I landed my first “big girl job” way too late in life. This meant that I started my new position with a host of insecurities and misunderstandings. The beautiful thing about this was that it gave me the opportunity to learn some simple truths. Since there are a lot of people who might find themselves in new careers with the current job market, I decided to put together a list to help you feel a little more at ease. So, here are 6 things that I learned in the first few weeks of my new grown-up career.
1. You Can’t Teach Will, But You Can Teach Skill
One of my new coworkers would tell me over and over again, “you can’t teach will, but you can teach skill.” I understood the words that she was saying, but it took me a long time to let it be reassuring. She was trying to acknowledge my drive when I was still worried about not having the talent. On the surface, this is a very straightforward concept, but let’s break it down.
You can’t teach will. I think every parent who has ever had to tell their child to do something 785 times understands this with every fiber of their being. Will is something that has to come from inside you. It is, by definition, “the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.” If you don’t have the will, you simply won’t do the thing. At that point, whether or not you do it well or poorly makes little difference.
But you can teach skill. Obviously, skills can be taught. It seems like there is a class or tutorial out there for everything under the sun. So when you put them together it becomes clear: if you have the desire or the will to learn something then you are already a step ahead of someone who doesn’t want to do it. A sister saying to this phrase could be “where there’s a will, there’s a way.
In the end, all that is left to do is trust the process. Everyone at my new job is happy to show me the ropes. They all have experience that they can share with me. So if you find yourself in a position like me with a neurotic need to please your new boss, that is your will. You have a desire to do your job well, so let the coworkers with more experience help you figure it out. You’ll get there.
2. Confuse, You Lose – Don’t Overthink
One of the first *optional* tasks that was given to me by my new boss was to read the book Building a Story Brand, by Donald Miller. I am so glad that I read that book, but more on that later. In this book (and repeated by my boss in later meetings) was the concept: Confuse, you lose!
Ok, so I have to admit that at first I was only externally applying this concept. “Danger Will Robinson, Danger.” I wish we all had a warning like that before making a huge mistake. Let me explain. In marketing your branding and message should never confuse your audience. Confusing messages do not get people to listen. If they don’t know how your product will help them, they won’t buy it. Ergo: if you confuse, you lose. So I thought, “when producing work for clients, don’t be confusing!”
Are you ready for the whopper? And no, I am not talking about a quarter pound of beef with an extra bun in the middle. This concept could be applied to me a little closer to home: in my own approach to work projects. Unfortunately, I was getting bogged down by trying to incorporate every lesson into every project that it was a confusing mess!
I wanted to please my boss, I wanted to please the clients, I was even trying to impress my new coworkers to prove I had what it takes. The result was that I was not always proud of what I was creating and putting my name behind, and ultimately I didn’t accomplish any of those things. My lesson? Don’t overthink! I was losing because I had such an unfocused goal. Overthinking was leading me to be confusing and I needed to simplify.
The easiest way to avoid confusion is to simplify. What I couldn’t see through my need for instant affirmation was that all of the things that I was trying to accomplish would happen naturally if I just focused on one of them: making the client happy. If I was able to make the client happy then my boss would obviously be happy. My coworkers would be able to witness that I was doing a good job, and I wouldn’t have to prove anything.
Even in attempting to make the client happy I could simplify. Why on Earth was I trying to give them a cornucopia when they hadn’t asked for it? Again, I would succeed if I just focused on one thing: giving the clients what they wanted. They didn’t need me to perform a magic trick, they just needed me to do my job.
4. Read The Books
Remember when I said that I was happy that I had read the book that was suggested to me by my boss? Yeah. It seems silly, but I actually am. I have never been one for non-fiction reading. I generally like to dive into 500+ page novels with a side of tea and wool socks. But when I started this job I became hungry for those dinky little 150-page self-help style books that were going to empower me in my new role. The best part was that reading them took barely any time at all.
If your boss takes the time to suggest specific books that should be helpful in your new career why wouldn’t you read them? Your boss is successful, and they think this book helped; it’s a no-brainer! I appreciated these books because they were calming and full of simple, catchy bits of information that you can apply to your life. Even if your boss doesn’t suggest any specific books, I would encourage doing a quick search for some in your field and see what you can find.
