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The Evolution of Animated Sales Video Marketing

By December 9, 2020No Comments

Business videos are popping up everywhere there’s a need for easy, powerful messaging. Five years ago, it was mostly for selling high-end products and professional services. So, why is corporate video production becoming so important now? It’s because an animated sales video is the perfect answer to most marketing questions. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into video marketing and look at how it can help your own business.

But the first question is: Where did the idea of using animation for business come from?

The roots of corporate animation

Everyone knows about Walt Disney and the birth of animated storytelling. Entertainment is a powerful marketing tool, and people will watch a good story even when it has a commercial theme.

So, business animation is a natural outgrowth from early cartoons with simple storylines. For example, look at this high-converting sales clip:

 

The smiling, lovable characters are far more effective than human salespeople when it comes to ROI. That’s the magic of animated videos.

Live-action video is a costly, outdated medium

Live-action videos were a popular intermediate step in our marketing evolution, but now live actors have largely been replaced by animated characters who serve as heroes in today’s commercial storylines. Live action is complicated and costly.

Yet, some of the highest-converting animated explainer videos of 2021 are a blend of live-action vignettes, cartoon characters, and on-screen text elements. Here’s an attention-grabbing clip that combines the best of both worlds, real and fantasy.

Nuts and bolts of video marketing

Now that we’ve taken a quick look at the history of business videos, let’s focus on understanding exactly what is an explainer video: A short definition says it’s the cheapest, easiest way to spread a message or sell a product.

Explainers are short clips – usually between 30 seconds to a couple of minutes long – that teach a concept or promote a product or service. Since people’s attention spans are so short, successful marketing messages need to be brief and memorable.

Here’s a classic example sponsored by Diageo in the tourism space:

 

The goofy characters and blocky animation style are a perfect combination with the cheerful music and on-screen text with helpful hints for Irish tourists visiting Canada.

Even as simple as it appears, once you’ve watched this clip you’ll never forget its message!

Corporate video production styles

Even though some clips are used as educational videos or training tutorials, the highest-converting clips are always animated videos, including promos and demos.

Check out this high-converting promo for Lumacyte, a company that provides tools for vaccine development:

 

It’s a promotional video that provides valuable information and education to its niche audience of medical researchers:

Even though non-scientists can barely understand its technical concepts, the on-screen action is still compelling enough to hold a child’s attention for several minutes – That’s a winning characteristic to plan ahead for in your own videos.

Production styles and formats

There are also a range of production styles, such as whiteboard and hand-drawn. Let’s review how and when to use each kind.

  • Hand drawn videos
  • Whiteboard videos
  • Promotional videos
  • Demos

Hand-drawn style

This style relies on using a hand to draw information while a narrator’s voiceover echoes the on-screen action. Check out this standout example from Distributel:

 

There’s something compelling about watching that big hand sketching out a sales proposition – You can’t take your eyes off it.

Whiteboard animation

This style offers a clean, uncluttered approach. Characters and graphic elements appear on-screen to illustrate the product being sold.

In this winning example, the story is told by moving graphic elements while a crisp audio voiceover echoes the on-screen action:

 

If you watch the entire video, you’ll notice that one scene also uses hand-drawn elements. The hand is also used in a different way – It’s used as a vignette within the storyline, instead of actually sketching out the entire story.

Demos and promotional videos

Promos and demos are a great choice when you want to introduce a new product or service. A short clip can cover the marketing highlights of a product’s features and benefits.

A demo is a demonstration showing how to use a new product or service. Try giving your audience step-by-step instructions together with an explanation of features and functions.

Demos are especially helpful for building authority and credibility, especially when you’re working to convince buyers to switch from another trusted brand to yours. By comparing functions and features head-to-head, a well-crafted demo can help you quickly gain market share against well-known competitors.

Here’s a powerful demo showing the full range of an explainer video agency’s talent and production skill:

 

That’s a great example showing why this medium is so effective.

How to tell (and act out) a memorable story

The secret to producing a good video lies in using the right type of storyline format for whichever product you want to sell. You’ve heard about the “formula” for a successful Hollywood move – A good story, memorable characters, and an exciting climax.

Corporate production is very similar: To “sell” anything to an audience, you’ll need a well-written script, animated heroes, and an unforgettable ending that puts smiles on viewers’ faces, at least for a minute or two.

The script tells your story

Since marketing videos’ run-time is short, the story needs to flow quickly and logically toward its close. Funny animated characters act out the story in a logical sequence with its climax ending in a call-to-action (CTA).

Animated heroes to the rescue

Using cartoon characters in stories instead of live actors is the reason why animated videos are so effective. Have you ever thought about the cost of food and clothing for real human actors? Hand-drawn actors are much cheaper.

Here’s an example of an animated hero who overcomes his problems once he discovers a new software platform:

 

The expressions on his face tell the entire story from start to finish. Did you see the look of happiness on his little face once he solved his problems?

