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Telling Our Founder’s Story in Animation

IdeaRocket founder and CEO, Will Gadea, is not the kind of person who claims the spotlight. He tends to let his animation and his team do the talking. Yet, recently, Gadea released a video featuring himself as an animated character. It tracked the life path that brought him from the suburbs of Lima, Peru, to leadership of a multinational animation studio. The founder’s story video is part of an ongoing quest to humanize the brand and showcase what sets IdeaRocket apart.

Humanizing the brand

“A company is not just a faceless brand,” Gadea says. “It is people.” People like Jim White, Director of Business Development for IdeaRocket, who first pitched the idea of a founder’s story during a marketing meeting. 

This video tells the story of Gadea’s life through the founding of IdeaRocket and beyond. It all starts in the seaside neighborhood of Miraflores, in Lima, Peru.

“I would like to keep on bringing out the characters behind our brand,” Gadea says. “I would love to do some videos about the people here at IdeaRocket – how we work together, what our values are. That’s a very potent form of brand-building because people want to know who they’re doing business with.”

Rebranding and differentiating

The founder’s story animation is part of a wider IdeaRocket rebrand. Gadea says it just seemed like the right time to finally tell this story. 

“It’s funny, after having been in business for nine years, I think we’re finally figuring out what makes us different,” Gadea says.  “When you’re doing marketing, everybody tells you to pick out your differentiators. So you think really hard and you have meetings. You think you have some good ideas. Then you go online and discover they’re the same ones all the other companies are using! I finally feel like we’re coming upon some differentiators that are actually different.”

The founder’s story video showcases the fact that IdeaRocket is the only US-based animation company with a production facility in Buenos Aires. It is also employee-owned. Plus, IdeaRocket’s team is just really good at explaining complex messages and making them easy to understand. 

“In terms of this rebranding process, it’s not just new visuals,” Gadea says. “It’s a new way of expressing who we are that I think is true to us and unique.”

Screenshot of a rocket in a blue landscape from the IdeaRocket Founder's Story

Finding the Right Style

Choosing a style and tone for the story was a group effort. “It had to be something that was sufficiently lifelike,” Gadea says. “It couldn’t be too cartoony. But at the same time, if there isn’t a little bit of stylization, it starts looking a little bit weird, like a documentary.”

They aimed for the perfect balance between cartoony and realistic proportions with a color pallet selected to showcase characters. To guide character design, Gadea provided the creative team with photos of himself at different ages.

“Our designer, Jorge Cuellar Rendon, is extremely talented,” Gadea says. “I think he got me, he got my dad really right, and the staff. He was definitely the right person for the job.” 

Screenshot of a young Will Gadea at dinner with his father from our Founder's Story video

Those carefully designed characters played their parts against monochromatic backgrounds, which provided a sense of place without overshadowing the characters. The colors were carefully chosen for their psychological connotations. Settings were based on real life experiences or iconic images from the places mentioned in the script. The film brough Gadea back to his roots in more ways than one. “My roots are in filmic storytelling and the whole grammar of telling the story visually. And, I miss that. I would love to have more opportunities to make these kinds of videos, because they’re really fun.”

A Compelling Storyline

Gadea’s unconventional path to business ownership makes for compelling storytelling. Even though you know, or maybe think you know, what the end of the story will be, you still find yourself engrossed. 

“One of the reasons the story resonated with me,” Gadea says. “And I think one of the reasons that it resonates for other people, is that sometimes life does feel haphazard, random and meandering. You hope that it’s for a purpose, that life can steer you toward a position where you can be of service.”

Gadea believes that’s what has happened to him. “I’ve been blessed to have had all these wild experiences that actually have been a really good preparation for doing what I’m doing. I think that’s what many people wish for themselves.” 

Stepping Into The Spotlight

Screenshot of two actors on a stage with Will Gadea in the front row

Gadea is proud of the video his team created, but he still finds himself making disclaimers before sharing it. “People that know me know that I don’t usually take up a lot of  space in a room. I’m sort of a quiet guy,” Gadea says. 

Although sharing a video like this is outside his comfort zone, he’s been delighted with the response. “I’m pretty happy and at peace with the choice to tell my founder’s story. I think I’ve gotten over judging myself for making that choice.”

He encourages other business owners to overcome their own squeamishness about stepping into the spotlight. “Customers do want to hear your story. Investors want to hear your story. Your employees want to hear your story,” Gadea says. “I think it’s something that humanizes a company.”

For help turning your founder’s story into a compelling animation, contact the experts at IdeaRocket. 

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