So you’re starting to think about using videos in your company's marketing? Great decision! We think animated explainer videos are the place to start, but what exactly is an explainer video?
Explainer videos are succinct, simple ways of explaining your product or service while simultaneously being eye-catching, brand-strengthening, engaging pieces of content. But there are so many different styles of animated explainers, how do you know which is the right style for you?
In this blog we’re going to run through various styles available, the processes that make them different and the questions you should ask yourself, to help you decide.
So first things first, you need to ask yourself some questions. I say yourself, but to get the most out of this, you should really get several people involved from across your company. The more opinions you can get on these questions, the stronger and more specific to your company the answers will be. So here are the questions that you need to answer first:
- Who are you targeting with your video?
- What’s your message?
- What will fit with your current branding?
- What is your timeline/budget?
Who are you targeting with your video?
Always bear in mind, with any content you’re creating, who it is that you’re creating it for. Who is your ‘buyer persona’? What would your ideal customer want to see? What is going to stop them scrolling through their Facebook feed to watch your video? What kind of language do they react to and what sort of visuals appeal to them? This helps inform every step of the video creation process, from the scriptwriting, to the choice of voice-over artist, even down to the colours and imagery you use. Think long and hard about exactly who you’re aiming this at.
What’s your message?
What exactly is it you’re trying to say in your video? Of course, you’re trying to explain your offering in as simple a way as possible, but what’s the end result going to be? What is the call to action at the end going to be? What are the key points you’re trying to explain? Do you want your video to be serious, or perhaps have a humorous tone? Think long and hard about the exact messaging and wording that you want to use and how this might affect the style of video you want to create.
What will fit with your current branding?
What existing assets have you got and what style is best going to suit that? Perhaps you’re a super modern SAAS company offering a really high-end product. 3D could be perfect for you; it’s classy, current and tends to look more up-market. Or maybe you’re a dog groomer looking for something quirky and humorous, perhaps think about a character animation (dog’s are characters too, you know) to really highlight the fun and friendly brand you’ve already got! Look at everything you’ve produced in the past, your website, your social media pages, you want your video to look at home on all of the above!
What is your budget/timeline?
While it’s never the most fun part of the process to discuss, budget and time constraints will affect what’s feasible. Animation is a lengthy and time-consuming process, and different styles can take significantly longer or shorter than others. 3D Animation, for example, requires more time dedicated to the construction of assets before animation and then the rendering process (exporting the final video); therefore, it takes longer than 2D motion graphics. So consider when you need your video by and the amount of money you can dedicate to it, and how realistic each style is to fit into those constraints.
While these are the main considerations before you create a video, there are a few other things to ponder, like your personal preferences. Which styles do you like or feel represent you and your company? And how about your competitors? Are they using videos, and if so, what styles have they gone for? Do they work, or could you learn from their mistakes and try something else?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, it’s time to have a more in-depth look at the styles available to you. Having references to existing videos that you like is a hugely beneficial tool when you’re approaching a company and asking them to create your explainer video. So we’ve split the styles of animated explainers into three clear categories and included some examples. The three main categories are:
- 2D Motion Graphics
- Character Animation
- 3D Motion Graphics
2D Motion Graphics
Motion graphics isn’t a term that most people are too familiar with, essentially it is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s graphic design put into motion. Motion graphics in an increasingly common style of video that can vary in look, but it’s core features are strong design, iconography, typography and interesting transitions. By and large, motion graphics don’t tend to have a storyline and are a little more abstract than character animation.
When we set out to create a 2D motion graphics piece, we spend a long time crafting storyboards that represent the idea we’re trying to get across, incorporate the existing branding of our clients and allow for some eye-catching animation that will bring the whole video to life. We ensure that the storyboards are exactly how the final animation is going to look before we begin to animate. Below you can see an example of the kind of 2D motion graphics video we have created for clients in the past.
2D Motion Graphics tends to be the quickest (and therefore cheapest) of the 3 styles, although this is dependent upon the complexity of the graphics.
A lot of people, when they hear animation, particularly character animation, think of 2D hand-drawn, Disney animations. These are character animations, brilliant ones, but they’re rather high-end, and, to be honest, a little out of the price range of most companies. That isn’t to say that character animations can’t be accessible, more stylized 2D Animations are really popular and en vogue at the moment. So if your product or service is centred around people, maybe you’re looking to show how they use a product, or you want to create a real empathetic connection with the audience, using a character could be a great way to do that. Also, for companies whose branding includes a character, this is an obvious choice. Below you can see an example of a video that we’ve created that make good use of character animation.
Character animation tends to take a little longer than 2D motion graphics as the complexity of creating a character suitable for animation, then actually animating them can take a considerable amount of time and thought.
3D Motion Graphics
3D motion graphics are simply the 3D equivalent of their 2 Dimensional counterpart. 3D Animation is increasingly accessible for companies and the advances in technology over the past 10 years or so have made it possible to create some truly incredible 3D animations. They are time-consuming, however. While we won’t always go into too much detail during the storyboard phase of the animation process, we will spend a lot more time on the asset creation, animation and render stages.
3D is great for more modern companies, looking to stand out from the crowd with really eye-catching, visually appealing video. It can also be brilliant for creating realistic representations of complex products. For example, we created a video explaining the complex workings of a hairdressing scissor. This included the interior tension systems which we could explode virtually to show the various components in a way that live-action footage simply wouldn’t have been capable.
Below you can see an example of a 3D motion graphics video that we’ve produced here at Klood.
That’s a very high-level overview of the factors that should be considered before deciding upon your chosen animated explainer video style. As well as a rough guide to the 3 main styles we see most commonly used in the explainer video world. Hopefully, this blog has helped to clarify the different styles available to you and how to decide upon them. If you feel like you’re ready to take the next step along the path to creating brilliant videos for your marketing, we’ve created a fantastic video planning worksheet. This sheet goes even more in-depth into everything you should consider before moving into production on your next video, simply click the link below and you’ll be taken to a page where you can download the asset. Alternatively, if you want to know more about Klood, the videos we produce and our pricing, feel free to get in touch, either by email or phone and we can discuss everything about your video ideas and how we can help.