What makes an explainer video good? - Suresoft Technologies [VIDEO]

In this video about content marketing using video, you'll learn about what makes an explainer video good; in other words, how to make an effective explainer video. I will use the video I made for Suresoft Technologies as an example, and as kind of a case study. Hopefully, this helps you understand what is needed when creating effective video marketing content. Everywhere you look online when it comes to marketing is all about Video. And this could be either pre-recorded videos or the latest thing, which is Live Video feeds. So what I wanted to talk about in this week's post was what makes an explainer video good because explainer videos, or animated videos, are one of the most effective ways to talk about something in simple and engaging way.


What explainer videos are good for

As I just mentioned, explainer videos are effective in talking about something in a simple and engaging way. In particular, they are great for taking something complicated, breaking it down, and explaining whatever that is in a way that makes sense and is easy to understand, and also memorable.

Explainer videos are also great because they don't date

What I mean is that compared to a live video with a real person, an explainer video can be used over a much longer period of time. The reason is that from year-to-year, people look different, hairstyles and fashion change, so you don't necessarily want to remake your live videos every single year. And if somebody in your company moves on, and they are in your video, you're kind of screwed because you need to update the video without that person. That can get expensive if you need to hire somebody like myself to make your videos.

Of course, I'm not bashing Live Video's because there is definitely a place for those types of videos, and I'm very happy to make those for my clients. I'll talk more about live videos in another post but this week, I wanted to talk about what happened with the explainer video I made for Suresoft Technologies.

They wanted just the facts and I said no

Most IT companies tend to believe that they only need to present what they do and how they do it to get their audience to take the next step. However, we have to remember that your audience is made up of people, and people want to be entertained or engaged by your video. That's why when sure soft technologies wanted something more fact-based and technical, I argued against it. Thankfully, they trusted my opinion.

The focus should be on them

When we made this explainer video, the client wanted a general video that would be used for all of the industries they work with. But I suggested a targeted video for a specific audience because the video needs to let the viewer know that your company and your products and services are made for them.

This means that your video must speak to your audience, and it must be in the language that your audience understands.

The result was gratifying

Suresoft was still somewhat apprehensive or skeptical as the video was being made. Part of the reason was that they had never made anything like this and they were used to a much more conservative and traditional approach to sales and marketing. Plus, they were on an extremely tight deadline and the video was going to be shown to the big car manufacturers out there in Detroit. So there was a lot riding on this video.

But once the video was shown, all of their apprehension and concern turned to confidence because the audience was engaged from the outset. Once the video was finished, the audience wanted to learn more and had a lot of questions related to how Suresoft could help them. Basically, the video got the conversation going in the right direction. And this is something that hadn't happened to Suresoft in the past.

Here's what Richard from Suresoft had to say:

When we contacted Carl about getting a video made, we were unsure if Carl could help us explain what we do. Our company specializes in software verification and validation for major industries like automotive, nuclear power and telecommunications. Critical but slightly dry topic. We had our own ideas about how to structure the video, but Carl suggested a different approach.

The video he made completely surpassed our expectations and helps our customers understand exactly what we do in an engaging and entertaining way. The video gets customers talking and asking questions during our sales presentations, which has been a huge win for us. The video creates a great first impression and helps our sales people have conversations, rather than just simply pitching.

Carl has a talent for understanding business objectives, communicating ideas and identifying core messages. Combined with his voiceover and video production skills, he offers a unique and valuable service. He is also very easy to work with and was always fast in responding to emails. We wholeheartedly recommend Carl and look forward to establishing a long term relationship with him.

Check out the Suresoft Technologies video


Time to talk?

If you’re looking to get into video content marketing or you’re doing it but want to up your game, let me know and let’s see how we can work together.

Over the Moon - Baby Announcement Video for Ian H Watkins of Steps and Craig Ryder

So this is not one of my usual videos, since most of my videos for clients tend to be animated explainer videos. But it was certainly one of the most fun and gratifying videos I've ever made. This video is a special one for me, as I was asked to create an animated video to announce to the world that Steps' Ian H Watkins and his partner, Craig Ryder, are expecting twins. This was by far, one of my absolute favourite projects because how often do you get to help people share such great news, right?

