How To Use Motion Design Effectively in B2B Marketing
Recently, my wife and I decided to buy a new couch. As we weighed options, we watched about a dozen videos to compare different brands, models and design features. These videos helped us see the couches in actual spaces, view their many angles and hear real reviews from other customers. Each video helped ground the sometimes-abstract venture of online shopping in a reality we could understand — bit by bit, pushing us closer to a purchase.
Our couch-shopping experience is not unique. Now, this is how everyone receives information. Videos teach us how to cook, how to fix things around the house, how to play instruments and more. And our desire for video content doesn’t end at our “for you” pages. Savvy marketers are realizing that smart video marketing goes a long way. In 2023, 96% of marketers report video marketing to be an “important part” of their strategy, and in 2021, 93% of businesses surveyed said they landed a new customer after sharing a video on social media.
B2B companies especially benefit from video content, with motion design and videos enabling straightforward explanations of complex concepts. There are many different styles of video content — from animated to live action and the infinite possibilities in between. Navigating the complex world of video content requires the right partner to figure out the best style for you. Here’s how to make the most out of that partnership.
Broaden your view
When creating client work at a B2B video agency, I find it helpful to think of branding and marketing campaigns like puzzles. They contain separate elements that come together to communicate a bigger picture. Each design decision, word choice or ad placement works like a puzzle piece, and the message you’re trying to convey is like the finished image. In a successful campaign, each piece contributes to a bigger picture.
Too often, brands invest in a one-off video or motion design asset that they need to solve a specific problem — like B2B explainer videos— but don’t consider how it fits into their larger message. B2B video services are capable of solving those smaller, specific problems (like explaining how your tech works) but they’re also capable of so much more.
We recently created an integrated campaign that heavily featured video for the e-commerce brand commercetools. The goal was to position the brand as a modern, agile solution in contrast to their legacy tech competitors. Video ads featured Will Arnett as old-school commerce personified, in the form of an inflexible “Naysayer” character. These videos were supported by activations that contrasted that character with commercetools’ progressive, “Yeasaying” technology offerings.
The video spots were central to the campaign — but thoughtful out-of-home placements combined with comprehensive social and PR strategies cemented its overall success (to the tune of 98% positive brand sentiment). While we’re proud of the videos, the core concept woven throughout the entire campaign is what people responded to. When brands don’t consider the bigger picture, they leave potential on the table.
Consider the balance of animation and live action
Animated videos thrive at communicating intangible or complicated ideas — a frequent request at B2B video agencies. Animations aren’t limited by real-world constraints like shooting schedules, actor availability or physics. You can push concepts further, creating innovative illustrations that get the job done more quickly than any copy or static image could.
For example, Bill.com (now BILL) wanted to highlight their work with Quicken ahead of their IPO to drive awareness among their target audience. We created animated social activations that illustrated the case study in a compelling visual format. Not only did the motion graphics showcase their software in a digestible way, but the colorful, dynamic animations drew people in — resulting in over 1,300 social engagements.
Live-action videos, on the other hand, can humanize a brand by including real people, helping ground it in a familiar reality to your consumer — like the couch videos did for me and my wife. Also, videos are especially well-suited for social media, where constant scrolling is the norm. Any B2B video agency will tell you people don’t stop scrolling just for text anymore. A live action video, especially one that includes eye-catching motion design, is both algorithm-friendly and pulls consumers’ attention.
For a product-launch campaign with Breakthrough, our motion design team was tasked with creating a teaser video. This might seem like one of the one-off, no-strategy videos I cautioned against earlier, but it was part of a larger campaign that included blog posts, email nurture, social strategy and digital ads. We used live action shots to ground the sustainability-minded product in the world of freight transportation. And the campaign succeeded (a 67% increase in organic search traffic) because our video worked within a larger campaign message.
Keep it consistent
Just like brands have style guides for design and copy, an internal language for your motion assets is a worthy investment. Different motion styles evoke different emotions, the same way colors and words do. A fast-moving, staccato animation denotes a different energy than one that’s slow moving and languid. Think about the feelings and associations you want for your brand. Then, work with a B2B video agency on a consistent language, and make sure to apply those guidelines to all your marketing assets.
The cloud computing company Redhat, for instance, has comprehensively integrated motion design into their branding language. They have style guides for all motion design and video projects, the same way they do for copy and graphic design.
Many of their motion assets are B2B explainer videos, as you’d expect for a complex service like cloud computing. These videos might not have the flashiest or most cutting-edge visuals, but they deploy a consistent visual language. This consistency helps to concisely explain their technical tools. Watching the explainers feels like a cumulative learning experience. It’s easy to connect each idea to the other, because they’re all explained with the same visual logic. By approaching motion design with an integrated mindset, Redhat creates better content for its users.
Put it into practice
Motion design and video are powerful marketing tools — the brand-new couch in my living room is a prime example. In a video-driven landscape, B2B brands can no longer label these assets as irrelevant to their core marketing strategies. If your brand’s offerings are hard to explain or a consistent pain point is customers feeling confused, motion design and video are excellent investments. But only if they work with the bigger picture, not as a special one-off project.
However motion design evolves, from metaverse to VR, these guidelines will help you succeed. Motion design is just one piece of the B2B marketing puzzle — how could it fit into your picture?