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How Animation Plays A Key Role In The Art of Strategic Storytelling?

Jan 5, 2018 9:38:47 AM

Storytelling has been an integral part of our lives and I believe we’re all compulsive storytellers. Hungry to hear good stories, recite them, be a part of them, share them and most importantly, decipher a message out of them. ( Indians have a traditional culture of Sruti, meaning what you hear and Smriti, meaning remember to pass down the tales of yore! ). Think about it, our elders recited to us great fairy-tales and epic mythological battle-stories even before our kindergarten! Why?- To instill values which make us grounded and help us distinguish between good and bad and what’s right and what’s wrong.

Fast forward a few years, and the same set of elders including our school teachers told us stories of success and achievements alike by individuals we knew and could relate to (I will forever curse my next-door neighbor’s son to be a scholar!). Why?- These stories were told to us to give us a broad direction on the path we should follow and some motivation too.

Basically, our parents and elders were master strategists who used the art of storytelling as a medium to get their implicit (sometimes explicit) message across to us.

Let me give you another real example of how storytelling and strategy, now coupled with visuals will give the best results. Early 1930’s saw the advent of motion pictures with audio. During the scenes, the director had to figure out a way to not make the on-screen characters look idle-and thus odd- when they weren’t talking. Hence, the director insisted that the actors smoke during the scenes.

Little did they know this act will lead to a 200% increase in the sales of cigarettes in the United States. The magical effect of storytelling in a video format combined with the aspirational value of the actors left the general public seeking out cigarettes like perhaps people of today do with a new iPhone launch.

That was it. The epiphany, THE moment advertisers figured out the importance of a video in telling their story. Overnight, the concept of commercial videos was drafted. By, the late 1930’s the first commercial video was launched and subsequently changed the world of advertising.

The advertising industry has not looked back since then. Creating beautiful content in the form of compelling videos to get their message out (the message which aids the overarching strategy) has become the norm of the advertising industry. New technology to produce those videos keeps rejuvenating the lifecycle stage in which the video production industry operates; from live imagery to simple animation, whiteboard videos to motion flicks and premium infographics, 3D content to virtual reality videos- but they all establish a storyboard to get their message across, all with the undercurrent of a grand plan, a strategy.

Here, I’d like to talk about the role animation plays in relaying the message and aiding the overall strategy. Whether you’re a Kickstarter, a partner, a non-profit, or a global organization- animated content is definitely an option to send the right message across and achieve your objective. Animation even stands the test of time, it can be re-used and re-purposed which leads to tremendous cost savings.

Moreover, I feel that animation is boundary-less and timeless. Think Jungle Book’s Mowgli or the notorious Tom and Jerry series or even The Lion King. Any person in any corner of any hemisphere will know of the above cartoons. Dropbox, Facebook, Apple, Google & IBM are among the hoards of giants companies which have taken to animation as their subject matter can sometimes be too complex for live action videos. Some other points below show animation trumps the use of live-action videos for a business, an individual or the government.

  • Engaging: Animation can transcend beyond the limitations of live properties, enabling businesses to communicate in a more concise and visually engaging format.
  • Explainable: Opportunity to explain abstract concepts in a simple yet engaging fashion
  • Future Proof: Freedom to alter assets at a later date and for varied purposes
  • Timeless: Unlike live action, good animation does not show the age but relevance.
  • Storytelling: Animation enables your businesses to show the workflow of your services without heavily investing in the representation of each process
  • Neutrality: Animation could be developed to address a variety of audiences as the theme and concept to deliver the message could be controlled to appeal to a wide variety of people.

Another extension of animated videos we see these days are the emoticons or emojis. Crisp, concise time saving, yet self-explanatory and colorful. They substitute words and texts and still able to deliver the right messaging.

So the point I am trying to make here is- ‘if a picture can say a thousand words, a video; a million words, but an animated video; the right words’.

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