How animation can shape and improve any marketing campaign
The early stages of a marketing campaign can be a real issue for agencies, as well as their clients.
The reasons for that can vary: the limited budget offered by a client, a specific goal of the marketing campaign that should be reached anyway, or a great creative solution with a limited number of tools at hand.
Sometimes the best way to nail a marketing campaign is to create a number of steps that will include a certain zest. The best possible decision is to “fill” it with animation.
Why? Well, the answer is both simple and complex. Here’s the thing: a marketing campaign can’t be very thorough, and, in most cases, successful unless it contains a video.
Here’s what experts from HubSpot claim:
“The last handful of years saw a surge in the popularity of video as a content marketing format.
Specifically, in 2017, video rose to the top of your marketing tactic list. Video as a tactic was likely streamlined by your creative team as a one-to-many awareness play, with lots of focus on expensive production and little analysis to show for it.
2018 and 2019 transformed video from a singular marketing tactic to an entire business strategy.
Today, video is a holistic business approach, meaning video content should be produced by all teams in a conversational, actionable, and measurable way.”
We evolved to a point where it is impossible to have a great marketing outcome if you don’t put your product on a video.
But… not all videos are the same. It turns out that some videos perform better than others. Yes, it is all about performance: a video should bring you and your business tangible results.
There are many reasons why some videos are not capable of bringing great results: many videos are not well-suited for our sophisticated, very selective attention frames. No kidding. We just get a whole lot of visual information every day, so to really impress us is rather hard. If you would see an animation explainer video – quite atypical explainer for these days, let’s say, – 10 years ago, you would be amazed. Today the creators behind it must really impress you with that. The question” why” is sort of given with an answer. Isn’t it?
Here’s where we found out that animation works way better for marketing purposes than any other video. Animation simply lacquers a video with all these amazing shades of gaudy.
Again, reasons are hard to overlook: unusual visual appeal, a better base for storytelling, and wonderful possibilities to convey a subject in many ways.
Cut off the “I want to sell you something” approach
Today the hardest thing for any brand is to be able to cut through the noise – visual, informational, and aesthetic. Many brands use rather dubious ways to deal with this. Using the rows of ads and boring commercials that are hunting on people they try to get attention a bit aggressively. It might be working – once again – a decade ago, but today you have to come up with something more sophisticated and, in a way, straightforward. The “I want to sell you something” approach will only debilitate your chances to attract the audience.
The truth is that people’s attention spans aren’t going shorter – it is learned to cut most of the noise. So, typical users’ behaviour is easy to predict: selective blindness comes into play. Get ready to be ignored with your fancy ad, if it’s not engaging enough.
We recommend cutting everything that sounds too sales. This is the very first thing that is inherent to animation – it can be organic, without pushing anyone toward something.
“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.” ― Walt Disney
Animation as a vehicle for the brand’s style, tone of voice, and look
There is no business that seriously plans on surviving without its unique voice, style and look. Animation, graphic design and illustration are three pillars to use to achieve at least basics – to gain the first bits of brand personality. For the brands it is almost as for famous people – you know them for their clothes, looks, styles, and the way they act and talk. Brands are no different, but they need additional things to complete the way they present themselves.
The variety of styles offered by animation can make a great number of projects find their own voices. Like how? – You might say. Well, if you are leaning toward animation video marketing campaigns you are already making a choice: to get “a real video” or to let the minds of your viewers wander in the creative flow of moving pictures.
For example, if you are using an animated explainer video, corporate or brand animation, you have a number of possibilities to create a great brand personality only due to the fact that you have a memorable character. Or an animated mascot. Or the whole set of animations, including the logo. It’s your call, after all. 🙂
This is what distinguishes most of the brands that succeeded from the competitors: they managed to create a unique brand look. For many brands, this is the speediest way out of everyone else’s way – to their own unique look. To avoid a stunt.
Examples of marketing campaigns shaped by animation
An animation advertising campaign first started in 1899 with Britain’s Arthur Melbourne Cooper’s animated plea, ‘Matches: An Appeal’. It was a stop motion featuring a character writing on a blackboard, encouraging the viewers to send cigarettes to British soldiers serving overseas. That simple.
After that, we saw very different stages of the animation development in years that had to come yet. But let’s get back to our time.
John Lewis – ‘The Bear and the Hare’ (2013)
John Lewis for years delivered fascinating character-based animated marketing campaigns.
Christmas pudding has become really a symbol due to this ad – many people remember it when it comes to the subject.
