Bien, a new motion design studio, recently launched in Raleigh, N.C.
We interviewed Ricardo Roberts, who launched the company with Hung Le in 2017.
Tell us about Bien.
Bien is a motion design studio that exists to connect brands with diverse, global audiences.
We just started up in September so we’re a brand new baby, in a sense! We focus on motion design and work with agencies, brands and international non-profits or governmental agencies focused on social good. We also work with production companies that don’t have motion design capabilities. Our approach is “total market” versus “multicultural”.
Since the U.S. demographic is changing rapidly, we think modern brands that want to grow and increase market share need to create campaigns that speak to the total market first, versus creating separate content for African American, Asian and Latino consumers. I wrote an article on our approach called Marketing to the New America.
What inspired you to start the motion design studio?
I studied motion design at Full Sail many years ago and was a motion designer for more than eight years. I enjoy design and had a strong need to get back to my roots and focus on a singular form of production in hopes that we could eventually be a world class contender and do some amazing work we can be proud of.
We also feel like motion design is a great tool for talking to global audiences, since you can create versions of projects so efficiently. For example, you can create a U.S. version and change the story, art direction, voice over and music and adapt it to other regions in the world. This creates more engagement and is really effective for reaching global audiences.
So the inspiration was part passion and part practical, from a business perspective.
What’s one specific project that you love to talk about?
Our work with MasterCard is a great example of our versioning process and attention to engaging global audiences.
We also love a recent project we did with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) because we’re passionate about their mission to end poverty in rural populations through agriculture.
What kind of work / clients excite you the most?
We want to work with international brands in the finance space or the international non-profit space.
Also, we want to help big brands connect with multicultural audiences.
Are you looking for talent?
We’re looking to stay lean and scalable, so we want to hire folks on a freelance basis for the time being. Specifically, if you’re an amazing motion designer, illustrator, sound designer, copy writer or creative director, give us a shout.
Do you work with independent filmmakers?
Not at the moment.
If there’s one thing you wish clients knew about working with you, what would that be?
We provide a fresh take and a unique perspective due to our immigrant backgrounds.
Since we were both born abroad but were raised in the US, we look at the world and approach briefs differently. Our creative director, Hung Le, is a Vietnamese refugee. He had a very difficult childhood until he moved to Houston with his family. That experience really shaped his perspective and inspired him to make the most of every opportunity.
About Ricardo Roberts
Ricardo was born in Quito, Ecuador. At the time, his American father was a Peace Corps volunteer, and his Ecuadorian mother was the director of an orphanage. In the early 80’s the young family eventually made their way to Raleigh, N.C., where they suddenly had to adapt to a new culture and new language. That move was the start of a fascination with culture and the role media plays in shaping it.
Before founding BIEN with Hung, Ricardo was a partner at Myriad Media, a production company in Raleigh and Vancouver. He has 19 years of experience collaborating with brands and agencies like IBM, McKinney, 72andSunny, Red Hat, Vans, Boys & Girls Club, and Sustainable Harvest International. He once traveled to rural Honduras to direct a documentary about slash and burn farming. On this trip his gear got soaked by monsoon rains, leaving him with a pair of flip-flops instead of boots. During one outing in the rural foothills near the Guatemalan border, he came face to face with a two-step snake. If you’re bitten, you take two steps and die. Glad that didn’t happen.
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