You’ve decided to make an explainer video. That’s great! But now you’re faced with that all-important question: Which animation provider should we go with?
A lot of the decision will come down to reviewing the prospective animation provider’s portfolio. But even then: What questions should you be asking yourself? And what questions should you be asking them? Choosing an animation provider isn’t just about selecting the quote-unquote “best” studio, but it’s also about finding the studio that best fits your company’s objectives. So to help you with that choice, we’ve put together a list of 7 tips to help you out:
1. Cast a Wide Net… : Your first step of the process—whether it’s an online search, review of colleague suggestions, or something else entirely—is as much about you educating yourself as it is about finding the right animation company.
So make sure to acquaint yourself with a wide variety of animation services in order to:
- Familiarize yourself with different techniques (i.e. whiteboard animation, 2D character animation, 3D animation etc.)
- Determine the things you don’t want in your video (it can be helpful to keep a list)
- Identify and best practices within your industry
- See what competitors have done recently, as well as companies in other sectors that may have some overlap with your brand or culture
2. …But Only Haul in a Handful of Candidates: After reviewing what’s out there, it’s likely that you’ll find at least one explainer at several studios that fits your fancy. While it may be tempting to contact all of them and at least begin a dialogue, just make sure to keep in mind that each conversation you begin will inevitably cost you time. So while you should definitely not just put all your eggs in one basket right away, try and make sure that you don’t end up using “too many baskets” either, as you’ll likely later regret it.
3. Try to Focus on Story: This is not always easy to do, especially if it’s your first time in the wide world of explainers, but when reviewing a studio’s portfolio, try to look beyond the art work and focus on how well the story is being told.
Don’t get us wrong, the quality of the art is incredibly, impeccably important, but the key here is to try and see not just how talented the animator is, but how talented the animator/studio are at conveying a message. How are they using animation to further the objectives of this video? How well do the script and the visuals sync up to convey a larger message? And, to help ensure long-term results, ask yourself is the video is memorable?
4. Originality is a Good Step on the Path to Something Memorable: In either aesthetics or narration (and typically in both), great explainer videos usually distinguish themselves. These videos are inventive in pitch-perfect, message-focused that way that enables them to stand out from the herd.
So when reviewing a portfolio, consider the animation provider’s ability to produce original content. Do their videos look different (and uniquely tailored) for different clients, or does all their stuff kind of look the same?
5. Don’t Just Look at What’s in the Portfolio, but also Look at Who: It’s often a good idea to look at who else the animator provider has worked with. This is not to say you should select the studio who has the most impressive roster of clients (people watching your video aren’t going to care who else had videos made from the same place) but looking at their past clients can provide insight into things like this:
- Does the animation provider appear to have experience working with an agency?
- Are they capable of providing a quality of content that matches your distribution technique (i.e. broadcast, landing page, etc.)
- Have they demonstrated an ability to successfully create content in your sector?
6. Look for the Hook: A strong explainer video is conscious of the fact that it must attract, earn and keep a viewer’s attention. Given that the average attention span is only 8 seconds long, you should look for an animation provider whose work consistently reflects an ability to hook the viewer. This needs to happen quickly and early on. It needs to get viewers invested and curious about what will happen next.
You should also weigh how the video is hooking the viewer. Is the content that’s grabbing their interest just creative pyrotechnics, or is there substance to this material that actually feeds into the larger, overall message?
7. Do They Listen When You Talk? : Creating an explainer video is not a one-way street. The final video needs to meet your objectives and that’s not going to happen unless the animation provider listens to your feedback.
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