Said Ian on Twitter...

Steps Ian H Watkins baby video by Carl Kwan


Steps was a pop group from the UK that had a bunch of hit songs in Britain. Not sure they ever made it to North America, but judging by the number of fans they still have, I'd say they were quite popular. And according to Wikipedia, Steps has sold over 20 million records worldwide.

Cut Out Heads This was also the first time I had to make a video using cut out heads stuck onto the body of a PowToon character. I made something like this for myself, but never for a client project.

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun!

Challenges The most challenging part was covering up enough of the character's body so it's own head didn't show. The other challenging part was getting a good cut out of Ian and Craig's heads, but luckily, Craig's photoshop girl came to the rescue.

If you had to attempt cutting out your head on your own, which sounds weird, it's not impossible but you might want to save yourself the headache (haha, see what I did there?) and just find someone on fiverr.com to do this for you.

I Had No Clue When I was first contacted by Craig, he mentioned that he and his partner Ian were about to become parents and wanted to create an animated PowToon video to make the announcement. He said that nobody knew and that it was going to be a big surprise because he and Ian were going to have twins.

  • I had absolutely no clue who Craig and Ian were.
  • I had no clue that Ian was Ian "H" Watkins from the UK pop group Steps.
  • I had no clue Craig was a talented and well known theatre producer and director.

In fact, I had no clue what the heck Steps was!

Google to the Rescue After we had finalized working together on their video, I needed to send Craig a storyboard preview. But to get a somewhat accurate representation of their bodies for the video, I Googled their names.

And that's when I felt like a total idiot, which happens a lot, anyway, because Craig and Ian were, well, Craig and Ian!!

Ian is Awesome Throughout the process of creating the video, I couldn't have asked for better feedback and ideas than I received from Ian. The concept and story for the video were all Ian's idea, and I just had to make it reality.

Pushed My Limits One of the best things about making this video was Ian's feedback and ideas, as they pushed me to look at PowToon in a different way and find creative methods for creating the video. Anytime you can stretch beyond your limits and learn something new, that's valuable, especially when it comes to new ideas for content marketing videos.

Anyway, PowToon has become quite a powerful tool and keeps getting better with every new feature that's added. For example, I had no idea you can control the character animations. These aren't fancy, but they do the trick. You can specify how many times a character or prop does their animated move. This is handy when you don't want, or need, a character to keep waving.

There's even a new collaboration feature that people are going to love!

Well Received But the most important part of the whole project is that Ian and Craig love the video and their families were excited and moved to tears by it. Ian and Craig tried having a child several years ago so actually becoming parents is very exciting.

"A massive thank you to Carl for all his hard work on our animation. We were a bit apprehensive about finding someone on the internet (that we had never met) to manage our project but quickly we realised that Carl was professional, reliable and super talented. We are over the moon with the final result. We would highly recommend Carl to create something wonderful for you." ~ Ian "H" Watkins

I'm so grateful for the opportunity and look forward to helping you with your project, too! Get in touch with me here to find out how to get your own video, baby announcement or otherwise!



Happy News!

Just wanted to quickly share a message I received from someone who I have gotten to know over the last few years. I don't remember exactly when, but I was contacted by an incredibly talented, aspiring art student from Japan. She had watched my videos, asked for some tips/advice and we had kept in touch via Facebook since then. It's been great seeing her progress through art school in the US, and today I received wonderful news that she is now working in NY. I know it was all her own effort and immense talent, so it was super nice when she thanked me and my videos for helping her land her new job.

Emi, thank you! And best of luck.

Got job using tips from Carl Kwan's presentation videos.












Main image: "Top of Rock Cropped" by Dschwen - English Wikipedia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Top_of_Rock_Cropped.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Top_of_Rock_Cropped.jpg

Yeon & Nature Natural Birth Center Promo Video

This is part of a series of videos highlighting businesses in Korea. Businesses everywhere can really benefit from using video to show potential customers what type of experience they will have. Business promotional videos can be used on your website to greet visitors, on your YouTube Channel to build an online presence... All to create greater brand awareness and to make it easy for customers to choose your business.

