How to Extract Maximum Value from Your Animation Projects
Animation marketing has become the calling card of many innovative, forward-thinking brands. It’s not hard to understand the appeal of the genre; after all, animation is amazingly effective at capturing attention. This quality makes the medium a highly potent method of communication — and an incredibly valuable marketing tool.
But it isn’t just the ability to captivate audiences that makes animation an ideal choice for product marketing and branding campaigns. It’s this: Animation offers nearly endless opportunities to extend the value of the original asset and augment the reach of associated marketing efforts.
If you’re only paying attention to the primary goal of your animation video, it’s easy to overlook just how much added value can be extracted from your project. And, in doing so, you’re missing out on quite a bit. The fact is, your original animation can easily generate an entire library of secondary marketing assets capable of seeding multiple, evergreen communication initiatives and engagement points.
Realizing evergreen value in your visual and design systems
No one pays for video production without a need or a pain point. Animation projects are commissioned to support strategic marketing objectives in:
- Advertising (product promotion and brand awareness)
- Product launches (introductory campaigns)
- Social media (audience engagement)
- Education (communicating complicated ideas/concepts in an easily digestible manner)
And every marketing animation video is created with a specific goal in mind, such as:
- Generating customer leads
- Reducing friction for early adopters
- Growing a following on a social media channel
- Increasing brand awareness
- Making it easier for customers to understand a product
A considerable amount of work goes into creating those captivating animations, and a lot of that heavy lifting happens in the pre-production stage. Before backgrounds, environments, themes and characters come alive, a distinct visual aesthetic has to be developed and cultivated.
This process — an evolution of successively intricate moodboards, style frames and storyboards — forms the stylistic foundation of your animation project. The resulting set of deliverables establishes the visual and design systems of the project. These are the building blocks used to develop your “final” product — the animation.
From a bottom line perspective, these systems can be more valuable than your motion-graphic end-product. The brainstorming, creative concepting and iterative development of those stylistic guidelines requires a lot of time to be produced and reviewed, but after it’s done, it can be leveraged to produce any number of additional creative assets. In fact, it can be (strongly) argued that the effort is rather wasted on a single animated asset.
Extending the marketing value of your animation projects
Animation is popular with marketing professionals because it allows them to create easily scalable, highly adaptable, unique branded assets in a controlled and predictable manner. Every element of an animation is created from the ground up. This means absolutely everything can be tailored to match a brand’s visual style and language. It also means that all the individual pieces that make up the animation can be customized and repurposed for a second and third act.
Your animation is not just a single deliverable — it’s intellectual property that can be leveraged repeatedly to satisfy multiple marketing goals and objectives.
Turning a live-action production into a still campaign, for example, would require starting the shoot from scratch (and paying for it again) — hiring the same actors, booking the same location, etc. Creating a still of your animated characters, on the other hand, is a breeze. An animated character can also be tailored to appeal to distinct audience groups and modified to fit the specialized requirements of a multitude of marketing channels. You can even commission a whole family of characters to support your secondary marketing needs, all without blowing your budget.
The customizability of animation and the visual systems you built allow you to easily and cost-effectively expand the reach of your marketing campaigns by creating an entire suite of secondary marketing assets.
Creating secondary marketing assets
What are some examples of easy-to-produce secondary animation assets? Stills are a great way to pull your animation off the screen and generate impressions in the real world (posters, life-size cut-outs, framed prints, etc.). They can also be deployed digitally to punch up the visual appeal of your website, app, or social media feed.
Your animated characters are a terrific source of additional creative collateral. Licensing your characters and launching a merchandising program (t-shirts, hats, posters, etc.) can be a great way to drive revenue (and potentially recoup some of your initial investment). And you can lean on your visual and design systems to generate new characters as the needs of your marketing initiatives evolve.
Almost any individual element of your original animation can be tweaked or teased out to create additional marketing impact, including:
- Short clips or loops
- Typographic animations
- Character voices or taglines
You can also produce several versions of your animation that vary in length (5-second, 15-second, 30-second, etc.) for use across multiple channels and contexts.
Animation assets for cross-channel marketing campaigns
Repetition is often necessary to create a memorable impression on a target audience. As such, the attention-grabbing qualities of animation are extremely useful in cross-channel marketing campaigns where the goal is to reach potential customers in multiple ways.
The secondary assets you develop can be the perfect fuel to communicate with your target audience wherever they hang out — online or off.
Animation assets to support website goals
Animated marketing assets can also be used to enhance a brand’s marquee promotional instrument — its website. Getting users to stick around long enough to absorb your message on an e-commerce or business site is notoriously difficult. Animation provides a thrilling visual experience and a way to keep the attention of your visitors a bit longer.
You can deploy stills or short animated loops to enhance the site’s visual design and user experience. Or you can go a step further and leverage secondary animated assets to guide website visitors on the journey to becoming customers. Your family of animated characters could help your website visitors find the value of your solutions — and increase conversions on your product pages as much as 90% in the process.
Your next animation project can become a portfolio of marketing assets
A great marketing campaign is like a successful financial portfolio — the performance of both is optimized through diversification. A sound financial planning strategy minimizes risk and maximizes the opportunity for above-average returns with a wide range of assets. Your animation strategy should, too.
Many innovative brands are choosing to reach their customers and share their narratives through animation marketing. But some are stopping short and leaving good gains and results on the table.
The impact of animation extends beyond just a video deliverable. An animation project is an investment in an entire creative ecosystem — a portfolio of marketing assets that can be reused in many ways. With the right animation strategy, you can scale and customize your marketing campaigns, maximize the reach of your brand and get the most value from your investment.