Top 10 ways to use animation in your communications

If you want your communications to stand out amongst the noise, look no further than animation.

Creative Insights

If you want your communications to stand out amongst the noise, look no further than animation.

No longer limited to cartoons, animation is enjoying a new lease of life giving comms a shake-up, and helping companies refresh their messaging and engage their audience in new and unexpected ways. Investing in animation is a wise business decision, too: it can boost conversion rates, inject originality into your comms, and help viewers retain 58% more information when compared to other methods of communication. 

Ready to include animation in your marketing and communications? This article gets you started with 10 examples of animation in comms. 

1. Simplifying Complex Information
One of the primary benefits of animations is its ability to transmit complex information clearly and concisely. As the popular saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. If you need to communicate complex procedures, processes or rules, animation can help you do so in a way that keeps your audience engaged. John Lewis Partnership approached Nucco Brain for help visually communicating their latest Pension Scheme changes to their partners.

Our strategy was to use different layers of communication to attract attention and answer questions from John Lewis’ partners. Using animation, we made sure the required information was clear to everyone at John Lewis, from fishmongers to top accounting managers. Once the Pension Scheme was simplified and clarified through our animation, an additional 50,000 partners started considering their own pension savings. 

 

2. Visualising the invisible
The major benefit of animation as opposed to live action video is that you can visualise the invisible. With live action, you’re naturally limited by your filming location. With animation, on the other hand, you can stretch the boundaries of reality and fiction as needed to communicate your message. The De Beers diamond group brought Nucco Brain on board to help create an interactive platform to train their global workforce and partners on all aspects of the diamond industry.

In this instance, animation came in handy when creating The Diamond Foundation Course, introducing students to the full spectrum of the diamond pipeline. This pipeline covers the complex processes involved in turning the raw material into glistening treasures – processes that can’t be communicated through live action footage. Animation allowed students to get a visual understanding of processes that can’t be seen on live film, enhancing their learning experience. The course is available in languages including English, Simplified Chinese, Turkish and Thai, a feat much easier to achieve when using animation.  

3. Anyone, anywhere
Animation can help you represent historical periods and famous individuals without the cost of live action. Arizona State University (ASU) wanted a way to teach students at their online high school – ASU Prep Digital – in an exciting and groundbreaking way. They landed on virtual reality, using this emerging technology to create The Gaspee VR Experience, dramatising the events leading up to the American Revolution. In this instance, animation allowed students to ‘travel’ to a different time period, whilst providing course administrators with data on students’ progress for optimal results

4. Enhance Interactive Experiences
The more fun you can make your comms, the faster the message sinks in. And the more interactive things are, the longer that message will stick. We associate animated online games with children and gamers, but they also present an effective way to communicate information in a way that engages and excites your audience – and is a surefire way to stand out amongst the noise. Appealing to your audience’s sense of fun can turn typically drier topics into something that’s enjoyable as well as informative.

When the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation wanted to spread the word about building sustainable societies, they came to Nucco Brain for help. The idea here was to develop a platform for stakeholders that conveys and promotes nature-based solutions to modern issues, conveying the Think Nature ethos and evolution to more than 30 different international companies and EU Commission stakeholders. A big task, with multiple perspectives to take into consideration.

Nucco Brain created an animated interactive game, putting participants in the role of mayor of the fictional Greentown. They then take part in five challenges through which they decide how to tackle a problem using nature-based solutions. They are scored on their effort, and are presented with a case study illustrating the different policy approaches in action. This interactive approach manages to inform and entertain at the same time, helping ThinkNature to build more sustainable societies through interactive educational experiences. Using animation in this way can help you engage your audience, and ensure they’re actually paying attention to your content.

5. Motion Branding
Motion branding is nothing new, but a combination of increased screen time with a battle for audiences’ attention online means that it’s stepping into the spotlight. Beyond the aesthetic benefits, motion branding provides a great ROI: according to Forbes, it can help your business grow revenue 49% faster. Motion branding essentially involves bringing your static logo and branding to life through moving graphics.

Recognising the increasingly essential nature of motion in online content, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) approached Nucco Brain to produce their branding in motion. UKTI wanted a range of motion branding graphics to boost their online presence, for use across the organisation’s nine councils. As part of the assets, we created branded title screens to bring more character to UKTI’s videos, a slick intro and outro bringing their logo to life, and a series of branded lower thirds.

