A New Category of Animation
When Explaining your Value Proposition is not enough
The problem with traditional explainer videos is, in fact, encapsulated in the name: Explainer Video.
The Explainer Video, at least the ones meant to convert interest into action … explains the brand's core offering, more specifically, the value of that offering. It also gives the audience an insight into who you are, what differentiates you and why you're worth talking to.
The Explainer Video's purpose is to create understanding.
The definition of understanding I like to use is this: Understanding is the process of gathering information and connecting it together so the information becomes useful.
The Explainer Video, if done correctly, creates a well-crafted network of useful information bits. Hence, the audience grasps what you offer, why it has value and why you're the one they should get it from.
So far, so good. However, understanding does not automatically translate into action.
When you need to explain to someone how to do something or how a process or system functions, you basically need to make sure they understand the information and how it fits together and behaves over time. That's the role of an Explainer animation. You need more than understanding when you want someone to act on your call-to-action. You need conviction. THE FACTS
We know from research that the mind cannot make decisions without feelings or emotions being involved.
Research by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio has shown that people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated can't make decisions. There has to be some sense of conviction, trust, confidence, excitement, fear, anger, hope, or any other emotion that will trigger the decision.
That is because feelings and emotions are used to prioritise one option over another.
Without emotions, all the options that are presented are of equal value. In fact, they are experienced by the mind as having NO value - and the mind cannot decide between things of zero value.
The more intense that feeling or emotion associated with an information bit is, the more likely it is to be selected.
Suppose someone is watching an Explainer Video and already has a deep-seated need and desire for the product on offer. In that case, the explanation will likely be enough to make them take action. The priority boosting effect of the already active emotions adds a certain probability of tipping the balance favouring the call to action. However, only about 3% of your target audience, those actively looking for your solution, will have those emotions in place.
THE ALTERNATIVE What's the alternative? This is where the new video category comes into play: what I call Persuader Animations or Persuader Videos.
A Persuader animation is structured and driven by the art and science of persuasion. The focus is not just on facilitating understanding but on … persuasive sense-making.
Sense-making, in this context, is the process of binding the understanding you create to the person's core needs and then boosting the emotions that drive those needs. The core philosophy is that your offer only makes SENSE to someone when it triggers an emotional reaction connected to one or more of their core needs. They have to FEEL the value to THEM. They need to feel excited, encouraged, hopeful, convinced, eager, happy, motivated and energised about the value TO THEM. That value is a meaningful improvement in their well-being status. It is only at the point where that kind of value makes SENSE that it becomes persuasive.
THE MECHANICS INVOLVED Let's quickly look at the basic mind mechanics involved: our needs are always bound to one or more negative emotion. Why? Well, needs are what we have to do to maintain or improve our well-being. The negative emotion is there to prioritise the fulfilment of a particular need. In other words: "hey, give attention to this need". The need is only a high priority because of the intensity of the emotion. So, a need bound to active fear is a higher priority than one bound to mild concern.
When we encounter something that promises to fulfil that need, the mind binds a positive emotion to prioritise pursuing that solution. The more intense the need's negative emotion, and the more imminent and likely the solution is to fulfil that need, the more intense the positive emotion that gets loaded. If the priority is high enough, we become consciously aware of it.
The sense-making process takes your message and binds it to someone's core needs. Then it amplifies the negative emotions associated with that need while at the same time binding and triggering a series of positive emotions to the solution you offer.
The result is that the person does not only understand the value of the proposition; they understand it in the context of their active core needs while also experiencing the emotional triggers that prioritise it.
Here, the power of animation really comes into play. Animation allows you to use high-impact visual communication techniques to augment and amplify the rational argument. And this means, if done correctly, you end up with a heightened emotional experience and, therefore, an increase in persuasiveness.
Sense-making is a critical element that turns an Explainer Animation into a #Persuader Animation.
Sure, if you want to explain how to install composite decking or what Powers of Attorney is, then use an Explainer Video. If, however, you want to convert a lead into a sale, you need a Persuader Animation. THE CHALLENGE
Now, integrating the understanding you create into someone's core needs is what the art and science of persuasion are all about. It requires three additional narratives to the rational one to be truly effective:
A well thought through Emotional narrative.
A Visual narrative that augments the rational narrative and boosts the emotional narrative.
And a Primer narrative that prepares the groundwork for the rational and emotional narratives. This is so the information loaded into the pre-conscious is as supportive as possible to your message.
In the next blog, I will discuss the four narratives in more detail.
Hope you found this interesting and useful.