Creating compelling visual narratives

When you’re discussing marketing strategies, there are many qualities that’ll inevitably come up. Branding, KPIs, target audience, but how often do you talk about storytelling?

Written by Jack Last

Although you might initially think storytelling is a better fit for movies than it is for adverts, research has shown that storytelling can increase conversions in brands’ marketing campaigns by a staggering 30%.

One of the core qualities that sets animation apart is its unique storytelling experience. 

Thanks to its combination of bold, compelling visuals, and storylines with complete creative freedom, animation is one of the most effective ways to bring the power of storytelling to your videos. 

Understanding the power of animated storytelling

So, before we delve any deeper into the topic, what exactly is animated storytelling? And, most importantly, what can it do? 

The power of animated storytelling lies in its ability to deliver: 

  • Emotional connections - a professional animator can craft an engaging script, which evokes a sincere emotional response from the viewer. This can be achieved through personable characters and a captivating story, which resonates with the viewer and leaves them hooked right through to the end. 
  • Visual engagement - animation achieves remarkably high levels of engagement, largely thanks to its bold, creative visuals. These videos give brands a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate their personality and innovative outlook.
  • Simplified communications - did you know that 96% of people use video content to learn more about products and services? This is because, thanks to their combination of the audio and the visual, videos communicate messages clearly and succinctly. Even complicated topics can be articulated in a far more simplified way, which is a win-win for both the brand and its audience.
  • A universal message or appeal - animated content is brimming with personality, and is precisely designed to resonate with its audience, by striking a strong emotional chord. In these ways, through both its characters and use of storytelling, animated content creates a universal message that all viewers can relate to. 
  • Creative freedom - unlike live-action footage, animation offers marketers and producers complete creative freedom. It allows them to choose any location and create any characters, without any regulations imposed by budgets or practicality. 

Identifying the key elements of a compelling narrative

As is the case with any good story, a compelling narrative requires all the constituent elements to work together in harmony. 

So, what are the key elements required to produce a successful animated story? 

  • Strong characters - carefully considered, multi-dimensional characters, who your audience can relate to. Then, visually, these characters should be designed so that they are clearly on brand.
  • Engaging plot - your video’s plot should strike the right balance between entertaining and directly relevant to your brand, product, service or USP. Plus, you need to make sure your proposed plot is unique enough to stand out amongst the crowded world of advertising. 
  • Clear story structure - once your plot and characters have been confirmed, you’ll need to craft a clear storyboard, which is precisely geared to take the viewer towards your CTA. The storyline needs to be entertaining and out-of-the-box, while still being clear and easy to follow throughout. 
  • Compelling themes and messages - these should be creative and engaging, while still having a clear link to your brand and the CTA that you are working to direct your audience towards.
  • Visual appeal - bold, striking animated designs, which boast a sleek and professional finish. These should hold strong links to your company branding, and be creative enough that they are different from anything that your competitors are publishing. 
  • Effective pacing - even if you have the best story in the world, a poor delivery can make it a complete flop. So, your storyboard and voiceover should be dynamic, but still easy for anyone new to your brand to follow.
  • Emotional resonance - effective narratives strike a chord with the audience, by engaging with them on an emotional level. This could be achieved through character development, compelling storytelling or relatable themes, to name a few popular techniques. 
  • Memorable moments - the plot of your animation should centre upon a number of key moments, which add focal points to the narrative.
  • Cohesive audio - to ensure a professional finish, and that your audience is fully captivated throughout, your narrative should be enhanced with cohesive, high quality audio. 

How does animation enhance the storytelling experience?

So, what do animated videos bring to the table, when it comes to enhancing the storytelling experience? 

Well, this medium boasts a wide variety of unique advantages, while also giving brands and animators complete creative free reign. 

Through animation, storytellers can more effectively: 