6. Training
A benefit of animation that’s perhaps less considered is its ability to make high risk training safer, by teaching students in a virtual environment where they can’t come to harm. If your company focuses on a high-risk industry like security, offshore mining, or construction, animation can actually help make your workplace safer. Traditional textbooks might contain all the information that new recruits need to know, but our modern brain’s ever-decreasing attention span can’t retain information in traditional formats in the same way.

Animated training videos allow high-risk industries to train staff members in a safer way – accidents don’t have real-life effects if they happen in a virtual world. Even so, the animated experience still mimics the pressure the employee would feel in that situation, meaning they can get to grips with the workplace without the safety risks. Nucco Brain worked with mining firm Anglo American to create an immersive animated experience for new employees, teaching them about the hazards of their new workplace, and educating them on the necessary safety procedures.

7. Versioning
As we learned at Nucco Brain’s panel event featuring internal communications experts, employees are generally resistant to change. It’s human nature to be drawn towards what we know, so if your company is undergoing a large shift, whether that’s a merger, restructuring, or digital transformation, it’s vital that employees feel included in the journey. Animated video communicates key messaging and internal changes in a memorable and lively way, and it’s far easier for the viewer to connect with than a dossier containing your latest company policies.

Animated video is also adaptable: live-action footage needs to be reshot, costing time, money, and valuable resources. Editing animated videos, on the other hand, is a much easier process, affording you flexibility and adaptability as needed. Nucco Brain’s work with Deloitte is another example of animation in communications. When the company implemented its digital transformation, it was important that employees knew what was happening, and how the changes would affect them. Together, we created a series of internally-targeted animated videos to communicate the changes to employees, using a conversational tone and corresponding imagery to illustrate the changes, which allowed employees to get on board with the digital translation.

8. Smart re-use of assets
If you’re looking for hard-hitting content that delivers a solid return on investment, animation’s your answer. Thanks to its editable nature, animated videos can easily be repurposed into shorter videos that you can use across your social media channels.

When ESA reorganised their Space Solutions, they wanted to engage with as many applicants and interested parties as possible, to help them launch their businesses and fund their projects.  Together, we created a campaign engaging the target audiences – young entrepreneurs and SMEs – raising awareness of ESA Space Solutions’ main values and what they do. When communicating with such a diverse audience, reusing assets is a good way to make sure you’re driving the message home. We created a powerful, hard-hitting video campaign using fast-paced content and graphics to drive the narrative forward. From this, we also created five short teaser videos showcasing specific ESA Space Solution offerings, with unique CTAs.

9. Showcasing Diversity & Inclusion
If you’re a large, multinational company, your communications need to reach a variety of audiences and showcase diversity and inclusion. If your offices are in territories scattered across the globe, thoughtful stylisation is needed for your message to hit home across markets. Using animated videos to transmit your messaging can help navigate cultural communications, because you can create characters that speak to everybody watching, wherever they’re sitting.

In order to fully relate to the material, all segments of your audience should be able to recognise themselves in your internal communications campaign, regardless of their gender or ethnicity. A video narrated only by people of one gender or ethnicity, for example, is unlikely to be relatable for everyone you’re trying to talk to. Animation allows you to intentionally design your own characters, thus appealing to a wide audience and ensuring everyone feels included.

That’s exactly what Nucco Brain did when we worked with AB InBev on the messaging for their 100+ Accelerator Programme. We used a combination of 2D animation and motion graphics to create scenes that spoke to multiple groups, purposefully keeping characters neutral and widely relatable.

10. Visualising Data
If you need to communicate hard data to your audience, it’s a good idea to make use of visual tools like animation. Visualisation through animation translates impenetrable data into something intelligible, giving it meaning and allowing your audience to identify connections and patterns. And if the topic you’re explaining is a typically dull one, animation can inject some fun and creativity into your marketing output.

An illustration of this is Nucco Brain’s work with Deloitte & Touche, the first Arab professional services firm in the Middle East. Deloitte asked us to create a series of videos to help the Ministry of Finance in the Gulf Cooperation Council to explain VAT and Excise Taxes, which were due to be implemented in the Middle East. The business audience was unfamiliar with these systems and processes, so our challenge was to explain them in a digestible way. We did this through the creation of videos and infographics to support the Deloitte team during their pitching and training sessions, helping them to communicate a huge amount of tax information in a simple and visual format.

If you’d like to find out more about using animation in your communications, get in touch with us here. 

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