You’d say I’m nuts if I told you that cartoon animation videos are perfect for humanizing your brand. But before you set out to commit me to a mental institution, hear me out. I know you must probably feel that humanizing is something that should be left to, well, humans! However, believing that showing human faces is the only way to do it is plain wrong.
I’ll be more than happy to explain that in detail. But I have to start from a premise, and here it is: your brand is as human as your message. A human brand is not the one that has an About us page with the team photos but one that puts its customers and their needs in the spotlight. It’s the one that tries to create genuine engagement with every communication instance.
And cartoon videos are fantastic for that. Let me break it down for you.
The message as the cornerstone of humanization
The idea of humanizing your brand surely came to you after you understood that people are more reluctant than ever to engage with faceless corporations. We’re living in the age of emotional marketing, where personalization is key and where all relationships are understood as unique.
In that context, it’s easy to think that people will be more likely to engage with your brand if they see ‘a human’ talking to them. But that’s a simplistic approach to a more complex problem. Humanization goes beyond what’s onscreen and gets to the very core of the communications – the message itself.
The message (AKA what you say) is as important as the channels (AKA how you say it). The aim for the people watching your video is for your message to feel real. If your target audience can relate to what you say, they’ll see your brand as a valuable source.
And what should you be saying? What sets you apart from everyone else. If your message sounds like the ones from your competitors, then people will feel you’re only trying to go after their money. You need to convince them you know who they are and the problems they have and, after that, offer them a solution.
The path you are pursuing here is this: people see your brand as someone that had the same issue they’re having; they see your company as someone they can identify with; they pay attention to see the solution you offer for that problem. If you’re true to yourself and honest about what you’re offering, then chances are you’ll be seen as reliable and open more communication instances for further convincing them. People connect with your values and mission, with how you perceive the world. That’s why you should be straightforward with your message and aim directly to your target audience. This brings a transparency that will be associated with a feeling of “hey, this company knows what I’m going through” – a depiction of human empathy.
Now, you can use real actors to show that. But nothing prevents you from using cartoon animation videos as well, simply because the human touch comes from the message. In fact, you’d be better off with animated videos, because there are so many benefits to them you wouldn’t be wise if you ignore them. For instance…
Cartoon videos are as flexible as you need them to be
Why would you care about flexibility when humanizing your brand? Because if the message is where it all begins, you’ll need to mold your videos around it. And there’s nothing more frustrating than the limitations that come with a certain medium. Let’s say you decided to go with live action videos for your marketing strategy. You’ll be limited to using real actors (or actors in disguise), real locations and real props to make your message mature. Now, depending on your budget, your choices will be more or less restricted. You’ll have to consider your budget possibilities and even the plausibility of the story you craft around your message. All of that is gone with cartoon animation videos. Want to tell a story through a werewolf that’s got a sweet tooth? Go for it. Need characters as college students to go see their favorite band on Jupiter? There’s nothing stopping you. With animation the limits only exist in your creativity.
There are 2 major aspects in which you can make this flexibility work in your favor and help in the quest for humanizing your brand. The first one is the characters. If you’ve read enough about video marketing, then you’ll know that people are more willing to engage if they can relate with what happens on screen – especially in business videos. For that to happen, the audience needs to put themselves in the situation they are watching. That’s why characters are so important to generate that engagement. They need to facilitate that identification process because, if it happens, then people will be more receptive to what you’re trying to say. In other words, they’ll see your brand as someone that “gets them.” So, the flexibility you get with cartoon videos will work with you here. You won’t have to cast the perfect actor for your audience to click. You’ll only need to create a character from scratch with the basic traits of your target audience. Basically, you’ll need characters that look, talk and behave like your target audience to make the identification process easier.
The situation is the other flexible aspect that justifies picking cartoon animation videos. Developing the right characters is only a part of a bigger picture. People don’t just have to see themselves in the characters but also feel that said characters face the same problems they face. Of course, you can use animation to exaggerate or simplify an issue to make it clearer or more entertaining. That’s when the flexibility is key. With the empathy I’ve mentioned above at the center of your message, you can create any situation you want to make your audience feel there is a brand that not only knows about the problem they are facing – they also know how to solve it.
Unique aesthetics for a unique audience
You, me and everyone else is tired of watching the same company videos again and again. Enough with the claps, the ukuleles, the smiling bearded guys and all that! It’s like most companies understood the value of having marketing videos but didn’t get the memo on the other relevant factor – personality. Think about it. When you meet new exciting people, what gets you to “engage” with them is their personality and how unique they are. You wouldn’t hook up with someone that’s the incarnation of a stereotype. The same goes for marketing videos. If you decide to go with the claps, the ukulele and the beard, then don’t act surprised if people storm through the doors the second they push the play button. You need to be different to feel real! And cartoon animation videos are amazing to achieve that. There are so many cartoon styles out there (and more waiting to be created from zero) that you surely can find one that suits your brand. Showing a unique aesthetic (different from your competitors, from the industry, from everyone else) speaks about who you are as a business – a group of people trying to connect.
Putting special attention on how you look is just another way of saying “look, we get it, we are also tired of the gazillion videos that look the same.” It’s a way to make a stand and even wink at your target audience – it’s creative, it’s human. Combine that with a powerful and honest message and you’ll see how people start seeing you as a brand that cares. And what’s more human than that?
There’s a concern I didn’t address thus far that I thought I should at least mention. Many people believe that cartoon animation videos aren’t good for humanizing your brand simply because they aren’t mature enough. The insane amount of adult cartoons out there should be enough proof to dismiss those concerns. I’ll say this, however: you’re as mature as your message, cartoon videos or not. That’s probably your takeaway here. “Brand humanity” isn’t just a bunch of faces on a website or a recognizable face in a series of videos – even when those things are must-haves for humanizing a brand. It’s more of an attitude, a vibe that goes across all your marketing materials and instances. People will engage with you as long as you are transparent, honest and speak to them through unfiltered messages. What you use to do exactly that is up to you and your desire to take your brand in one direction or the other. With that being said, cartoon videos have plenty of benefits that go well beyond humanizing your brand. They are affordable, they can be updated fairly easily, they can create a sense of nostalgia like no other style and they fit any product or business. If you combine that with what I’ve said here, you’ll understand why you should consider them for your marketing strategies. Now that you know all this, you have a decision to make. On one hand, you can follow the path everyone else is following, do the same kind of videos they are doing and talk to an audience that’s had it with marketing copycats. Or, on the contrary, you can use cartoon videos to stir your marketing up and become the unique kid in your neighborhood. Think the latter is your best option? I thought so. Give Yum Yum Videos a call and let’s work together in humanizing your brand through some amazing videos!