This is why animations are cutting through

In a world full of complex stories and a dearth of time to sift through them all, animation’s stock just keeps rising. 

That’s not just among B2C brands or influencers, either. Often driven by comms and marketing teams staffed by digital natives, corporates are increasingly taking advantage of the immediacy, flexibility and convenience that the medium provides.

But what exactly is it that audiences love about animations?

Scroll-stopping stuff

Research shows that we retain more information if it’s accompanied by a relevant image. 

Of course, social media posts often use an accompanying image. But with 70% of marketers using content marketing, that image needs to both be relevant and stand out. A well-chosen static picture paired with compelling copy can go a long way towards cutting through. Video – now the most commonly used content marketing format – often goes even further. 

But animations can combine the best of both worlds. They have the bold colours and striking text to grab attention. And they have the movement and sound to hold it.

What really stops people scrolling, though? Take a look at this example. It’s clever and visually appealing with the slightest of movement – just enough to get attention.

A blank canvas

Animated content is unique because you have control over every aspect of what you’re producing. Everything can be tailored to your brand and audience. 

Accenture’s animation brings together all of the things it wants to communicate about its cloud projects in one relatable and eye-catching image. 

At the same time, it adds a warm, human touch to a technical subject. And crucially it’s bathed in the company’s instantly recognisable hue. Tech? Check. Purple? Check. You know it’s Accenture without even having to see the logo.

Brands including EY and McKinsey are also doing interesting things in this space, combining the work they’re known for with fresh graphics and concise, captivating copy that demands attention.

Complex stories

The above example, on which Formative Content worked with McKinsey, brings us to another aspect of animations – they’re a brilliant way to communicate complex information.

We’re seeing a move away from the detailed infographics that were popular a few years ago. Today, bold and easy-to-understand content is both vital and getting real engagement.

So what does this look like in practice? In our experience, it’s best to start small. Choose one message or story to illustrate – and make sure it’s clear from the start what that message is.

Consider this animation we created for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Describing how a centuries-old Japanese philosophy can help businesses today could result in information overload.

But not here. As the explanation unfolds, so does the animation, with an almost hypnotic effect as the viewer is guided through the story. It brings a hard-to-illustrate concept to life in an engaging way that would be tricky to pull off in any other medium.

The bigger picture

It’s now cheaper and easier than ever to animate, with monthly software subscriptions and new technology increasing accessibility. But when it comes to cutting through the noise of social media, quality is key. You’ll need a real wordsmith to craft the copy, as well as a visual storyteller to work alongside them and collaborate on honing the perfect piece of content.

If you can’t do this in-house, an agency like ours with expertise in both written and visual storytelling will be able to help. Or – if budgets are a bit tighter – you can find a freelancer on a site such as Upwork.com. 

Of course, your animations are likely to form part of a wider content strategy. 

In our experience, they can enhance a traditional text-based story as an alternative way to deliver the message. Or a short animation can tell one part of a wider story, linking to a piece of deep-dive content.

Whatever you do, though, remember your animations will be more effective if they’re embedded in your strategy from the start. Think about how the viewer will move from the animation to an outcome – whether that’s building brand awareness or increasing clicks or engagement – and end the piece with an appropriate call to action.

Get it right, and your animations will be worth their weight however you measure them.

READ MORE:

What is brand journalism, and why do I need it?

3 ways to create data-driven content

If you would like to know more about creating compelling animations, please email gay@formativecontent.com

About the author: Gay Flashman is the CEO and founder of Formative Content. Last year, she was named in Thrive Global’s Top Female Creatives of 2019 list. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Or if you would like to find out more about her recently published book ‘Powerful B2B Content – Using Brand Journalism to Create Compelling and Authentic Storytelling’ click here.

Gay Flashman - CEO, Formative Content
Author:Gay Flashman - CEO, Formative Content