Feeling stuck in a glut of mediocre animation? Not sure if you could draw yourself out of a paper bag like some sort of M.C. Escher drawing? Are you tired of coworkers spitting at your feet and sneering the word “cartoon” whenever you suggest the benefit of animated video content?
While the last thing sounds more like an HR issue than a marketing one, we’re here to help. Instead of treating animation as a cheap or easy way to enhance your video marketing strategy, treat it like the real tool that it is. And you can do that with our four tips for creating better animated marketing videos.
- Reduce Costs by Understanding the Process
Unlike live-action video, where the production and post-production are two distinct phases, the process for creating animated video can blur the line between those phases. However, that doesn’t mean that making changes down the line are simple –– or cheap.
The production phase of animation starts with style frames and storyboards, establishing the visual style and indicating what the final deliverable will look like. Professional voiceover artists give the script life and the individual pieces begin to flow together. Animators put the finishing touches on their work, removing artifacts, refining strokes, and polishing the piece like a fine gemstone.
Approval is needed at each stage from all the stakeholders to help reduce the time animators spend producing work that won’t end up in the final cut. Animating an entire script only to find out a stakeholder wants a different visual style is akin to adjusting the butter-to-sugar ratio of a cake fifteen minutes into baking. It may be easier to start over, and in the case of a video production, that means busted deadlines and blown budgets.
This isn’t to say that feedback can’t be given at all stages. Of course, it should be. But the earlier feedback is provided, the less expensive it is to implement.
- Amplify ROI by Starting With a Strategy
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, and we’ll scream it from the mountain tops: to practice video is to strategize. An animated marketing video is no different. Knowing what you want from the outset will cut down costs later and help you increase the return on your animation investment.
In the same way live-action content can be produced at scale, so can animated videos. Digital assets can be reused. Voiceover recording sessions can encompass several videos in a series. And content can be repurposed as branding videos, social media posts, or for use at industry events.
If you jump into animation with a strategy, you’re more likely to only notice these opportunities when they pass you by. Starting with a strategic approach allows you to work efficiently and purposefully.
So, before you get to the creative, remember to strategize. Our sample Video Roadmap demonstrates what a strategic video marketing document looks like, and it’s available to be adapted to your needs.
- Reinforce your Brand with Custom Video Styles
Explainer videos have exploded in use over the past couple decades. The reason is pretty obvious: they convert tough-to-chew ideas into easy-to-digest content morsels.
However, as explainer videos have grown in ubiquity as animated marketing videos, they’ve also become increasingly generic. Nothing says “we cut corners” better than a long playlist of flat, 2D cartoons with the same corporate stock music and robotic narration.
You likely already have at least one competitor who employs this animation style. And if you jump on the bandwagon, you’ll only end up reinforcing their brand. Your audience will struggle to distinguish the difference, and your marketing investment may boost your competition’s campaign. It’s a disservice to the work you’ve put into building a better business.
So, instead, try something different with a high-quality, custom animation style. Enfuse the animation with your brand’s colors. Maximize your logo’s impact by incorporating it into the story itself instead of slapping it onto the upper right corner for the video’s entirety.
You may notice that their brand colors serve as the palette for our video. The animation style incorporates mixed media, giving it a distinct look. It’s bold and straightforward with an air of ruggedness. The style matches the brand, which reinforces it.
When your visual style is unique and brand-specific, you strengthen your brand. You’re setting a new tone instead of playing the same notes.
- Increase Engagement by Centering Your Audience
Animation’s visuals make it inherently engaging. However, you can’t rely solely on that to spark your audience’s interest. Centering them within the video, focusing on their needs and the issues they need to solve, is more likely to draw them in.
An easy way to entice your audience into watching your animated marketing video is to feature characters that look like your customers. We’re not necessarily talking about specific physical characteristics — if only to combat any unfortunate and disheartening stereotyping here.
But let’s take a look at that Rhumbix video again. They’re selling software to the construction industry, and who appears in the video? Construction workers, contractors, and their in-office support staff.
Because animation isn’t limited to what can be practically filmed, you can use as many or as diverse a group of characters as you need. Likewise, you’re not limited to only those you can cast within your local production area or stock footage.
Another part of centering your audience is understanding their video-watching behavior. For instance, animation often works best in short bursts.
If the video stretches past the two-minute mark, many people won’t stick around to watch the end. Not only does that leave your message unheard, but it also means you’ve wasted time and money on animation left unseen.
When you center your audience within all aspects of your animation production, you make it more likely that they’ll want to engage with your content.
Create Better Animated Marketing Videos
Animated content can engage your audience, communicate your message, and be an impactful component of your video marketing efforts. The key is to think strategically by centering your audience and delivering high-quality, custom animation.
If you’re looking for help with how animated video can help your video marketing strategy, let’s talk.