By Brandon Houston on November 11, 2015

You know you want to get started with video marketing, but you may have seen a lot of different types of marketing videos floating around. Maybe you’re not sure where to start. There’s live action, different types of animation, and screen casts, among other varieties. How does each type fit into your overarching campaign narrative? Is there a reason to go with animation rather than the whiteboard style, or live action rather than motion graphic? This article will help you answer these questions. The following styles are relatively versatile, but they have unique strengths. Here are some ideas for how each style enables compelling storytelling and why:

Animated
Animation is the most versatile form of video. There’s really not a lot you can’t do with it. Animators can take you to the furthest points of the earth or even create new universes. That’s why animation is the classic choice for explainer videos. Animation allows you to visualize whatever metaphor explains your message best. This video for Intermedia’s HostedPBX shows sales reps up in the clouds with parachutes – not something that would be easy to accomplish with live action. However, the visual metaphor is important because it shows how the product liberates employees from their telephone landlines and allows them to close more sales. In the meantime, the clouds in the sky also represent the cloud-based software that makes their newfound freedom possible. Using visual metaphor conveys a lot of information about the company in very little time.

Motion Graphic
A motion graphic is like an animated infographic. If you have information you think would work in an infographic, but want slightly more oomph, then motion graphic may be the way to go. Consider using motion graphic when you are looking to convey a lot of data, but want the stats to really come alive.
Check out this explainer video we made for Wellcentive to see how it looks in action. We’ve all seen infographics about the sales funnel. This video breathes life into that formula with voice over laden with confidence – both in tone and clarity – and an energetic animated infographic concept, but the video maintains the aspect about infographics that people like, the way all of the graphic elements combine to tell a single story.

Whiteboard
Whiteboard animation is a common video style for educational and informative topics. These videos got popular as a result of the work done by Royal Society for encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). RSA uses whiteboard drawings to animate their educational talks. Similar to the motion graphic style, whiteboard animation is a great educational tool. It’s authoritative, putting the brand in the position of being in front of a lecture hall. Use this style for thought leadership.

This video from RSA is an engaging and creative example of how whiteboard video adds a visually engaging component to narration. The visuals reinforce the words we’re hearing and images are drawn for us. It’s like the experience of attending a lecture from the comfort of your home or office. This puts your brand in a position of authority on the topic.

Live Action
Live action is great when you want to connect with your audience on a personal level. For instance, you can show what’s going on behind the scenes at your company, or have a one-on-one conversation with the CEO. Showing real faces is a way to build trust with customers and humanize the people behind your organization. It’s also useful for testimonials, so prospects see real people have used your products and recommend them.

When it comes to demonstrating thought leadership, it’s best to use real people, especially if they’re names your industry is familiar with. In this video from Marketo, the company met up with a marketers at Dreamforce and asked them to play word association games. The video provides great insight into their culture and also associates them with thought leaders in their target industry.

Screencast
Screencast is a recording of the movements on your desktop, showing how specific features of a product work or the process of how to do something. Sometimes it’s most helpful to actually see a software platform in action, whether you’re looking to purchase it or just get a better understanding of its functionality and uses. Screencast is ideal for in-depth software tutorials, but that’s not the only way to use it. In this video, Salesforce uses this screencast as a marketing tool for small and mid-sized businesses, demonstrating how using the software helps them get off the ground. The video gives business owners real insight into the interface they would be using by showing us the account of a fictional sales rep named Bob. The video follow’s Bob’s typical morning when he logs in, highlighting navigational tools and features.

Mixing it up
A little creativity can go a long way in sending a message people will respond to. For instance, while testimonials are typically live action, we’ve seen businesses do other things. Check out this video for Vanpool, a carpooling service, which is based on a real testimonial. The video combines the authority of a customer speaking about the product with the engaging power of animated visuals to send a message that really hits home.

And while animation works well for explainer videos, some companies have used live action effectively. Take this explainer from Vidyard. Vidyard compares marketing videos to messages in a bottle. Without the right analytics, your messages are just adrift, and you don’t know how people are responding to them. Vidyard successfully uses the type of extended metaphor you’d typically see in an animated video and translated it into a real-life scenario, using real people, bottles and a body of water. The result is delightful and unexpected and includes a cute golden retriever as a bonus.

The Style of Your Video Matters
Put a lot of thought into the type of video you will use for your message. Depending on what you want to say, the purpose of the video, your brand identity, and your audience, you want to select carefully. Animation, live action, whiteboard, motion graphic, and screencast all have unique strengths that you can draw on when crafting your message. Keep in mind that playing around with expectations of each style can be effective too. Selecting one style doesn’t limit your creativity, it just gives you a starting point. Choosing a style of video is a vital part of the journey to the perfect marketing video. It deserves a lot of thought.

 

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