As the old and…yes…overused proverb goes, you should never “put the cart before the horse” when deciding to make an explainer video. From my experience, start-ups are some of the biggest “cart before the horse” offenders out there right now.
Here’s the deal: explainer videos shouldn’t be a substitute for proper brand positioning and compelling product pitches just as a “miraculous” diet pill shouldn’t be seen as substitute for proper eating and exercise. Explainer videos shouldn’t be some sort of “magic marketing bullet” or a quick fix trick in an attempt to make your yet-to-be-launched vaporware seem cool. If you are still defining your value proposition, an explainer video likely will not help you. Stop, breathe and really map out on paper who you are, what you stand for and what makes you better than existing solutions out there. If you’re incapable of articulating this in a short paragraph, keep working on it until you are.
Perhaps too many companies, especially in the tech start-up space, have jumped on the explainer video bandwagon. To make matters worse, they’re often tight on money and turn to solutions like Fiverr to get a cheap whiteboard video made by a hungry freelancer in a faraway land, making them look bad and contributing to “explainer video saturation.” Bottom line: if you’re not capable of crystallizing what you’re all about in a short sentence/paragraph while expressing the strength of your brand in way that’s easy to grasp and effective, an explainer video is unlikely to help your cause.
For companies who have already have a strong foundation and a clear idea of what they’re all about, however, an explainer video can be a powerful tool. It can represent another important piece of the integrated marketing puzzle. Many people are more visual and/or auditory learners and, for them, being able to push “play” to watch a 60-90 second summary of brand XYZ’s offering is pure viewing bliss. It could mean the difference between them clicking off the page in 5 seconds or hanging out for a couple of minutes and responding to some relevant call-to-action. So much can be communicated through images, words, music, interesting stories, etc.
Smart companies can also get a great ROI from a well-made explanatory video outside of simply putting it on their homepage. They can use it in social media, email campaigns, events, conferences, presentations etc.- potentially giving them a tremendous overall “bang for their buck.” That’s the power of an explainer video, done right…at the right time.