  • Achieve strong visual engagement - animation’s bold colours and creative illustrations can effectively stand out in digital channels, capturing the consumer’s attention, and holding it right the way through till the end of the video. 
  • Unlock complete creative freedom - with animation, your creative freedom is limitless. You can create characters, settings and scenarios without any restrictions from cost or practicality. This makes animation a fantastic way to create a really innovative, stand-out piece of content. 
  • Deliver emotion and expressiveness - although you might presume that live-action video is the best way to strike an emotional chord, a professional animator can deliver equal amounts of emotion and expressiveness in their content.
  • Create memorable content - because of its highly designed and creative nature, animated content often tends to be highly memorable. As such, this makes animation a great way to further boost the memorability of your story-based content. 
  • Grab viewers’ attention - thanks to its use of bright colours, dynamic movements and personable characters, animation is filled with hooks to capture (and keep) viewers’ attention.
  • Articulate complicated concepts with clarity - another benefit of the limitless creative freedom (regarding settings, characters and scenarios) is that complicated concepts can be explained in clearer ways than can typically be achieved with live-action content. If we take our work with Capita as an example, the combination of audio and visual achieves a clear outline of how their solutions work, all the functions available, their benefits, and the ways they make new joiners’ journeys more seamless. 
  • Achieve universal appeal - animations are able to engage all age groups, and enable marketers to create inclusive and representative content far more effectively. 
  • Remain consistent with existing branding - with animation, you can incorporate branded elements throughout the entirety of the video. What’s more, this can often be achieved in a far more subtle way than in live-action content. Your branding can feature throughout the colours of the animation, alongside its typography, tone of voice and illustration style, just to name a few. 

Incorporating visual techniques to captivate the audience

According to Wyzowl, videos are twice as likely to be shared online, as any other content type. 

So, videos are - by a landslide - the most effective type of content for getting your brand seen by the largest possible audience. 

When it comes to captivating an audience through animation, and maximising its shares and engagement rate, there are a whole host of visual techniques that you can use. 

These include:

  • Dynamic camera movements - dynamic and fluid motions, which increase engagement and keep the viewer’s interest consistently high.
  • Expressive character animation - with the assistance of a professional animation specialist, you can create characters that your audience can relate to, be intrigued by, and evoke a strong emotional reaction in them. 
  • Imaginative visual designs - creative, striking designs, which stand out from the crowd and distinguish your brand from your competitors. 
  • Effective use of colour - choosing bold colours, which draw the viewer in, while still establishing a firm link with your brand identity. 
  • Seamless transitions - to ensure a sleek, professional finish for your video. 
  • Creative use of lighting and shadows - cinematic techniques like these can be used to direct and focus the audience’s attention, towards important elements or characters.
  • Dynamic action sequences - visually compelling and lively movements are other highly effective ways to increase engagement.
  • Composition and framing - these techniques help to add drama and impact to the video, while ensuring a highly professional finish. 
  • Text animation - beyond the characters and the setting, animated typography adds an extra layer of intrigue to the video.
  • Interactive elements - if your video is being hosted on your website, you can add engaging interactive elements, like clickable hotspots, quizzes or polls, personalisation or branching storylines.  


Animated storytelling has the power to captivate audiences, compelling them to click on your video out of the sea of other content, and watch it through till the very end. 

By using this medium, you can boost your brand awareness amongst your target audience, while ensuring that your company is known for its creativity, innovative thinking and stand-out approach. 

In short, animated videos for business are ideally suited to leaving a lasting impression on the viewer, and ensuring your brand is one that they remember.

Why work with an animation agency like OK Social?

At OK Social, our team specialize in creating bold and original animated videos for business. 

We are a professional motion graphic company, offering a wide range of different video services, including the creation of animated videos, explainer videos, motion graphics and social posts

Our talented animators are renowned for their out-of-the-box approach, and their ability to create content that is firmly on brand, which delivers all of a company’s specific KPIs. 

It’s why we’ve been trusted by some of the biggest names in the UK - including the likes of Deliveroo, Coca-Cola, the BBC and Taco-Bell - to create striking branded videos for their latest campaigns. 

So, to find out more about any of our services, or how we can work with you to create animated videos for business, chat to our team today

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I’m Jack, the Motion Director here at OK Social. I’ve been working in the world of motion design and animation for nearly 10 years. I had the pleasure of working with leading agencies and brands around the world, such as Samsung, Ford, Shell, Deliveroo, and Starbucks, to name a few.

From a young age, I’ve always been interested in animation, from making stop-motion films in my room as a kid to learning animation on my first computer. It started as a passion and still is to this day. Part of what I do now is more than just animation. I help craft the narratives of the stories we tell to ensure they make an impact to the audience and remain worthy of their attention.

So how do I do that? It starts with asking the right questions, leading to solving the right problems. First, diagnose what the problem is. Then, we can start to see if we can help. I believe that communication plays a key role in delivering a smooth and successful project. Looking into the future, I’m excited to expand my knowledge into creating more engaging stories that make a difference.