These books are meant to be easy to understand and empower you. I find myself constantly thinking “oh duh…why didn’t I think of that?” when I read them. Most of them even have a similar theme of simplifying since a lot of us tend to overcomplicate…well…just about everything. Not that reading them suddenly cured me of that. Luckily they are short enough that I can read them again since I am still working on actually implementing their wisdom.
5. Record Meetings
Ok…so this one might sound a little far-fetched, but hear me out. First of all, you are probably going to need to get permission to do this. You don’t want to end up breaching privacy or company policy. However, if you do have permission to do so, I highly recommend recording meetings with your boss and/or any other extended brainstorming session with coworkers etc. Why? There are two reasons. First, so you can reference it later. Second, it frees you up to be more involved in the meeting. It is kind of like taking notes in class or taping a college lecture.
Sometimes during these meetings, you might be distracted. Maybe so many good ideas are shared that you can’t keep track of them all. Maybe your boss drops a nugget of knowledge that you want to incorporate into your next project, but you don’t want to ask them to repeat themselves. Whatever the reason, if you have a recording of that meeting you will always be able to reference it without trying to keep all the information in your head.
A second benefit to recording these sessions is that you will be able to be more present and attentive. Our brains have a limited capacity for working memory. If we are busy trying to hang on to a bunch of points from the beginning of the meeting then eventually we are going to stop taking in new information and simply focus on the 3-5 things that caught our attention first.
We will also have less space available to share ideas and collaborate during the meeting because we are trying to juggle too many things. When we have a recording that burden is lifted. Nothing has to be remembered and you are free to share your ideas and opinions or even ask clarifying questions. That way, you don’t have to ask your questions later and everyone can benefit from hearing the answer.
6. Hurry Up And Wait – It Takes Time To Learn A New Skill
After all is said and done, the thing that is going to really make a difference is time. No matter how strong of a will you have, you won’t become an expert overnight. It is going to take time to train yourself to not overthink. Reading any self-help book and successfully implementing that knowledge will not come naturally at first. You might not remember to record every meeting and be left kicking yourself later. It is ok. I am in the same boat.
Most days I still have to remind myself to relax and find joy in the process. In any new job or chapter in life, you will need to be patient. If you can be patient with yourself and learn from my journey, you will be much happier. And let’s face it: these days we could all use a little more happiness. Cheers.
In 2010 an Old Spice marketing campaign achieved viral success. Even more impressive was the fact that they did this as part of a rebranding that completely changed their target audience. There were many factors that contributed to their success, but there are 3 key things that this campaign can teach us about marketing. Things that keep us talking about these ads to this day.
#1 Make It Short, Sweet, and Snappy
The commercial that debuted the ‘man your man could smell like’ campaign featured witty dialogue and cheesy, rapid-fire transitions that caught and kept audiences’ attention from the start. And let’s face it, opening with a shirtless man didn’t hurt either. What Old Spice knew, and capitalized on, was that viewers have a short attention span.
Aim For 90 Seconds
In today’s digital world, we are exposed to so much content that we have to pick and choose what we pay attention to. Longer videos just take up too much of our time. That is why there is a sweet spot for video advertising, and that sweet spot lies somewhere around 90 seconds. After 60 seconds viewers start to drop off, and after two minutes less than 57% of viewers are still watching. Anything less than a minute risks not connecting with your audience or expressing a compelling story.
The Old Spice commercial was only 32 seconds long, but that was because it was made for TV. I am willing to bet that viewers would have kept watching for another 28 seconds at least.
You Have 10 Seconds…
Of course, there is a second factor in whether we tune into the video at all: capturing attention right away. If a video doesn’t hook us, and hook us fast, we are going to click away. On average, a video needs to grab our attention in the first 10 seconds in order to keep it. A fact that Old Spice played on repeatedly.
Keep It Engaging The Whole Time
Not only were the first few seconds engaging, and the commercial short overall, but the constantly changing set and props were creating new interest points that kept us from becoming bored. New things were even being added in the last 4 seconds! When paired with witty dialogue a winning combination was born.
#2 Create A Fantasy
In most marketing campaigns it is important to tell a story or create some kind of fantasy that will entice people to engage with your brand. The Old Spice rebranding campaign was no different.
