How to Tell a Brand Story Through Animation?

Let’s say, you’re watching TV, a commercial comes on, and suddenly you’re sniffling.  Believe it or not, that tear-jerker might have been an animated ad!  Animation can take your brand message and turn it into something magical – something that grabs attention, sticks in your mind, and even makes you feel something.

So, how do you cook up a brand story that comes alive with animation?  Hold on tight, because I’m going to share how you can cook something like those lucrative ads. Though I’m not an industry expert but have worked with so many people and got the things during that period! So, let’s begin then!

How to Tell a Brand Story Through Animation

Frame the Story from the Audience’s Point of View

When it comes to brand storytelling, forget the “me, me, me” approach.  This isn’t about bragging about your awards or listing every fancy feature of your product. It’s about understanding your audience’s needs, desires, and pain points.

Here’s how to frame your story from their perspective:

What will be the Core Message?

Every great story has a central message or theme that ties the narrative together. For your brand story, this message should align with your brand values, mission, and unique selling proposition. It should be woven throughout the narrative, subtly reinforcing what sets your brand apart from the competition.

Ask yourself: What is the one thing you want your audience to take away from your story? Is it the importance of sustainability for an eco-friendly brand? Or perhaps it’s the value of innovation and pushing boundaries for a tech company.

For example, if you’re a luxury skincare brand, your core message could revolve around the power of self-care and prioritizing personal well-being. Your story could then explore the transformative effects of your products while emphasizing the brand’s commitment to using high-quality, natural ingredients. Throughout the narrative, you could showcase characters indulging in your products as part of a luxurious self-care routine, highlighting the rejuvenating and nurturing properties of your offerings.

Who are You Trying to Reach?

Different audiences have diverse preferences, cultural backgrounds, and life experiences. To craft a compelling brand story, you need to tailor your narrative to speak directly to your target demographic. Research their interests, aspirations, and challenges to create a narrative that feels relatable and authentic.

For instance, if you’re targeting millennial consumers, your story might incorporate elements of social consciousness, technology, and a desire for unique experiences. The characters could be young, environmentally-conscious individuals who value sustainability and seek out brands that align with their values. The narrative could explore how your brand’s eco-friendly products not only benefit the planet but also provide a sense of personal fulfillment and connection to a larger cause.

On the other hand, if your audience is primarily Gen X or Baby Boomers, your narrative could focus on themes of tradition, family values, and nostalgia. The characters could be a multi-generational family, with grandparents passing down cherished family recipes or traditions to their children and grandchildren. Your brand could be positioned as a trusted, time-honored source of comfort and reliability, with products that have stood the test of time and remain a beloved part of family rituals.

Write a Good Story

A great story has the power to captivate, inspire, and persuade. When crafting your brand narrative, focus on creating a compelling plot, well-developed characters, and engaging dialogue. Here are some tips to help you write a good story, complete with examples:

Start Strong

The opening scene sets the tone for your entire story. Hook your audience with an attention-grabbing introduction that piques their curiosity and makes them want to see what happens next. A strong opening can be the difference between someone watching your animation or scrolling past it.

For example, you could start with a relatable scenario that highlights a problem or challenge your audience faces. Imagine an animation depicting a young couple struggling to conceive a child, their dreams of starting a family seemingly out of reach. This immediately establishes an emotional connection and raises the question: “How will this couple overcome their challenges?”

Simple & Clear

While you want your story to be engaging, avoid convoluted plots or overly complex themes. Stick to a simple, straightforward narrative that is easy for your audience to follow. Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse or alienate viewers.

For instance, instead of using complicated terminology to explain a new product feature, you could use a relatable analogy or metaphor to convey the same idea in a more accessible way. If your brand has developed a revolutionary new smartphone camera, instead of delving into technical specifications, you could showcase characters capturing precious family moments or stunning landscapes, emphasizing the emotional impact of your technology.

Emotional Connection

The most memorable stories are those that evoke emotion. Whether it’s laughter, tears, or a sense of inspiration, aim to create an emotional connection with your audience. Share relatable experiences, explore universal themes, and tap into the human condition to forge a deeper bond with your viewers.

For example, a story about a parent’s unconditional love for their child could tug at the heartstrings of your audience, allowing them to empathize with the characters and associate those feelings with your brand. Imagine a scene where a parent works tirelessly to provide for their family, sacrificing their own desires to ensure their child’s happiness and well-being. This narrative could be used to highlight the values of hard work, dedication, and putting loved ones first – values that your brand embodies.

