So what the bejesus are animated explainer videos, anyway?
Let’s take a nearer look at the structure of animated explainer videos.
Animated explainer videos should address most or all of the following 4 components, what I call The Four E’s of Explainer Videos.
- Impress upon
The term enlighten comes from the metaphor that ignorance is a state of being “in the dark, ” and that knowledge is illuminating. We all use enlighten as a verb meaning to “clear up, to remove confusion”… and that’s exactly what a good animated explainer movie can do. In a short while, they can make simpler complex concepts, bring clearness to your idea and provide those priceless light-bulb-above-the-head occasions you require to cut through the clutter.
To engage is to capture and maintain one’s attention. It’s no secret that attention spans are growing shorter in today’s multi-media world and people have less persistence for white papers, “eye charts” and text-heavy marketing materials. It’s not that these don’t have a place in your overall incorporated marketing mix (they do), but a good explainer video can quickly spoon-feed treasured information to your audience in an interesting, entertaining way. Video on the whole better engages the senses and presents information in a format that most people can more easily process and remember in a brief amount of time. Well-crafted animated explainers combine storytelling techniques, imagery, narration and music in a nice little package with a play symbol on it.
Whenever you illustrate, you provide details. Explicate came into English from a 14th-century French word espondre meaning “to elaborate” or “put forth. ” Explainer videos permit you to elaborate about topics that can be hard to explain with just words by yourself. Expounding is all about providing important information, and explainers can be specifically powerful tool for this. Note, expounding after a concept doesn’t mean that you need to be long-winded and create a 10-minute snoozer of a video. Just a couple of key points focused on main features and benefits can do wonders.
The word entice means to tempt someone by promising them something that they like. If a company really wants to hire you, they may attract you with a good salary and generous benefits. The promise of a gold star is often enough to entice small children to get good grades. And explainers often try to entice you with some sort of compelling call-to-action. “Call us for a totally free demo”, “download a free trail today,” “sign up now for free”… these are all typical calls-to-action applied to explainer videos. Many times, just informing your audience isn’t very enough- you want and need them to take some sort of action… and animated explainer videos may include a carrot without having to beat them over the head with a stick ala a late-night infomercial.