Know Your Buyer
The story that Old Spice wanted to tell for this particular campaign meant that they had to change their target audience, which was a two-fold process. First, Old Spice wanted to lower the age of their demographic from 55+ to 18-35. Next, they used a crucial piece of research to flip their marketing strategy on edge. Knowing that women make approximately 70% of all the purchases of male toiletries, Old Spice decided to market to them instead.
Satisfy A Desire
Armed with that strategy Old Spice built a fantasy that would skyrocket their sales. They started off by creating a comparison between real life and the fantasy that Old Spice products could help women achieve. Then viewers were dazzled with a bit of romance and the repeated offer: “Smell like a man, man.” The idea was simple; Old Spice products could make your man better, or maybe help you attract a woman if you’re a man. The only way to achieve this would be to use Old Spice products.
#3 Don’t Let Your Video Stand Alone
It is easy to think that a well-made video or advertisement can stand alone, but the team at Old Spice knew that that isn’t exactly true. After their commercial aired they saw how effective it was and decided to continue to build a relationship with their customers. Their plan was to saturate the market and get everyone talking about their brand. Interacting with people in this way turned them from customers into fans.
From the beginning, Old Spice had a plan to reach their audience on a new turf: the social media platforms that were gaining traction with the technology age. They advertised on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TV all at once. They wanted to be everywhere, and get people talking. This caused an immediate debate that paved the way for their encore.
Interactive Follow-Up Campaigns
When all the buzz around the initial campaign reached its peak, it was time for a second wave to break. In a spark of genius the Old Spice marketing team dreamed up and produced a two-day interactive series of videos where the “Old Spice Guy” answered fan questions and interacted with celebrities. Relating to their audience in that way was a huge victory for the Old Spice brand.
Ydraw Can Do The Same Thing
Are you looking to create a video as part of a marketing campaign? We want to help you. Ydraw specializes in a range of animation styles that can help you achieve the same charming effect as Old Spice for your audience. Our team creates short, engaging videos that keep the mind active by continuously triggering the sense of sight. With a variety of animation styles, we can tell any story in an artistic way, and we are constantly looking for new technology to help us enchant audiences with beautiful animations.
But don’t just take my word for it. Our happy clients can tell you how we have helped them.
Humans are storytellers. It is one of the oldest traditions we have. Before modern methods of record-keeping, storytelling was how we survived–how we preserved knowledge, taught, and shared memories–and it continues to be one of our primary sources of entertainment. And everyone has a story. Just ask the thousands of people who attend the Scottish International Storytelling Festival every year.
Good marketing strategies make use of stories that will stimulate an emotional response and drive a customer to act, whether that action is signing up, making a purchase, or volunteering. At Ydraw we specialize in telling stories through short animated explainer videos, whiteboard animation, 3D animation, and more. We know we can help you tell your story, but first let me tell you Y.
Of all the ways to tell a story, drawing might be one of the oldest. Just think about ancient hieroglyphs and cave drawings. That’s how people communicated! If that is not a compelling enough reason, here are a few more.
Say More With Less
Have you ever heard that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, so have we. That is why we know that animating a short video to tell your story can help you say more in less time. That’s great news considering it only takes about a minute for an audience to stop paying attention. In fact, if you don’t have them locked in after 5 seconds they might just move on, but more on that later. However, with animated videos you are not just getting one picture, you are getting several.
Plus drawing has the potential to break down speech barriers and tell a story even without words. That is how powerful they are. You can maximize the short amount of time you have to get your message across by showing your audience what you are talking about, not just telling them.
Enchant Your Audience
How many of you know someone who will sit there for hours watching 10-second videos on Tik Tok? Their eyes glaze over and they can’t seem to tear themselves away because there is something trance-like about watching those videos. That is how easily you can hypnotize your audience with a simple video.
Whiteboard animation in particular is excellent at captivating an audience from the first frame. This is because the viewer is watching things being drawn right before their eyes. As a result, their whole mind is engaged in the process while they listen to the information being shared and are visually stimulated with constant motion. Much like anticipating the punchline during a comedy routine, the viewer is waiting for the whole picture to be revealed and is held in suspense. When the image is complete there is a sense of relief.
