazing mascot design! But, how were we going to get people to realize that Buddy was the Accounting Seed mascot and not just a random mascot? So, we decided to have Buddy wear a logo t-shirt with a name tag to help with the branding. Also, we could make additional custom t-shirts for different events.
Buddy arrived at Accounting Seed in early March 2020. Unfortunately, it was around the same time COVID-19 started sending workers home. Thankfully, we were able to have an internal debut of Buddy at our last in-person company meeting on March 6, 2020. (See above photo)
COVID-19 derailed our launch plan for Buddy and our Sprout conference. Currently, Sprout is postponed until spring 2022. Poor Buddy was left standing in the corner of our empty office for many months on the display stand. The good news? Buddy is an obvious photo opp and people who stop by the office regularly snap a pic with him.
Releasing the Buddy Origin Story
Having a shiny new mascot with nowhere to go was definitely a huge disappointment for us. Initially, we thought launching him with a digital marketing campaign during COVID was not ideal. But, since the pandemic wasn’t letting up, we decided to have a skeleton crew head into the office and film a Buddy Origin Story video. The video would announce Buddy as a founder of Accounting Seed with a flashback to 2008 when Buddy graduated from Sprout College and met investor Tony Zorc. The video was published in July 2020 and introduced a new accounting training video series. Here, Buddy teaches basic accounting principles and introduces “The Accounting Game with Buddy!” Look for the video later this month!
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