The term “explainer video” is getting a lot of buzz these days. Gisteo was around way before the term was in vogue but it’s hard to dispute that the rise of both the medium and the word itself. I mean…”explainer videos” even has a pretty decent Wikipedia entry now!
Wikipedia says “Explainer videos are short online videos used to explain your company’s product or service. They are short marketing videos (usually under 2 minutes) used by brands, online companies and corporations to explain how a product or service works, with specific marketing purposes towards targeted audiences in a simple and entertaining manner.”
That’s an acceptable definition for what an explainer video is, but in this blog entry, we’ll provide some more depth to what an explainer video should actually do with what I call The Four E’s of Explainer Videos:
The term enlighten comes from the metaphor that ignorance is a state of being “in the dark,” and that knowledge is illuminating. We use enlighten as a verb meaning to “clear up, to remove confusion”…and that’s exactly what a good explainer video can do. In a short amount of time, they can simplify complex concepts, bring clarity to your idea and provide those priceless light-bulb-above-the-head moments you need to cut through the clutter.
To engage is to capture and hold one’s attention. It’s no secret, that attention spans are growing shorter in today’s multi-media world and people have less patience for white papers, “eye charts” and text-heavy marketing materials. It’s not that these don’t still have a place in your overall integrated marketing mix (they do), but a good explainer video can quickly spoon-feed precious information to your audience in an interesting, entertaining way. Video in general better engages the senses and presents information in a format that most people can more easily digest and remember in a short amount of time. Well-crafted explainers combine storytelling techniques, imagery, narration and music in a neat little package with a play symbol on it.
When you expound, you provide details. Expound came into English from a 14th-century French word espondre meaning “to elaborate” or “put forth.” Explainer videos enable you to elaborate on topics that can be hard to explain with just words alone. Expounding is all about providing vital information, and explainers can be particularly powerful tool for this. Note, expounding upon a concept doesn’t mean that you need to be long-winded and create a 10-minute snoozer of a video. Just a few key points focused on main features and benefits can do wonders.
The word entice means to tempt someone by promising them something that they like. If a company really wants to hire you, they will entice you with a good salary and generous benefits. The promise of a gold star is often enough to entice small children to get good grades. And explainers often try to entice you with some sort of compelling call-to-action. “Call us for a free demo”, “download a free trail today,” “sign up now for free”…these are all typical calls-to-action utilized in explainer videos. Many times, just informing your audience isn’t enough- you want and need them to take some sort of action…and explainer videos can include a carrot without having to beat them over the head with a stick ala a late-night infomercial.
So if you’re looking to create an explainer video, you’ll want to move beyond merely “explaining” and keep each of these four E’s in mind!