This video series is a collaboration with AngloInfo Seoul, Korea's premiere directory for expats. Danielle Odenath from AngloInfo Seoul played a huge role in making this project happen. Much credit goes to her.

My role was on the creative/marketing end and I directed, filmed and edited the video.

Get in touch with me to find out how to get a video made and start using video effectively for your business.

UPDATE: Just received the following message from Yeon & Nature

Dear Carl and Danielle,

I am writing to both of you guys to express a huge thank you for making the great film. All staff in our clinic including Dr. Park are very impressed by the well-made video. This video will be a significant asset to promote our business. It is a really great pleasure to work with Angloinfo. Thank you once again.

Best regards,

Sophie Chung International Business Manager

Y&N Website: http://yeonandnature.com/ Y&N Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/englishyeonandnature


Carl Kwan

Yeon & Nature Natural Birth Center, Seoul

AngloInfo Seoul

This was very nice!

Just got a super-nice comment on one of my presentations videos... Comment of YouTube Channel Carl Kwan 2013-09-27 at 11.41.02 AM

So happy to know that people are learning and using the tips.

Thanks to Sky and everyone else for the continued support.

New videos coming soon... Just been busy with all the PowTooning lately :)


4,000 YouTube Channel Subscribers! Thank you!

Just wanted to give a huge shout out to everyone that has supported me on YouTube and elsewhere. My YouTube Channel has achieved another milestone and every time I hit one of these it is a humbling experience that I'm extremely grateful for. So as always, credit and thanks go out to all of you that have supported and encouraged me. Here's an example of the type of messages I get that inspire me to continue doing this... This is from Ryan, who asked me for some advice for his presentation. I'm happy to help people who prepare something then want feedback because I know they've put in the work first. Anyway, Ryan was one such person and this was his message...

THHHHHAAAAANNNNKKKKKYYOOOOUUU, Mr. Kwan! Your videos made me much more confident and they definitely paid off! Of course, I was nervous at the moment that my name was called, but I went up anyway. Unfortunately, the website (Glogster) completely scrambled all of my media and pictures/videos for my presentation (which was approximately 40% of my presentation) and I to do some on-the-spot things to keep my classmate's attention-but it went GREAT! I utilized your idea to use the candy as their lives (of course, they went crazy for that candy, haha). Before I walked out of class today, my teacher stopped me and told me that I MUST join DECA and that she was even willing to pay for my membership (I'm going to pay myself). Anyway, I'm truly grateful for your help, and it looks like I'm definitely going to need to review your videos daily for now on! Thanks again!

Pretty awesome, huh? Great job Ryan! And thanks once again to all of you for your support.


Inspiring Message of Success

I received the following message from Jessica yesterday over at my old PresentationExpressions.com site. I wanted to share the message because it is so inspiring. It tells me that with motivation and determination, anything can be overcome. Here is Jessica's message...

"Good day sir! We are plannning a few weeks before I watch your videos in youtube a presentation for the class. And I was given the responsibity to represent our group because they “think” that I was able enough to handle one and I doubt that because of the fact that I am an introverted type of person. Lately, because of my goals and aspirations in life, I finally decided to STAND up for something. Since that day people were impressed because of a great potential that I possess. Perhaps, that was the reason why I was tasked to host a presentation. I find it hard because speaking in public is my weakness. But then I realize with constant practice, a driving motivation, reading a lot and most imporatantly, listening to your pieces of advice would soon turn me into a great and inspiring speaker that you was once. I really appreciate every word that you say and it really motivates me to stand up and speak! You’re really an amazing person sir."

I'm sure Jessica will continue finding success because she has learned to control her emotions and find a way to motivate herself when things seem difficult. This isn't just about presenting, but a whole new way she can approach her life.

It's amazing to hear and I hope it inspires others to follow.


  Photo Credit: ladyvee9 via Compfight cc