Videos also have a high chance of going viral. In his book, Contagious Jonah Berger talks about “the science behind why things catch on,” and it is full of advice on how to create content that has the potential to ‘go viral.’ The technological age we live in makes it so easy to share a video that they can receive millions of views overnight. So when you have animated explainer videos as part of your marketing strategy you increase shareability and reach a larger audience.
The chances that you will go viral are higher if you have a catchy script and fun artwork. Shakespeare wrote, “the eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen…” to describe how our individual senses come together for a more complete experience. Food that looks good, smells good, AND tastes good is way more enjoyable than food that just does one of those things. In the same way, hand-drawn visuals will complement a well-written script to give you that viral effect.
So now you know Y. What about how?
Explainer Video Basics
The most infuriating thing about every tutorial on how to create a great explainer video or how to write a killer ad script is their number one step. Inevitably it will be something like, “start with a great hook.” Yes, that’s swell advice, thanks…now how do I do that? Well, after some research and a bit of trial and error, here are the basics. Some guides may add a bit more fluff, but these points are found in each one.
Create A Fantasy (AKA Tell A Story)
We’ve all seen enough advertisements to know exactly what it sounds like to be sold something. How thoroughly can a teenager tune out an adult or a husband tune out a nagging wife? That is how easily we tune out advertising all the time. Instead of using boring, overdone ad copy, insert your brand/product into the story people are living out every day.
Taking the idea of telling a story one step further, into creating a fantasy, ups the stakes. Most people at a fundamental level are focused on their own survival. Will your brand or product help them get a promotion? Look better to a potential mate? Be healthier or more fit? Show them a fairy tale and position yourself as their guide, helping them look good or accomplish their goals. They will want to buy into whatever you are selling naturally. Create a fantasy they will want to see played out.
Misery Loves Company
Think about every great movie or comic book villain. What are they trying to do? Make everyone else as miserable as they are! Usually, their backstory is some woeful tale about why they are so full of hate, because it is true: misery really does love company. So when it comes to wooing new customers, sympathy goes a long way.
Chances are you already know some key pain points your clients are suffering from. After all, you created a product or service to fix their problem, right? When you start your video by sharing in their distress, you let the viewer know that you understand how they feel. Then you can comfort them with your offer, and empower them to become the hero.
Don’t make that common mistake. In this story, they must be the hero, not you. This will create a more compelling reason for them to interact with your brand.
Include A Call To Action
One thing you should never do when creating video advertising: exclude a call to action. The audience needs to be told how to obtain your offer, and no it is not because they are dumb. Marketing students have been told for years that “people are dumb, and you have to tell them exactly what to do.” Really, it has much more to do with being lazy.
If you have produced a quality video then you’ve sold the audience by the end of it. The viewer knows that they want whatever you are selling, but they want it to be easy to get. If you don’t make it easy to obtain whatever you are offering they will move on. Some kind of click here, buy now, or call today ending to your script is vital. Make it easy for them and they will flock to you.
Yes, of course, it is important to have a hook, but there is no format for how to do that. A great hook depends on your audience and other variables. First, do the groundwork of figuring out what story you want to tell, then trust the process. A hook will come. It should never be the first step or you might just get stuck there.
There Is No I
You probably want one of these videos for yourself right about now, but deciding to create a video like this is a huge undertaking. So, if this all sounds like a pretty tough nut to crack, don’t worry: hiring us gives you a team of people who know what they are doing. When I first started this job, I thought there was no way that I was going to be able to pull it off. My coworkers kept reminding me that I was part of a TEAM and that it would take time to learn everything, but they would help me along the way.
Here is a peek at our process. Right off the bat, we get to work diving into the story that you want to tell and begin scripting your video. You might already have a script you want to work with, but don’t know what to do with it. Our writers will help you spin it into gold. Then we hook you up with the perfect voice actor to bring that script to life. While the voice actor works their magic, our artists will begin illustrating your project and recording it live. Editing comes last. This is when our genius team pieces together the voice-over and the recorded illustrations with a little bit of digital magic to unveil a work of art: your video.
Still not convinced? Check out some of our work and you’ll see what I mean.