We’ve seen it time and time again. Brands looking to humanize their brands have dismissed cartoon video production when talking to us simply because they felt like ‘cartoons’ couldn’t pull it off. They have said to us that ‘live action videos look more trustworthy’, and that ‘cartoons don’t appeal to mature audiences’ and ‘animations aren’t thrilling.’
Now, while we can understand some of these concerns, we also know for a fact that they are complete bullsh*t. Of course there are times when live action videos will work best to humanize your brand, but cartoon videos can do that for you too. It’s just a matter of knowing how to craft them, from scripting to animation.
There are several things to take into account here. We’ve picked 7 of the most important ones so you can check them out when considering animated videos to put a human touch to your brand. Here they are!
#1. Keep in mind that trust comes from the message
Most people trying to humanize their brands have the same thought process. “I need people to feel we’re a transparent company with real people behind it, so let’s put Jane from Accounting who’s funny enough to be in front of the camera.”
We won’t say that won’t work (we don’t know Jane but, hey, she seems like a nice person). But you don’t need a real person for your brand to feel real. See, the sense of trustworthiness stems from what you are, from your unique value, from backing up what you’re promising.
It’s the message that counts, regardless of which video style you use to tell it. If what you offer is valuable, entertaining and, above all, reliable, people will get behind your brand. That’s because people connect with your values and your perception of the world.
A meaningful marketing connection is one that offers unfiltered messages that tackle real issues your audience is facing. If you can create that (and you certainly can with animated videos), if you can show your target audience you’re one of them, then your relationship will only grow stronger.
#2. Create emotional characters
If you want that click with your target audience to happen, you’ll need to connect on a deeper level. Depending on what your brand is about, you’ll feel inclined to use real actors to convey that emotion. Why wouldn’t you if real actors are the only ones capable of showing the subtle expressions that can achieve that?
Well, that’s not entirely true. We’d like to believe that if you’ve ever watched animated movies like Toy Story or Up (if you didn’t, we certainly don’t know how can you live with yourself). In them, animated characters are sophisticated and can be very emotional – and we root for them because they, on some level, remind us of ourselves.
Of course, we aren’t saying you’ll have to go into Pixar mode to humanize your brand through cartoon videos but you can certainly feel more secure about it. As a seasoned cartoon video company, we know that all characters can look happy, thrilled, thoughtful, angry or whatever you need.
In fact, that’s the key to making your video likeable. If you truly want to show how your audience feels when dealing with the problems they share (and how relieved they’ll be after using your product to solve it), animated characters can give you an extended range of emotions to work with while being more flexible (and affordable!) than real actors.
#3. Appeal to your target audience’s nostalgia
Emotional characters aren’t the only way in which your video can engage with your audience on a deeper level. The decision to use cartoon videos, in and by themselves, encloses the ability to appeal to your audience’s nostalgia.
Take a minute to think about it. Most people today have watched cartoons on TV when they were kids. It’s part of a ritual that has survived through the decades and it’s even stronger today. So, it’s only natural for them to feel nostalgic when watching animated videos that remind them of those simpler, more innocent times.
Besides, those facts let you create a more playful video that doesn’t take itself so seriously and still has a shot at making that emotional connection we’ve talked about above.
#4. Make it more serious if your audience is “more mature”
Another huge concern when people consider cartoon videos for their brands is the fear that they look “too cutesy” and have an “innocent look.” If you’ve read this far, you now know that such an appearance is only a conscious decision to pinpoint specific traits in your target audience.
In other words, you can change your animated video style to look more “mature.” Your characters don’t have to look like wide-eyed and excited kiddos, the music can go beyond the happy guitars, the whole feel can be more toned down. Animation can offer you tons of benefits. Being able to adapt how it looks to your communication tone is one of them.
Take a look at the video below we did for WSP. The needs of WSP, one of the world’s leading professional services firms,included explaining the product concisely, simply and in a way that brought trust to the brand. Basically, an educational video capable of humanizing the company. As you can see, it looks great, has the wow factor you’d expect from these videos and has that “serious” look we’ve been talking about.
The takeaway is simple. You can get all the benefits of cartoon videos, while also building trust, humanizing your brand and looking mature enough for any audience.
#5. Show your funny side!
One of the biggest reasons why so many people choose cartoon videos is because they are perfect to use to entertain an audience. Given that people are more willing to share company videos that are entertaining, this is definitely what you want on your side. But, beyond that, showing that you have a sense of humour is vital for your video to feel human.
Being funny in any video depends solely on the scripting and the pacing of your scenes. However, you can also rely on your characters to embody your story. And let’s be honest – finding truly funny actors capable of generating laughs is very hard. You can overcome that challenge by betting on cartoon characters!
You can put animated characters in the most absurd situations, make them trip over and fall, throw things at them and do practically anything you can think of to make people laugh. You can’t do that with real actors! Without those limits, being funny is easier and you can take bigger risks.
And you’ll need to take them, since humour is one of your best shots at connecting with your target audience. People are looking to be entertained. Your cartoon video can fill that need.
#6. Customize every detail you can
This tip applies to all videos, really – but it gains special importance when talking about cartoon videos to humanize your brand. That’s because customization is how you tweak your video to make it appealing to your target audience. And making it about your audience is how you reach out, engage and establish a connection that feels human.
Making your characters look, talk and behave like your target audience and putting them in the same situations as your potential customers will spark curiosity and interest. Besides, it’ll show that you understand who the people in your audience are and what worries them.
That sort of empathy is what humanizes your brand – and you can achieve it more easily with cartoon videos. It’s far easier to create characters from scratch and adjust them to your audience’s specific traits. The animation’s flexibility gives you a lot of control over the backgrounds, the colors, the highlighted elements.
Basically, customization is simpler in cartoon videos. And since customization is what brings you more trusting customers, you can’t put that fact aside.
#7. Develop a unique aesthetic
Finally, there’s a major differentiation feature we haven’t addressed here – uniqueness! In the video marketing world, there are tons of videos that feel generic or are just plain boring. Since marketers are pushing companies into developing their videos, many owners are betting on tried formulas without any risk. The result is that there are plenty of videos out there that feel like gross copies without any personality.
Cartoon videos let you get over this problem and develop your unique aesthetic. There’s nothing more refreshing than watching a video that feels like no other video out there. It creates a lasting impression and can make a more instant connection with its viewers. It also shows that you care enough about the people on the other side of the screen to actually develop something different.
As if that wasn’t enough, betting on a unique aesthetic can set you aside from every other company in your field. That will enrich your marketing efforts, boost your awareness and make your brand more instantly recognizable. All of these positively affect how people see your company, associating a uniqueness with your name that will surely have a great impact.
To sum up
Cartoon animations might not be the first thing you think about when looking to humanize your brand. You need real humans to do that! That’s a very simplistic approach, however. What makes your brand feel “human” is your message, it’s how you show that you understand your audience, it’s the relationship you seek to engage with your audience.
Limiting your possibilities to what live action videos can provide you is an mistake that has no grip on reality. You can be perceived as a reliable and seasoned company even if you use animations. You just have to take care of the tips we’ve shared here and you’ll be ready to do it!