So, you’ve done your research and found that animated videos are great for enhancing your marketing strategy, and consistently delivering outstanding ROI. And naturally, you have decided it’s time to take the next step and create one for your brand. Well, not so fast!
The animation process behind every project – no matter how big or small – requires a fair bit of analysis, planning, and key choices, essential to get top-notch results. So much so that in can feel a bit overwhelming your first few times around!
Fortunately for you, we’ve worked on this easy-peasy guide going into the process from start to finish, addressing a few of the usual questions on the matter.
By the time you are done reading, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of how the cookie gets made, and have a better idea of what to expect when it’s time to work on your own piece.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Given that online audiences expect nothing but awesome content, it’s getting harder for brands to cut through the noise and “wow” them consistently – Which is precisely why animation became such a popular marketing tool.
Done right, these videos are quick to hook viewers with eye-catching, interesting visuals, and further your branding via fun and entertaining content.
Through animation, you get to tell any kind of story, no matter how complex, delicate or out of this world it may be! You want your characters to fly to the moon, build a house there, and then come back? Fine, done deal.
Moreover, animation keeps viewers engaged because it can easily appeal to the audience’s emotions, resonating with them while your message is delivered. Above all, animation helps you form deeper connections with your audience, and makes it easier for them to want to do business with you!
So, now that we are on the same page about the why, it’s time to move on to the how.
Ok, now it’s time to take a peek behind the animation curtains and see how everything works!
When it comes to animated videos, there are many different styles for you to choose from, and each one helps to accomplish some marketing goals better than others – Something that you should most definitely consider before starting to develop one for your company.
That said, there are some fundamental stages shared by most animated marketing videos, and those are the ones we’ll be focusing on for now.
The foundation for creating an outstanding animated video – or any video, for that matter – is to fully understand the brand’s core values and identity.
To do so, video companies usually send a “creative brief” to have their clients answer some essential questions, What’s the video for? Which product do they want to promote? What’s the target audience? Things of that nature.
Project managers and scriptwriters are usually heavily involved at this stage so they can start crafting the narrative for the piece. They work alongside the client, and make sure they are on the same page about the direction, expectation, and creative focus for the project.
In our case, even before sitting down to brainstorm ideas, we want to make sure that we truly understand the brand’s unique message and goals. And we achieve that by putting our client’s needs first in the list of priorities.
We also know that no two companies are the same. That’s why we pay attention to detail to find everything that makes our clients special, and bring to life their voice in the piece. That’s why we make sure to carefully listen to our client’s feedback, which we use to inform the entire production process.
This stage is all about the message you want to deliver to your audience.
Once the concept is born out of the creative brief and collaborative conversations between the video company and the brand, it’s time to sit down and write. As you can imagine, this is one of the most important parts of the video production process; the scriptwriter has to transform the initial core message into an engaging story.
You can choose to go with a straightforward approach – for example, a presentation of the product or service and an explanation of its features or benefits; or you can go with a more empathetic alternative and showcase a “problem/solution” kind of scenario.
Regardless, the script has to be memorable and intriguing, as well as keep the information simple and understandable – especially when covering a complex topic!
Pro-Tip: Within the first 10 seconds, you should give your viewers a good reason to stay – that is to say, you have to hook them! Find a unique angle, a catchy line, or a compelling question that keeps them watching!
Great animated videos are beautiful, eye-catching, and custom-made. They have a particular and unique style that represents the brand’s visual identity.
That’s why the visual style design has to be in sync with the brand’s guidelines.
At this stage, the creative minds behind the project develop tailored images – or “style frames” – that showcase what the video is going to look like in the end and how the viewer will interact with it.
Ok, now the video is starting to take shape.
A storyboard is the visual representation of every key moment described in the script. It looks a lot like a comic strip, and it’s used to provide a better idea of how the final piece is going to unfold combining the major elements: Visuals, script, animations, etc.
Through sketches and basic drawings, it also helps and directs the designer and animator to create and organize the scenes, transitions, and everything involved in the animation process.
And, even though its purpose is to help visualize the final output, it also serves as a medium to continue the adjustments and revisions – ensuring that the project is going in the right direction.
Deciding who’s going to tell the story is a crucial aspect of the animation production process – it’s what helps viewers connect on a more intimate level with your piece.
Whether your video has a laid-back approach or deals with a more technical or serious subject, it’s very important to find a voice artist that, male or female, matches the brand’s personality and reflects the intended audience.
With the adequate tone, cadence, and pace, the narrator will not only add empathy and a “human touch” to the script but also will help you reinforce the message you are trying to convey and its credibility.
We can’t stress this enough, the right voice talent can make or break your video, so do everything you can to get it right! 🙂
By now, the video production process is well underway!
Whether we are talking whiteboard, 3D, traditional explainer video, or whatever other style you end up choosing for your piece, this is the stage when the video comes alive. Animators roll up their sleeves and start the magic process of giving movement and dynamism to the illustrations and every graphic asset included.
Once the animation is finished – and take notice that this part is time-consuming, so patience is key – it’s time to sync it with the voice-over and add sound effects. And speaking of which…
Now, animation and sound are brought and layered together in the editing room.
The audio editor takes the voice-over recording to cut, snip, and edit what’s needed, and then synchronize it with the animation. They also add the music and sound effects, like scrolls, pop-ups or any other sound that can give an extra flair to the video.
Keep in mind that music sets the mood for the video, so if it suits perfectly, it can enhance the message you are conveying big time!
We made it!
After 6 to 7 weeks (on average), the animation process is finally finished!
This is when the client receives the finished piece for final approval. A few different pairs of eyes must take a look and check that nothing important is missing. If everything’s OK, this first version will also be the final one. But, truth be told, changes and final edits are not unheard of at this stage. You should compile them and send them to the production team.
Once the rounds of changes are done, be ready to share it and expect nothing but awesome results.
The final piece should be nothing short of a compelling, entertaining, and interesting piece that brings your company’s branding to the forefront, and delivers your message in the best possible way!
From start to finish, that’s a pretty comprehensive view at how the animation production process usually goes. Now you can see that developing an animated video that’s able to elevate your brand involves a lot of time, planning, expertise, and creativity, right?
You can start using this information to make your next project go much more smoothly. But if you still have doubts about the best way to work on your piece, don’t hesitate to contact us!
We’ll be more than happy to hear about what you need to accomplish and help you figure out an animation process that works for your marketing goals.