Getting a message across and making it appealing to an audience requires a great, well-thought-out scenario. The key to an awesome explainer video is an awesome scenario. All the rest is about design and animation technique.
Deciding to make a video is the first step, planning and structuring is next. Many questions arise before kick off. Where to start? What to tell? What not to tell? How to structure your message? How to maximize the impact on your audience?
In this post, we will give you a few guidelines and basic techniques for how to build your own video scenario.
Your scenario, like a sausage, should be chopped into scenes
Unless you click pause, a video is a continuous flow of entertainment and information. This continuity makes it easy and enjoyable to watch. Even though the end user sees the result as one piece, it's essential to chop your scenario into pieces or scenes to make it efficient and well structured. It makes it much easier to digest.
Similar techniques, such as screenplays or diaporamas, are used in the film industry.
As a bonus, working on your scenario in scenes will help you with storyboarding and visual thinking. Have a look at the full process in this case study about Australian tire company Tyreright.
Give each slice a name
We highly recommend that you give every scene in your scenario a number. This allows you to easily follow up on the ranking order of your video. Each scene should also have a name and a purpose. The purpose of a scene should always give your audience an answer to a "W question": Who? What? Why? How? Where?: Or, the formula for getting the complete story of a subject.
Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of scene types based on our experience:
- Problem setting: What are the current market and competitor pitfalls? Try to show your customers and your audience how close you are to them by showing you understand their pains and complaints.
- Service offer: Briefly describe what your solution is all about.
- How it works: Show to your audience how they just use your solution, tool or product.
- Features: Mention other interesting functionalities that your product or service has to offer.
- Proven benefits: Put forward a few of its potential benefits.
- Data/news figures: Present facts and figures.
Group your slices and present them in order
Now that each scene has a name, it's important to understand the relationship between them. Each scene has its own importance and role. To optimize your message, it's crucial to show these scenes in the right order so that your audience to understand them as clearly as possible.
That is why it's essential to set a goal for your communication campaign, and hence your video. What is it, exactly, that you want your audience to understand and achieve after watching your video? There might be several purposes. Here are a few:
- Boost a new product launch.
- Convince investors.
- Show off a new technology to prospective clients.
- Inform and sensitize about a new issue.
Further, we have regrouped all possible purposes for video campaigns into five different categories, in order to optimize the video scenario: product presentation, product demonstration, internal communication, tutorial, and data visualization.
Getting your audience to understand your video's goal is part of a whole process. You can work with previous scenes and move them around to arrange them like a puzzle. This puzzle is the fun part of the job; play with it as much as you like to get the perfect match.
Pieces, or scenes, should line up with one another. For a product demonstration, for instance, first explain the core of your service and its use cases, then move on to features. Similarly, a company presentation usually starts with customer pains before moving on to the actual service offering a solution to those pains.
The great thing about building a video scenario this way is that it actually helps your organization structure its message. Structuring a well-defined message for a communication purpose or campaign may be the hardest part, especially when you have to respect a short and concise communication format such as video, but it's a means to a worthwhile end.
The whole structure of your scenario should focus on your video goal. At the end, the audience should remember things like:
- What makes your company unique?
- What's the unique selling proposition (USP) that differentiates you from your competitors?
- Why should people move forward with your solution?
Gather your slices into one sausage and call for action
Once you have your audience on board, bring everything together in one final sentence. Your audience now understands what you have been explaining to them throughout your scenario, and they're ready to move on. Whatever you do, don't spoil the last, but easiest, part: give them the call to action that they're looking for.
A call to action, as the name suggests, is a short sentence actually pushing your audience to take action. Here are some ideas:
- Learn more about us at [WEBSITE]!
- Don't wait—sign up for free today!
- Want to start revolutionizing your industry? Sign up at [WEBSITE]!
Takeaways: dos and don'ts for a greasy scenario
- Don't jump straight into a product walkthrough with all the features and buttons. If a video appears to be fun, easy, and identifiable first, people will feel less anxious or annoyed about learning something new.
- Focus on one message. The simpler the message, the more quickly you will capture the attention of your viewers. Boiling the message down to its essence with a concise and clear script, staying direct and relevant, does the trick. As benchmark, keep in mind a good voiceover reads about 2.5 words a second. Hence, a 1 minute, 30 second video should contain between 220 - 240 words.
- A good video always includes a metaphor. Using metaphors helps viewers connect a product or service to their own previous experiences. Here are two good examples: A marionette controlled by strings or a sausage as a metaphor for a video scenario. Relating a product or service to a familiar situation helps viewers to understand it more.