By Andrew Angus on April 9, 2014

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Using animated video allows companies to effectively explain complicated ideas succinctly. For companies that need to communicate an idea on a landing page or in an email, an explainer video can help you do it better than any other means of communication. How? Video provides two channels to deliver messages- the visual and the verbal channel – through which new information can enter the brain, allowing viewers to remember and apply more of what they learned. However, much of the secret to success of an effective explainer video lies in the use of visual metaphor and storytelling to engage with viewers.

Use what they already know
Animation allows businesses to tie abstract concepts to concrete ones that people are already aware of. A video from Ted Talks, a series of global conferences dedicated to spreading knowledge, explains how the use of metaphor can make the ideas offered in the series’ speeches more concrete – It’s an explainer video about explainer video! As an example, the Ted Talks video uses the concept of big data, a very vague term to people who aren’t familiar with it. However, using the metaphor of a tree, Ted Talks created a video that compared the complex branching of limbs to networks of information described under the term big data. By relating a somewhat ominous technical term to an object everyone is familiar with, Ted Talks was able to quickly distill the complicated topic of big data to a general audience.

Tell a story
Another way to engage an unfamiliar audience is to tell a story that helps its members understand. According to a Lifehacker article, relating a problem or concept to your audience is a good way to make them care. This is another place explainer video excels. If you offer a service, the best way to engage viewers is to tell a story they can relate to. Rather than simply describing a product that enhances the security of a mobile device, portray an animated story that demonstrates how this would function in a real-life context. For instance, demonstrate how one person experienced a data breach, but then switched to your product, which has made his or her life simpler ever since. Your viewers are bound to come away with a greater awareness of how your product actually functions and why they may want it.

Why animated video?
Aside from the fact that animated videos are just plain fun to watch, they provide opportunities that live action video doesn’t. For instance, animated video allows creators to quickly generate an image of a tree and then jump back to an image of a computer network. It would also be harder to combine visual metaphor with succinct storytelling in a live action video. While these elements could be produced on camera, they can be accomplished more cheaply and quickly with animation. Because animated videos don’t rely on actors, sets or costumes, they are more scalable. You can maintain branding across a video series without holding onto a cache of costumes.

 

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