Create a Relatable and Memorable Character

Compelling characters are the heart of any great story. In animation, your characters become the face of your brand, embodying its personality and values. Create characters that are relatable, likable, and memorable to ensure your audience forms an emotional attachment.

Consider giving your characters distinctive traits, quirks, or backstories that make them feel like real people. This depth and complexity will make them more relatable and engaging for your audience.

For instance, if your brand is known for its sense of humor, you could create a character with a witty and sarcastic personality. This character could be an endearing but slightly cynical office worker who provides comedic relief and relatable commentary on the trials and tribulations of modern life. Through their humorous observations and interactions, your brand’s playful nature would shine through, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

Alternatively, if your brand is associated with ruggedness and adventure, your character could be a seasoned explorer or outdoor enthusiast. Their backstory could involve overcoming personal challenges or adversity, instilling a sense of resilience and determination that aligns with your brand’s values. Throughout the narrative, this character could showcase your products in action, demonstrating their durability and reliability in extreme conditions.

Choose the Right Animation Style

The visual style of your animation plays a crucial role in setting the tone and mood of your story. Consider your brand identity, target audience, and overall message when selecting an animation style. From 2D to 3D, hand-drawn to computer-generated, the right style can elevate your narrative and make it truly captivating.

For example, a whimsical, hand-drawn animation style might be perfect for a children’s brand, evoking a sense of wonder and imagination. The characters could be vibrant and exaggerated, with expressive facial features and movements that capture the boundless energy of childhood. The backgrounds could be richly detailed and fantastical, transporting viewers to a magical world where creativity and play reign supreme.

On the other hand, a sleek, minimalist 3D animation could be an excellent fit for a modern, high-tech brand, conveying sophistication and innovation. The characters could have clean, streamlined designs with subtle movements and expressions, reflecting the brand’s focus on precision and cutting-edge technology. The environments could be futuristic and minimalistic, with a heavy emphasis on clean lines, geometric shapes, and a color palette that aligns with the brand’s aesthetic.

Storyboard and Refine

Before you start animating, create a detailed storyboard that maps out every scene, camera angle, and character movement. This process allows you to refine your story, identify potential issues, and make necessary adjustments.

A storyboard is essentially a visual outline of your animation, consisting of a sequence of sketches or illustrations that depict the key moments and transitions in your narrative. This step is crucial for ensuring a cohesive and polished final product.

For instance, during the storyboarding process, you may realize that a particular scene is unnecessary or that the pacing feels off. Perhaps a character’s actions or dialogue don’t align with their established personality, or a plot point lacks clarity. By identifying and addressing these issues early on, you can save time and resources in the animation phase and ensure a seamless, engaging narrative.

For example, you might share your initial storyboard with a focus group representing your target audience. Their feedback could reveal potential cultural sensitivities, confusing plot points, or areas where the narrative fails to resonate. Based on their input, you can make adjustments to ensure your story truly connects with your intended demographic.

Bring Your Story to Life with Animation

Once you’ve refined your storyboard and addressed any potential issues, it’s time to bring your brand story to life through animation. This is where the magic happens, as your characters, environments, and narrative come together in a visually stunning and engaging format.

During the animation process, pay close attention to the little details that can elevate your story. The way a character moves, their facial expressions, and the nuances of their voice acting can all contribute to their relatability and memorability.

For example, if you’ve created a character who is meant to be quirky and eccentric, their movements and expressions should reflect that personality. Perhaps they have an exaggerated way of gesturing or a distinctive vocal inflection that adds to their charm and authenticity.

Additionally, consider how the music and sound design can enhance the emotional impact of your story. A soaring orchestral score can heighten the sense of triumph or inspiration, while subtle ambient sounds can ground the narrative in a tangible, realistic world.

Remember, animation is a powerful storytelling medium that allows you to bend the rules of reality and create truly captivating experiences. Don’t be afraid to embrace the fantastical or surreal elements that can make your brand story truly memorable.


Okay, that’s a lot to take in! But remember, the most important thing is to think about your audience. What are they struggling with? What are they hoping for?  Build a story that tackles those things head-on, and then throw in some animation magic to make it super memorable.

So, if you have a brand story that’s bursting to be told, don’t be afraid to get creative!  With a little planning and these tips, you can cook up an animated masterpiece that wins hearts and minds.

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