How To Decide Your Lead Character Representation, in Your Animated Explainer Video

character in explainer-videos


Telling a story through a video is surely an art.  But, when the underlying purpose of storytelling is bigger than merely entertaining people, and in fact is, to influence a targeted group of people to subscribe to the service/product being promoted through that particular video, then storytelling has to be an amalgamation of a communication strategy and a creative visual presentation.

The Storytelling Explainer Videos that are used as a marketing communication tool often have one lead character that visually walks the viewers through the video, and assists in visualizing the verbal narration (background voiceover).  For a storytelling explainer video to be interesting and memorable, this lead character should ideally make an instant connect with viewers. Hence, it is important to strategically attribute distinct visual characteristics (appearance) to it, based on who/what it intends to represent, in the video.

The lead character, in an animated explainer video may represent either of the following:

  1. The Customer (Current or Potential)
  2. The Product/Service Itself

Let’s discuss how you could decide to choose your lead character representation and what all visual characteristics could help you create an ideal character.

Lead Character Representing Your Customer

You represent the lead character as your customer, when you basically want to show through your video, simulation of a situation that your targeted customers often get stuck into. Typically, after having visually shown the simulated situation, you talk about how your offering could solve the recurring customer problem.


Basically, the flow of the video’s storyline goes like this:

video’s storyline


These kinds of videos help you empathize with your customers (current and potential) and visually simulate the real life situations faced by your targeted group of people. Once you have visually simulated that, you have done the base work and now you just have to show how your product or service helps in overcoming such situations.

How does this really help?

This basically helps you build a story around your (potential) customer that helps him identify or realize the need he could have for your product/service. This also helps your customer, appreciate the usefulness of your product/service better, as he understands it better.

How to decide this lead character’s appearance

When deciding about the appearance of your lead character, try to visualize how your typical customers would be like. Having a single (generalized) character representation could be a tough task though, as you will likely have a variety of customers profiles, your business would be targeting to.

But, you could always start this process by recalling broad categories your customers could belong to and end by skimming down to two or three ideal customer personas. For instance, if your product is targeted to corporates, your lead character would probably look like a tie-and-trouser kind of a person (- broad categorization). Based on more specific details (say, the domain of work) that could define your customer better, you could add specifications to your lead character’s appearance.

Lead Character Representing Your Product or Service

It is immaterial how relevant and helpful your IT Solution or Mobile App could be to your targeted customers, unless it is perceived so, by them.

What works best for explaining such difficult-to-visualize Solutions (through an animated explainer video) is using a personified character that represents the Solution (Software, Mobile App or whatever), and animating it to humanize the working/functioning of the Solution, thereby making the explanation simplified enough to be understood even by a layman.

How does this really help?

Personifying your Solution into a distinguished character helps you create a visual analogy of your, otherwise difficult-to-visualize, Solution. This significantly enhances the understanding about your Solution, thereby improving its memorability too.

How to decide this lead character’s appearance

Try to first think of an analogy relating to your Solution. However, you should make sure that the analogy fits well with your Solution. Next thing you want to do is, visualize and create a meaningful character, relating to and best representing your analogy.

Related Post: Using Metaphors to Think Visually

The closer your lead character represents your ideal customer or your Solution, the more impressionable and relevant it is in explaining your idea, through a character animated explainer video.

Pull off an amazing Character Animation Video to communicate to your audience and drastically improve your chances of being heard and recognized!