An Interview With Alex Safavinia

Explainer videos have gained popularity over the years as more and more businesses turn to video marketing techniques to introduce their brands and solutions.

These short videos are effective in storytelling. They give viewers a better understanding of a concept, an idea, a product or even a cause by engaging them through interesting visuals and narration.

To help you better understand how explainer videos can elevate your brand, improve your conversion rates and generate more leads, we spoke to Alex Safavinia, the Creative Director and CEO of Kasra Design to give you more insights into the perks of producing an explainer video.

Kasra Design is an animation company specializing in explainer video production. As of today, the company has created more than 700 videos for clients from around the world, many of which have gone viral and brought much success to their clients’ marketing campaigns.

Before we get into the interview, let’s take a look at some of the successful campaigns that Kasra Design took part in.

Maybank Hari Raya campaign

Maybank, also known as Malayan Banking Berhad is one of the top 5 banks in South East Asia and among the top 500 companies in the Forbes Global 2000 leading companies of the world.

This year, Kasra Design was engaged by Maybank to produce an animated short for their Hari Raya campaign. The video gained over 2 million views within 2 months and it is the most watched video on Maybank’s Youtube page.

Kasra Design has also collaborated with Wood Naturally (now known as Think Wood) in making a series of videos for their industry partners Softwood Lumber Board and American Wood Council. Some of these videos have reached over 1 million views on Wood, Naturally’s official Youtube page.

Wood Naturally explainer video campaign

Another viral video that Kasra Design produced was for Panasonic Malaysia. The video aimed to raise awareness of the general public about ceiling fan awareness. It has served its purpose by gaining almost 1 million views on the client’s Youtube channel and almost 200k views on Kasra Design’s channel.

Now, let’s go into the details of the interview with Alex.

1. Why is explainer video so popular these days?

It has always been popular it is just that we never called it the explainer video. Since TV was invented, we have seen many commercials telling stories and promoting brands and products along with it. These TV commercials mainly accompanied by narration (voice-over).

But running ads on TV channels has some disadvantages especially for small and medium businesses. The cost is quite high and there is a limit on how many times it will be played on these channels. To make it even less desirable, you should pay more for the time slots that are more popular with a wider audience.

Then Youtube came into the picture. There is no limit as to how many viewers you can get for your video. There is absolutely no cost to publish your video on the website. Not to mention Youtube gets more viewers than any TV station in the world! This is where explainer videos become very useful. You just have to bear the cost of production and if it is produced the right way you will see a great ROI and marketing result. This is why explainer video is very popular and I don’t see the craving for it to end any soon.

2. What are the steps in making an animated explainer video?

We start by researching the topic of the video. Once the research is complete, we write a script followed by style sheet development that determines the illustration style that we will be using for the video. Once it’s done we will start with storyboard sketching and digital storyboard.

Upon approval of the above, we will start animating the entire storyboard and sync it with the recorded voice over. Adding music and sound effects will be the final step. Some projects require further post-production efforts such as color grading and touch-ups.

3. How do you get started with a client?

We get to know their needs and goals such as what they want to achieve with the video. Every business is different and nobody knows it better than the business owners themselves. We try to gather as much as information as possible from the client before starting our internal research for the proposal.

Young entrepreneur watching explainer video

4. What are your client’s main concerns?

There are different types of concerns. Some are concerned if explainer video works for their brand and target audience. Some wants to know if live action or stock footage type of explainer videos work better than the animated type. Some clients have budget concerns. Nevertheless, we try to leverage our decade of experience in this industry to address these concerns and propose something that suits their business the best.

5. What are the secret sauces in producing an effective explainer video?

Make something people love to watch. The more funny and entertaining it is, the higher the chance of getting the audience attention. Sometimes a very unusual style of explainer video works pretty well. My advice is to be open minded when it comes to creating explainer videos. Clients should not limit the creativity of producers. An unorthodox idea can be your winning ticket against competitors.

6. Why viral videos matter? Does it worth the investment?

Of course it matters. Let me draw this scenario. If you’re introducing a new product and your goal for the video is to reach out to your target audience but you don’t know where to start. If you’re a start-up or you have budget constraint, a full fledged marketing campaign will not be possible.

But if you have a video which ends up going viral, it can help you create all the buzz and awareness that you need. And it will only cost you a fraction of what you would pay for a full marketing campaign so the investment is definitely worth it.

7. What is a realistic price range for animated explainer video production?

I’d say from $5000 to $15000 per minute. The price really depends on your choice of style. For example 3D animation takes a lot more time and expertise to produce as opposed to 2D animation.

But make no mistake, an expensive production does not guarantee your success. Being open minded and creating content that people like is going to push your video towards success.

How to know what kind of content people like? Ask the experts. Do not rely on your personal limited knowledge. It takes a team of experienced gurus to find out what your audience would want to see and hear.

It all starts with a clever script that makes sense and doesn’t bore the audience to death.

Explainer video script writing

8. Do you agree that script writing is a very important part of the production?

Yes. It is the foundation of your video. You can fail if you build your video based on the wrong foundation. Throughout the years, we have seen horrible scripts written by our clients. What we usually do usually to re-write and let our client review. Sometimes they don’t like to be on the right side of the street and insist on the bad ideas. In my experience all of these instances are doomed to fail.

9. Is it better to make a series of videos or only one introductory video?

It really depends on the goals. I suggest producing one main introductory video follow by service / product specific videos. Because if you want to cram all the products and ideas in one explainer video it will be lengthy and with people’s short attention span these days, your video won’t be watched as expected.

10. What is the best duration for an explainer video?

One minute to 90 seconds. If you need to include more information I’d strongly advise splitting your content into different videos. As explained above people’s attention span is short and we want to get the best out of it before they think of closing the video.

11. There is a pandemic and many businesses are affected. Do you think it is wise to make an explainer video or any other kind of marketing video in this situation?

Since pandemic our sales have improved. It was very surprising for me at first as I thought we would be affected since businesses are struggling to survive in bad economies. But it became clear to me that because events are cancelled and physical advertising is hit by pandemic, everybody turned to acquiring sales online instead.

You can’t move to online business (or e-commerce) without video marketing hence explainer videos have an even stronger position than before. In my opinion, the demand for videos and video marketing in general is most likely to increase in the years to come.

Video marketing

Conclusion

As Alex mentioned, explainer video is here to stay as the demand for video marketing remains strong despite the recent economic crisis brought upon by the pandemic. These videos are definitely the go-to commercial for SMEs and even big brands as they are cost-effective and can cater to a wide range of audience. Now that you’ve heard from the industry expert, we hope that you can get some useful pointers and insights from our interview to kickstart your explainer video project.