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Over the last few months, I’ve been working alongside a creative agency to produce one-minute animated explainer videos.

The video project is intended to explain both Pamoja Taught and School Taught, a tool that can be used to gain a better understanding of our products. This blog post will explain why we use videos in marketing and take you behind the scenes, showing what goes into making an animation.

Why video marketing?

Within digital marketing, videos such as these have become increasingly popular. But why is this? Research shows that 75% of customers prefer to learn about a product through a video, meaning videos have had to become a more popular marketing tool to reach customers. As consumer behaviour is constantly changing, and people’s attention spans are decreasing, videos allow businesses to quickly and effectively communicate their message to consumers. This is backed up by research showing that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when they have to read it. This, however, gives businesses the challenge of fitting the information they want to display into a video as short as one minute.

The creative process

What are the steps in creating an animation? Let me take you through the steps I followed below:

The brief

First there is the brief. This is written by the client and includes everything that you want to achieve from the videos. This will include things like objectives, who the target audience is, what style you want the video to be, a quick overview of what the products are and – of course – when the videos need to be finished.

The brief is important to ensure that you and the agency are on the same page from the beginning, and decreases the chance of any miscommunication about expectations.

The script and visual descriptions

The script is where the story for the video is created. This will either be written by script writers working for the agency, as in the case of my project, or the client will write the script. It is important that the script is not only accurate when talking about the business or product, but also sounds engaging and in line with the business’s tone of voice and key messages. When working on the script the client will be able to make edits and suggestions and make changes where necessary to ensure it is to everyone’s satisfaction.

In my experience, the script is best written alongside visual descriptions to give you an idea of which sections of the animation will go alongside which sections of the script.

Voice over and background music

The next part of the process is picking the audio. This involves picking the voice over artists you want to read the script over the animation. This may sound simple, but ensuring you have the right voice is crucial for engaging your target audience.

For example, for the Pamoja Taught animation, we wanted our voice over artist to sound friendly and upbeat, to appeal to a student demographic. This is similar for the background music; you want the music to fit with the theme of the video. You don’t want intense thriller music behind a happy animation of a student studying!

Style slides and storyboard

The next step is where you get to see the first visuals of the animation. Before the storyboard is started, the agency will send you style slides. These are used to show you the style of the frames and the characters in your animation, giving you the chance to change anything that you do not like. For example, the colours or the characters’ clothes. Once the style is decided the storyboard can then be designed. The storyboard is usually made up of rough sketches (black and white is fine at this stage) showing what will appear in each frame.

Illustration and animation

The final steps are the illustration and animation. The illustration stage brings more life to the storyboard by adding more colour to the frames and features to the characters. After this, the fun then begins with the animation of the video. This in simple terms is the process of animating the illustrations, pulling together all of the frames to create the final video.

As you can see from the above, there is a lot of work that goes into making even a short animation, and it is not a quick process. A lot of work is required from multiple people, and what I have learned from this process is that communication is key and listening to everyone else’s opinions will help you see things that maybe you hadn’t before.

Work closely with the agency and trust in their creative opinion. They know what they are doing. At the same time, however, remember not to lose sight of what you, the client, wanted to gain from the project in the first place and whether the final product is an accurate reflection. After all, you know your product best.

I hope this has given you an insight into the world of video marketing and animations! As for our particular Pamoja animations, watch this space as they will be up on the website and our YouTube channel very soon…

Thanks for reading,

Amiee

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