Visual Storytelling for Business Growth from our Talented Team of Illustrators and Animators

Illustration Studio line drawings

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We are visual storytellers and visual marketers. This is our story.

Hello, my name is Sam Finlay and I am a visual storyteller and visual marketer.

( I was asked some years ago if I'd provide a video testimonial for the supplier of one of the pieces of animation software we use. It may be getting a little old now but does capture my approach to working with clients which is why I've included it here.)

I have been telling business to business stories visually since long before the current business was launched in 2008.

Ours was an evolutionary transformation from being a specialist retail design consultancy providing in-store design solutions for high street names such as M&S, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Somerfield. Into an internet based digital business with clients both here in the UK and on the other side of the world.

The wide adoption of Computer Aided Design - CAD - caused us some change around the turn of the new millennium. It ultimately reduced the need for manufacturers to employ creative industrial designers. Their visual storytelling skills were replaced by auto-generated computer renderings. 

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It became more cost effective to use computer software and engineers to produce visualisations of potential new solutions. CAD modelling was also something that could now be done overnight elsewhere in the world further driving cost expectations down from a client perspective. We did a little bit of this for a while, including the production of animated video walk throughs, but ultimately all the added value we provided within the sector disappeared.

All things retail and manufacturing had also started to move in the same lowest cost-driven direction. Much of the investment in innovative retail solutions was also now being directed online. I saw the need to find new opportunities somewhere within this growing digital sector but it took a while to find. 

The answer appeared when I found YouTube in 2008.

I immediately saw both its potential and the opportunity it would allow us to supply this new business need. There were at that time, only a small number of video production providers and a perceived mass market looking for value at a cost they could afford.

Equally. These traditionally trained producers had skills more closely aligned with the film industry than in helping businesses explain new ideas using images. 

Rightly or wrongly Google then created the terms by which everyone now had to play when they bought YouTube and set about recovering their $1.65 Billion investment in acquiring this asset.

No business spends that kind of money without having a plan for recovering it. It is from around this time - 2009 to be exact - that we find the much over quoted Forrester Research statistic of “53 times more likely to get a Google 1st page ranking by using video on your website” appeared.

Graphic Google Stats

Google’s strategy was to simply provide a ranking hike to anyone using video on their website, and from YouTube in particular, so as to encourage businesses to invest in such for the next five years.

The introduction of the Penguin version of their search algorithm in April 2012 brought an end to this artificial hike in page ranking. 

The video seed had been successfully planted and online use had started to grow organically.

Early adopters saw their faith in using video rewarded with increased business growth but it left a residual impression that almost any video would provide a benefit for search results. That may once have been the case but now, thankfully this no longer applies. 

Viewers will only dwell on your video, ( watch it to the end ) if it engages or provides value of some kind for them. Web page dwell time and shares are now more important than simply having the video itself.

My YouTube Insight - Viewers will only watch your video if it engages them in some way. They don't care about your production values. They just want to entertained and informed.

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The original transformation from Finlay Design Associates was to set up a new venture called Allerton Video Production with a view to delivering low cost business video as a fixed price product for small to medium business enterprises. I am a product designer at heart and thought the use of video to reach out to your market to be so obvious that local businesses would quickly grasp the opportunity our approach offered. 

The logic, taken from watching large numbers of YouTube videos, being that if you only need one new client a month and your audience measured in the hundreds per month. Spending thousands of pounds on a “corporate video” simply didn’t make sense. Better to have something “good enough” which resonated with your audience and then change it regularly than go over the top on something that few people would ever watch.

Client expectations however constantly got in the way of this approach.

Small businesses found it difficult to place their trust in something that sounded too new. Many felt that a more cinematic like production would better suit their needs without having the budget for such. The lowest cost videos therefore tended to prevail. These are videos shot on a smart phone of someone talking direct to camera with little or no editing cost. Shoot it and post it stuff. 

These may be great for your social media feed where the audience already knows likes and trusts you. They are much less good at explaining the value in what you do to someone who knows nothing about you. They come across as being too much “Me Me Me” rather than HELPING YOU.

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We had changed the trading name of the business from Allerton Video Production to Biz Vidz and Easy Web Video in an attempt to communicate that we were a purely a business to business online video production company. 

Our approach as business storytelling experts was sufficiently different for us to realise that our audience didn’t understand what we did or how it would help them. 

Recognising this encouraged us to produce a short series of simple hand drawn illustrated stories to explain more clearly our area of expertise before using software to animate these.

 The result was that we had more enquiries for hand drawn animated explainer videos than filmed videos. Further software developments allowed us to take advantage of our unique pre-digital drawing and illustration skills to meet this growing need. 

Screen Grab Image Website Pages

Airhead Animation, a specialist 2D hand drawn animation business was launched and has continued to grow ever since.

Yet something was missing.

I had moved the business into online video in the first place because I observed that an online audience engaged with video differently to a broadcast or cinematic one. It gave the viewer permission to click away and watch something else if what they saw failed to grab their attention.

It didn’t need to have high production values. It just needed to be viewable, hearable, entertaining and informative to warrant being watched. Your online viewer can also uniquely pause, rewind, slow down or watch again as many times as they liked without penalty. Fantastic. 

Offering our clients advice on how to get the maximum value from the videos we produced has always been the norm for us in the role we fulfilled. 

It has however never been pushed as part of our animation offer. It would be an inappropriate addition to that business offering. It’s a niche production resource. As filmed video producers we had learned how to help our clients with distribution since our early years. It was clearly another point of difference between a marketing-led video offer and a video production-based one. Mixing these two services with our animated video production one would confuse that offer.

MoreVisible was therefore formed to offer clients a more transformational video production and marketing service simply because we see the need.

Most production companies, like Airhead Animation focus on production.

MoreVisible provides the complete service for busy established professional and technical service based companies who don’t have the means in house to get the maximum value from any online video they produce.

We fulfil that need by partnering with you to ensure that you can concentrate on the things that have made you the business you have grown to be. 

We are your transition partner from the analogue into the digital visual and social marketing arena. 

  • Helping you secure the future growth of your business.
  • Growing your on-line authority by helping your market see the value of your experience and expertise.
  • Deliver the visual means to provide you with a clear point of difference between you and your rivals.
  • Help you secure the future of your business by providing you with a unique set of protectable visual assets no one else use.
  • Ensure that your business stories are communicated with clarity and visual interest with a simple delivery plan and distribution strategy.

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