Why Preparation is Key for Producing Quality Animation

Why Preparation is Key for Producing Quality Animation

Guest post by: Cranial Island Studios, a creative services studio. We make animated marketing content for businesses and startups and have been lucky enough to work with some really cool people on some really interesting projects.

The past few years have seen the rise of video on social media. Why the sudden popularity? Video is (usually) entertaining, involves bright visuals and graphics that are scientifically proven to attract viewers (probably), and there are very few barriers to attracting audiences of all kinds. Take Facebook, for example, and specifically their autoplay feature. I can just be scrolling down my newsfeed as usual when — BAM! — suddenly a new Tasty video is telling me all about how to use popcorn shrimp and other common household ingredients to make my next Super Bowl party snack! (so, only a year or so to wait…).

For the listicle-minded of you, here are 5 good reasons to use video on social media:

  1. Video boosts conversions, sales, and interest
  2. Video shows great return on investment
  3. Video builds trust and can explain anything
  4. Video is easy to play and find on all our electronic devices, both desktop and mobile
  5. Video engages lazy people (we’ve all been there!)

How do we use video to engage with potential clients? It all begins with a conversation. In a lot of cases, this comes after potential clients hear about our animation services, either from us or from a (very helpful and gracious) referral source. Some of them specifically seek us out (hurray for SEO). Generally, all these conversations revolve around a need or problem that a potential client has, with regards to marketing their product or explaining how it works.

Ideally, animation is a service we can provide to solve these problems, either through drawing attention to specific examples or processes, or to synthesize complex ideas into more easily digestible ones. There are times when animation is not a good fit, and while we try not to talk ourselves out of a job as a general rule, we do make it a point to give the best assessment we can of how best to serve the people around us, even if it means steering them towards another service.

Once a potential client is comfortable and ready to move forward, there are a few different approaches we can take, depending on the type of business. Some clients might have a fully formed idea for a video, and can readily provide detailed examples and notes of what they want. This is, at once, awesome (hurray for preparation) and a challenge (making sure the content we create fits their vision).

An important aspect of producing a successful video for a client is to ask a lot of questions. Do these story beats create a tone that reflects your products or services? Does this kind of pacing gel with your average customer’s attention span? Do we want to meet your audience’s expectations or (evil grin) subvert them? The idea we’re trying to hone in on here is that the details matter, and a small change early in the process can make a huge different later on.

Other clients might instead have a specific goal they want to reach with their video (“I need to boost page views X% and raise conversions by Y%”) but aren’t really committed to one specific way of doing so. Our first step here is to, again, ask a lot of questions (see a theme?). We like to discuss how they’ve marketed or presented themselves in the past, and (most relevantly) find out why they are now wanting to create an animated video. As a general rule, if their services are easy to understand and they’re looking for a way to stand out from the rest of the pack, we like to highlight the user experience, and create memorable stories or concepts to promote their brand.

On the other hand, if their services are more complex and less “soundbite-able”, it helps sometimes to just dive right into the details. This doesn’t mean that we’ll try to cram every nuance and variable into a 60-second video (that’s crazy talk), but more that we’ll see if there’s a way we can use such devices as allegory and metaphor to help make some of their key themes a little less intimidating to the average viewer. Once ideas have been fleshed out, creating a rough script to refine becomes a much simpler process.

The most important part of this whole process is preparation. Once ideas are laid out and solidified, the actual mechanics of video-creation becomes pretty rote. We could thrill you with the finer details but that most important takeaway is that the video needs to be built on a sturdy thematic and narrative foundation. The alternative is a video that will instead be an immaculately-crafted trainwreck, which might be entertaining on its own merits, but probably not the best way to communicate anything worthwhile.

From educating consumers about innovative products, to pitching your message the way you want, animation is an excellent way to engage your audience. Animated explainer videos increase conversion rates by 20%, according to Unbounce.

Is animation a good tool for your business? To find out more about Cranial Island Studios, check out our website at cranialislandstudios.com!

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