4 Ways a Custom Animation Can Help You Engage Customers and Donors

You have an audience.

You can’t see them. You can’t hear the applause. But you are communicating. Whether you want to or not. No communication….is communication.

And a business without vision goes nowhere. We all know that. But the bigger tragedy is when a great vision-based business fails to communicate with their customers or donors. It’s a waste of great potential. All simply because we couldn’t say the right things or present the idea clearly enough. Imagine being on a stage with everyone looking at you….but the microphone is turned off. That’s unfortunately what happens with many businesses and non-profits. No one hears it.

Every baby big idea gets to a point when it must cast a vision. And in today’s internet media saturated market…the bad news is that there’s many other voices out there. The good news is that you can reach the customer and say what you’ve always wanted to say. And not just blab into a black void, but actually create a responding community.

I’m an animator. But that’s not really my job. I consider myself a teacher first. I used to teach 7th Graders and 9th Graders and I was presented on a daily basis ways of showing otherwise very boring things in a truly exciting and engaging way. And what I found out was that my teenagers didn’t listen very long. But as time went on I realized that adults…listen even less. And since then I’ve challenged myself to find ways in which to communicate that keeps attention but gives a lot of information at the same. That’s the paradigm at which all of my animations, videos and films have operated.

So here are four reasons your business or non-profit could use a small media component — like a custom animation — that clearly communicates who you are.

1). Communicate the Abstract
Every non-profit or company operates around a big idea. And often times that big idea is very difficult to communicate. There’ s a lot of moving parts to every business. And in some cases it’s nearly impossible to communicate all the nuts and bolts in a 1:30 worth of video. Not to mention…boring. So often it’s necessary to communicate the bird’s eye view of the vision and mission of the company. I sometimes write scripts for my clients. But most of the time my clients write their scripts for me and what I’ve found is that they all want to communicate the big ideas. The vague ideas about things like community, knowledge, effort, or prosperity. How does one communicate the idea of say “peace”? Do you show a river? Do you show a white flag? What animation does is it allows you…the vision caster….to say some very abstract deeper things that otherwise would be confused, lost or ignored in other forms of media.

2). Cost efficiency
I’ve had the privilege (and I truly mean that) to make content for some nearly broke companies. Small companies that have literally paid me from their child’s college fund. A lot of times my clients ask me, “Do you think we should shoot some interviews with real people or do something animated?” But what I’ve found is that they often can’t afford to literally show and shoot some of the ideas they hope to communicate. Film production is getting cheaper than ever before, but even so…after equipment, crew, actors, props and wardrobe it costs a hefty amount. And in some cases wasn’t effective after all. Animation is a simple, faster and easier way to accomplish more for your client. It requires only a few creative people and gives the client much more control. Obviously there is time when a real human face is necessary and can’t be replaced. But on a time and money conscious budget…animation answers a lot of questions.

3). Educational component
I’ve often heard it said that nothing is more expensive than teaching your customers. Business have spent thousand if not millions trying to explain their products to customers. The entire “info-mercial” industry is based on that. Show them step by step. This of course often results in a changed channel or bored viewers. Who wants to watch an instruction manual? No one reads the instructions. But what if you have a product that is so cutting edge no one knows how to you use it? What if everyone got it, you could save people a lot of time and effort and make money? So you must educate. With animation, there’s a way to quickly and creatively communicate otherwise very dull information. And it’s not simply about moving colors and patterns across a screen. It’s about an intertwined art form of writing and visuals that can keep attention and engage an audience to think along with you…not thinking at them.

4). Clear brand identity
Another advantage of animation is that it gives you a way to create an “identity”. And that means a lot of things. It could mean colors. It could mean a logo. Maybe typeface? It could mean a grit. It could mean a cleanliness. It’s the handle by which audiences RECOGNIZE your brand amongst the barrage of other materials out there. What makes Apple the “Apple”? White. Minimal. Simple. What makes McDonald’s? Arches. Yellow. Red. Clowns. What makes the Obama Administration? A muted blue. A circle with a sun rising. Classy typeface. These things create “identity” or better put “association”. Because animation is almost entirely graphic or illustration based, it allows for plenty of ways to create a set of colors, or a logo, or simply a typeface that audiences might want to subscribe to.

You’re communicating something to your audience. It might be a bland website that says, “We don’t think anyone comes here.” Or it might be the cheapest set of business cards that says, “We don’t really care about quality”. Or it might be an overly-produced polished in-authentic spokesperson in an expensive unoriginal commercial that smells a bit like cheese. Either way you cut it…you’re communicating. Why not make it the right communication?

Ryan Scott is an accomplished presenter and animator and in that role, he still teaches. When he’s not making amazing moving pictures for CiV Digital clients, he’s likely thinking about it.

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