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Ten Years of Awesomeness and Explainer Videos: Ten Things We’ve Learned

This week we celebrated our ten year anniversary of being a company! That’s right, on September 23rd, 2010, Next Day Animations incorporated as a one-person shop with a handful of clients. Ten years later, our staff has grown and we’ve partnered with hundreds of amazing clients. Amid our birthday celebrations, which included a touching toast and sharing photos of ourselves as ten-year-olds, we have also taken some time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the past ten years. 

We asked our Productions team, and here are ten of our greatest lessons from years of perfecting the art of the explainer video.  

Structure & Storytelling

  • Funny is better. (We’ve even made an entire video about this.)
  • Incorporate an “endcute”– end the video with a call-back or reference to something that happened earlier in the video.
  • One minute is plenty for a three act structure: 1) Audience/problem, 2) Solution, 3) Call to Action!
  • Showing a character overcome a challenge/obstacle can be really effective for marketing, because humans invest in stories

Characters & Imagery

  • Caricatures of people are actually more effective in making information stick than photos, because our brains are hard-wired to recognize differences. This is why animation works so well, as it exaggerates the real world visually.
  • The audience doesn’t always need to be 100% perfectly represented in your animation. These videos can be aspirational, and about broadening your reach.
  • Simplicity truly does work. Don’t overload the viewer with information;  be concise, clear, and visually interesting. A simple, visual icon can stand for so much more. (A mere football and basketball can become “youth sports” with the correct context or voiceover.)

How People Learn 

  • Movement on the screen helps keep the viewer engaged and helps the brain remember that information.
  • Text highlighting key ideas or information from the voiceover helps make that information stick, and carefully syncing the voiceover and visuals reinforces the most important ideas
  • Beware the “curse of knowledge” and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself: what about your organization or product is going to matter most to them? And focus on that. 

And in thinking about these lessons, one thing is clear: we couldn’t have learned all this or made it ten years without our amazing clients. 

So, you’re probably wondering: How do I celebrate this important moment??

You’re in luck! We have a whole year of being ten years old, and we’re planning to take advantage of every second.