Work, simplified – slack
Well-known platform Slack is no stranger to great marketing decisions based on animation. In this video, they managed to take visual communication to its best possible shape.
The place you want to be – Volkswagen
Wonderful step for Volkswagen to include animated video as the main thing in their marketing campaign. Not only was it super unusual for the car industry to present itself like that, but also renewed the approach in general.
“In animation, there’s this exhilarating moment of discovery when you see the film, and you say, Oh THAT’S what I was doing.” ― John Lithgow
The impact of animation on ROI
Branding is a never-ending part of developing a project, especially if you are taking it seriously enough. What we find important is to convey how animation can bring you benefits for different marketing campaigns.
First of all, any video production is super time-consuming. Animation can take weeks, and even months to finish, but it will be a vital brick in the wall of your brand identity.
Once you manage to create all visual elements it will be easier to use all of them in the next marketing campaigns. Thus, future campaigns will be easier to set up.
Plus, to change something in animated content is much easier than in a live video.
“New trends, various transformations, and changes are what drive your ROI and animated explainer videos guarantee that.
Badly produced SEM campaigns will leave your audience running but if you have an animated explainer video it will give you a higher scale of audience engagement. Having videos on your landing page will give you more visitors and expand the meeting lengths which in turn flags internet searchers that your site is reputable. There is no doubt that SEO can actually work better with videos and people will spend more time on your site which can turn them into customers.”
How brands improve awareness with animation
Marketing these days is targeting a serious number of goals. However, most of them can be summarized in two directions: engagement and awareness.
Branding is more and more about connecting to people, about getting them interested in any subject that you have to offer. About interesting them in your brand. About raising brand awareness.
Animation’s narratives and a massive variety of techniques allow the viewers to watch video curiously, without quickly losing interest. An animated explainer video combined with graphic design or illustration can give not only lasting impressions but help people remember you. Here’s where awareness starts to show up.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best examples in this area.
Headspace – 2D explainer that had a major impact on a company in general. Adorable animation with wonderful character design does what it had to do: explain how the app works.
Tech Insider made an unusual kind of an animated explainer. At least when it comes to length. This video is longer than 3 minutes which is a rare exception because usually such videos should be kept under 90 seconds.
Have you ever felt the calmness of a Google drive? Yeah, sounds peculiar, but the app really offers a sort of warehouse vibe where calmness is an inevitable feature.
“We’ve experimented with publishing once a week for six weeks and also putting them up all at once. In this case, we did the latter on site and on YouTube. And then we also think about how these stories live on other platforms. But we did see over 50,000 users spent 25 minutes or more on the platform per session, which is a remarkable level of engagement. We were really proud of that. I think one of the things we’ve been really focused on is serialized content and looking for ways that, when we draw people in and they find a body of work, we are seeing a lot of the binge watching behavior. So now we’re thinking about creating content and sharing it with our audience in a way that they can consume a number of episodes per visit. I think animation is a great way to do that”.
Nancy Gauss, executive director of video at The New York Times.
The best decisions for marketing campaigns or how to use animation in one
Okay, let’s take a look at all these cool ways to include animation in marketing campaigns and make it sparkle.
Try an animated logo. A very underestimated way to engage customers and, to be honest, a bit of show off. Well, Google does that. FedEx does that. And… who else? You name it! Yeah, pretty sure you mentioned Amazon. This is the thing: there is no reason to avoid it if the biggest players on the market already incorporated it into their looks.
Amazon logo Animation by Adrian Campagnolle
3D animation. The number of possible appliances here is immense. Corporate animation or explainer for your product can bring you admiration. 3D animation usually makes objects… a little bit better than they are. Just because it allows you to see anything from an eye-pleasing perspective.
Micro animation – something that might not have a great effect on a marketing campaign in general, but spice it up a little bit. Usually, brands use it on different pages, which might be on a landing or something.
Micro Animations by Hero
Gifs – are a low-cost and easy to use experiment with animated content. Why won’t you take it into one of your next marketing campaigns and see how your audience responds? You’ll be surprised!
Social Shoe GIF by Katherine Weis
Explainer video – the main choice we value and recommend use. Animation does a perfect job of making complex subjects easy ones to understand. And that is exactly what one needs from an explainer video – whether your business deals with apartments for rent or offers a number of storage for those who are moving. By the way, out of the 17 best videos selected by HubSpot experts, which we have mentioned already, 13 were animated. How do you like that?
