Explainer Videos: Why You Can’t Do Without Them

The curse of knowledge doesn’t just plague professors and scientists. If you’re a marketer, it affects you too. Nobody understands your product better than you – and it’s easy to forget that while you’re selling it, you’re talking to an audience that starts with a blank slate. They may have no idea about what your product does or what its special technical specifications mean. 

Imagine a prospect landing on your beautiful website, frowning over a dense wall of technical jargon and intricate specifications, and leaving confused and disinclined to pursue the product further. 

That’s where an explainer video could have made things easier, taken the prospect by the hand, and led them through an interesting visual journey to understand how these specifications translate to benefits. Maybe, it could have even helped them see themselves using the product!

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. What is an explainer video
  2. Why explainer videos are effective
  3. Types of explainer videos
  4. How to create an explainer video

What is An Explainer Video?

An explainer video serves as a brief visual guide to a product, service, or idea to prospective clients. Typically, it preemptively addresses fundamental queries that might surface in a potential customer’s mind, exploring aspects like challenges, solutions, functionalities, usage, and the value of a product or service. In some cases, it even provides insight into how the business works.

Here’s a video we made on MSR’s water purification technology for the Army. It explains not only the product but also the SBIR program itself. 

MSR / Cascade Designs – SBIR Promotional Video – Rock Creek Productions (rock-creek.com)

Why Explainer Videos Are Effective

1. It’s your salesperson that never sleeps

Much like your website, blog, and other static marketing materials, your explainer video stands ready at all times to sell. Through strategic placement and persuasive storytelling, explainer videos can guide viewers toward taking desired actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for more information.

2. It boosts your online visibility

Search engines prioritize video content. Putting up a quality explainer video on your website can significantly improve your SEO ranking, drawing more traffic to your site. A quick, bite-sized video is also more likely to be shared across social media platforms, enabling your message to spread and reach a wider audience.

3. It clarifies your prospects’ understanding of the product

Dense jargon and complicated diagrams create friction in the purchasing process. The idea is to help your prospect glide down your channel of marketing touchpoints and feel that your product is the obvious choice. That can only be accomplished if the prospect clearly understands your product. A video is the best way to accomplish that.

4. It standardizes your business’ messaging

Businesses often encounter the challenge of ensuring consistent messaging. Explainer videos provide a standardized way of describing a product or service, ensuring every viewer receives the same information. You can even use an explainer video as an internal tool to train your employees on the product features.

Types Of Explainer Videos

As a tech company, you’ll want to look at three main types of filmmaking for your explainer videos.

1. Animated explainer videos

Animated explainer videos are fun, engaging, and loved by all. You’ll normally see two types of animated explainer videos: 

  • 2D animation: This technique uses two-dimensional environments and characters, providing a flat visual style that’s easy on the eyes and effectively conveys messages with simple visuals.

    This video uses 2D animation to explain the process of ocean acidification:
NOAA PMEL – Ocean Carbon Exchange – Rock Creek Productions (rock-creek.com)
  • 3D animation: Introduces a three-dimensional graphical space, offering a depth that allows more realistic and dynamic visual storytelling.

  • Whiteboard animation: Features drawings being created on a whiteboard, accompanied by narration, effectively illustrating and explaining concepts in a sequential, easy-to-follow manner. These are also referred to as sketchnotes.

Here’s an example of our custom drawn whiteboard animations that were used in introductory overview videos for multiple DHS Centers of Excellence including the Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis Center at George Mason University.

CINA Center at George Mason University – DHS Center of Excellence – Rock Creek Productions (rock-creek.com)

2. Live-action explainer videos

Live-action videos that use real people, animals, and objects, as opposed to animated or computer-generated imagery (CGI). It involves capturing footage of real-life subjects in real settings. These settings can either be in-studio or on location.

  • In-studio filming takes place in a controlled environment like a studio, ensuring high-quality visuals and sound while enabling the use of various props, settings, and professional lighting. For instance, major chunks of this video are made in a studio setting:
NAGB – What is Geography? – Rock Creek Productions (rock-creek.com)

  • On-location filming offers a realistic and relatable setting, capturing the authenticity of environments like an office, an outdoor setting, or any specific real-world location.

3. Screencast explainer videos

Primarily employed for software and application demonstrations, these videos capture screen operations and often include a voiceover explaining the actions taking place, making them ideal for explaining software functionality.

How To Create An Explainer Video

An explainer video follows the same production process as any other video, but when you’re working with our team at Rock Creek Productions, we have some specific advice for you. 

1. Define your objective and content

 At Rock Creek Productions, we always advise our clients to come to us with clarity over their message. Clearly define the product, service, or concept you want to explain. Before production, decide on the key takeaways you want your audience to retain after watching the video.

2. Discuss style and customization

 As we described above, explainer videos can take on diverse forms. Is there a particular form you have in mind? Are there specific brand considerations? We’re happy to help you brainstorm during this part of the creative process.

3. Check off your pre-production list

While pre-production, production and post-production are our domain, there will often be resources that your team needs to gather. This may include people you might want to feature in the video, like your founder, CEO, or certain employees. You will also need to provide the product and the relevant materials we’ll need to make a video on it. 

Need a 101 on the pre-production process? Check out our guide here.

4. Feedback

Once your video is made, there will be a feedback process, where you’ll be able to provide your input on the final output. You’ll receive the video in predetermined formats that you can directly use for your website, social media, and any other platforms you have in mind.

The Best Brand Video Production in DC

Crafting an explainer video is not merely a marketing strategy; it’s an empathetic approach towards fostering understanding, building connections with your target audience, and ultimately, resulting in a purchase. 

You’ve got a great product and need your audience to understand it. As a  leading name in video production services in DC, we’re here to support you. Whether you’re a startup or an established company, our expertise in business video production in Washington DC  will help you create an explainer video your audience will love. Contact Rock Creek Productions today and let’s tell your brand’s story together.

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