We read white papers, PowerPoint decks and other marketing collateral for reference. Then we talk to people — on the phone, in webinars, sometimes even face-to-face. The conversational tone that distinguishes our work comes from spending time talking with salespeople, product managers, engineers, and others who spend time with customers. That's how we figure out who the prospect is and how the prospect views the problem you're pitching the solution to.
The research phase generally takes a few days — depending on who's available, when.
We write a narration script that tells the story —in about 250 words — of how the prospect's life on the job will be made better by our client’ solution. The descriptions of the visuals will be a little vague (e.g., “drill down troubleshooting screen shots”, “IT exec under cost pressure”). We think it’s most important to get the structure right first.
We prefer getting feedback over the phone (“not enough emphasis on feature X!”), to having the client rewrite the script —, because the rewrite rarely takes into consideration what will appear on the screen, and usually runs three minutes or more.The script usually goes through two or three drafts before we have the story set up in a way that more-or-less satisfies everyone. The script will undergo further refinement as we develop animation.
We record a temporary narration track and work with animation artists to visualize the story. We do not storyboard the 2-Minute Explainer; we develop the ideas in Flash, and work with the client to refine the presentation as we go. That is, we animate about 30 seconds, share it with the client, make changes as required — including rewriting and re-recording parts of the script — then we move forward to the next 30 seconds.
The look and feel of the presentation is generally adapted from the client’s graphic standards or the look and feel of their website. The mix of graphical elements — diagrams, photos, charts, animation — is determined by the client’s preference, the artist’s preference, what’s available, and what works to put across the value proposition.
To record and insert the professional narration usually takes only half a day. We supervise the recording session at a leading New York recording studio. Some clients like to join the recording session, in-person, or on the phone. Talent is selected collaboratively with the client —we have a few people we like to work with because they come across as sincere and business-like, but we’re glad to expand the roster if none seems just right.
2-Minute Explainers can be downloaded immediately, in formats suitable for web deployment and for use in presentations or as a trade show loop.The client takes ownership of all source files, which can be updated, localized, or used as a library of artwork for PowerPoint presentations and other collateral.
Bruce McKenzie, principal, does the writing. He has advanced degrees in business and journalism. He has worked in public broadcasting and the paper industry, where he held jobs in communications and marketing.
Lorna Pautzke, principal, does the editing and manages projects. She has an MBA. She used to be a product manager for a very large paper manufacturer.
Anthony Coccia directs art and animation. He is a graduate of the University of the Arts, in graphic design. His specialty is motion graphics for business.