To get facial expressions like that from a human, you’d need to give them laughing gas. That’s the power of video marketing.

Storyline sequence

There are several generic storylines that sell well:

  • Problem-Solution
  • Hero-Benefits
  • Chronological-Timeline

Problem-Solution

This traditional marketing storyline is caveman-simple: Highlight the problem, then show how your product solves it. This approach focuses on features more than benefits.

Of course, it has strengths as well as weaknesses. On the positive side, an audience will recognize that you’re equating your product with a succesful solution to the problem.

Hero-Benefits

However, without a “hero” character, the audience has nobody to personally identify and link their own problem. The animated characters work because they give an audience someone to identify with.

They feel the hero’s pain, and watch how the problem is solved. Here’s a lovable hero, a tired CEO who suffers from a problem in managing his employees’ benefits:

 

This format relies on highlighting benefits instead of features – It’s so effective because your audience sees the benefits in action, instead of simply seeing a list of product features.

Chronological-Timeline

Instead of using a climactic storyline, many sales videos are structured in a chronological way: The action (whether live or animated) happens on a timeline.

This format is very easy for viewers to follow, and it’s especially popular for social media campaigns as well as documentaries and public-awareness clips.

This disadvantage of using a strict timeline is that you’ll still need to end with a closing call-to-action. Without a storyline climax, you’ll need to prepare viewers for your sales closing.

Since the action is ongoing, the best way to weave CTAs into a chronological video is to stop at specific waypoints during the presentation. At those points, the chronological action is paused, and the audience is urged to click through and buy something.

Use the right type of video for your own business niche

OK, we’ve done a quick overview so you’ll recognize different types of production style. Now let’s get to the meat of this article, the reason you’re still reading: Examples showing how to use marketing videos in various niches, including your own.

This marketing medium is flexible as well as powerful. Corporate animation can be used in various ways across these niches and more:

  • Healthcare and medical science
  • Fundraising and public-service
  • Property and real estate
  • Blockchain and crypto
  • Fintech and finance and forex
  • eCommerce
  • Software

Healthcare and medical animation

Since internal anatomy and microscopic processes are so difficult to see with the naked eye, medical animation and healthcare explainers are often the only way to reach physicians and patients alike.

It’s important to understand that pharma companies and medical device manufacturers need medical animation to convince busy doctors to buy their products. That’s why the early roots of corporate animation grew into the healthcare marketplace.

Animation is used throughout the scientific community to make complex processes easier to visualize and understand.

Likewise, healthcare explainers serve to teach basic concepts to families and caregivers, so nurses can focus on other tasks. At the retail level, promotional videos – often in the form of loops – are used to sell consumer products as well as prescription medications.

Here’s a typical example of a consumer-facing clip that explains and promotes dental insurance:

 

Since the explainer does its job so well, there’s no need to spend human time on this task.

Fundraising and public-service

The cost of time and labor means that charities, schools, churches, and other non-profit organizations need economical ways to spread their messages better. Even when an organization is operating on a very small budget, animated explainers are still the best way to reach audiences.

A spoonful of honey makes it easier to swallow the bitter medicine

When a message is provocative, using cartoon characters instead of live actors is the easiest way to gain acceptance among your audience. Human actors tend to polarize viewers, but hand-drawn characters can disarm viewers and reduce on-screen awkwardness when presenting inflammatory topics.

Check out this German-language family-planning clip:

Property and real estate

Business videos are great tools for selling real estate and other property. They’re also useful for teaching consumers about mortgages, insurance, and other financial services.

Check this out:

 

That clip saves plenty of staff time when it comes to teaching new homebuyers about their purchase.

Fintech, finance, and forex

Money is usually a complex topic, but a good explainer can help keep things simple, like this financial-services clip:

 

Blockchain and crypto

Just like other complex financial topics, blockchain and cryptocurrency topics are best explained by using short sales videos. This medium is so effective because you can spatial relationships between elements in your presentation while using audio voiceover to clarify and reinforce the on-screen message.

In this video about gaming tokens, listen to the clear audio voiceover as it highlights the problems and offers an easy solution:

 

With a well-written script and expert animation, even a complex topic becomes crystal-clear.

Software and eCommerce

Here’s another niche where explainers offer the best way to complete in any crowded marketplace. It’s easy to show features and benefits in brief clips, or demonstrate products by using animation.

Animation brings solutions for software sellers as well as eCommerce vendors. When you’re trying to explain how your app or software platform works, a well-crafted explainer is the best way to do it. Software alone is boring, but animation makes it more engaging.

Check out this impressive clip for a company selling digital security services:

 

It’s a great example of animation artistry harnessed to sell an intangible service. You should insist on this level of quality and effectiveness for your own corporate video productions.

Takeaways

Whether you use corporate animation for B2B marketing or consumer retail sales, it’s a flexible and powerful tool for every kind of business. In fact, an animated video is essential anytime you need to explain complex or sensitive topics to help sell your products and services.

Want to learn more about corporate animation? Just contact us now!

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