Animated series – let us just warn you: it is not as huge as it may sound to you at first. Here’s the thing: you can make very short animated videos about anything that is vital for your project. Such a unique decision used Headspace in its series about mediation techniques. Not only did that bring amazing recognition to the app and its subject but helped to attract a larger audience. Plus, people started receiving a real value from meditation itself – just because they have a tool to understand it better.
Another interesting way to use this approach is to film the stories of your audience that will support your brand. Here’s an extract from an interview with
Nancy Gauss, executive director of video at The New York Times, whom we already quoted today.
“For instance, one of the things you guys got a lot of attention for was this animated parenting series that your team created. What’s the process of approaching these longer-term projects?
Conception was a series that was pitched by one of our really talented producers, Margaret Cheatham Williams. She developed the concept in 2016 and pitched it at a time when we were hyper-focused on limited-run series aligned with the features desk in the newsroom. We were thinking about ways to read a younger female audience, and she came up with this idea and pitched it. She was working within the series team. We did several call-outs where we received over 1,500 responses, which is pretty remarkable. It showed us there was a lot of demand for this kind of content.
What is a call-out?
Essentially a call-out is calling out to our audience, ‘hey we’re doing this project, if you have a story to share, let us know.’ And there are various channels for them to respond and give us a sense of what they would say.
She went through all those responses and looked for people who could draw out interesting stories. She interviewed a bunch of them over the phone and ended up going to interview the characters in each of those six profiles in person. She travelled to their hometown and did the audio interviews in person, and worked with a series of all-female animators, a different animator for each episode, bringing those stories to life.”
This is such a great way to build trust with your audience and create a better outcome for the brand. Not only do you make videos for your audience – you do it with them. That’s always appreciated.
Learn how your competitors act and always look for inspiration in the biggest players in the world’s market.
If you look at how content is organized on Netflix, you’ll probably learn a lot about the ways to use it smartly.
For example, in New York times they share these tips:
“We’re looking at what all our competitors are doing. As the platforms merge and break down, we do look at Netflix, even though the content is pretty different. We spend a lot of time looking at analytics on YouTube and experimenting with different formats, and analyzing the data to see what works. I think we learn a lot from experimenting on YouTube and analyzing all of the decisions we’re making and seeing what works.
Of course, we’re looking at what Netflix and other competitors are doing, and considering the moves, they’re making as we’re evolving over time. But I would say we’re spending a lot of time focusing on site and on YouTube.”
When animation is the best choice for marketing
We say animation is always a better choice than any other type of video. Just because animation has so many styles to choose from so you basically get great chances to succeed.
The main areas where one usually needs to apply animation are the following:
Social Media Content
Animation is less costly than live video. If you see that you need to make a corporate video, for example, and you don’t have a big budget, your best choice is always animation. Besides, there is always a way to make the animated video less expensive – for example, by choosing a specific sort of animation style, or discussing a voice-over.
Animation in advertising, for instance, can be developed entirely around the product. With its expressive abilities animation can easily achieve these things:
- To increase interest in a product by making people more aware of it;
- Make a better branding which will affect the position on the market;
- Increasing and generating sales;
- Attracting the number of leads.
If your product hasn’t established its position on the market.
If your goal is to sell a concept or idea that doesn’t really have a place or even doesn’t exist in its final form, the animation is the best choice. This is what can help you generate awareness and excitement about your product before it will hit the segment of a market.
Your business is too complex to explain in simple words.
Complex ideas are always hard to explain to a bigger audience.
The animated explainer video is probably the best tool to simplify things. Animation as a medium has a lot to offer – visual tricks and a “glossary” of representations can make you a fortune.
Your business isn’t lying in the visual sphere.
There are so many products that work in rather abstract areas. The best way to explain them to a large number of people is to do that through animation. Some businesses, like any legal stuff, need to be explained in a number of visual presentations, simply because not that many people can imagine why they would need your services. Animation can depict anything you have to say in a very simple manner.
You need the balance between introducing a concept of your product, explaining it, and sharing its strong sides.
Usually, you can do that in a well-crafted animated explainer video (or series of videos). You may also want to play with the level of sophistication here – depending on your targeted audience, how well they are familiar with your product or the type of product you are offering, and also their age. As usually, 90 seconds is your best length.
We did write once that animation has become a remedy for today’s marketing. It has found another way to stand out from video marketing, representing it but also showing how everything can be extremely different due to the possibilities offered by a medium.
If you want to make your marketing campaign sparkle with great zest, choose animation. Meanwhile, we can help you to find the best shape for your ideas. Just contact us!