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Explainer vs Brand Film

February 10, 2022

Unless you’ve been living under a bucket the last 10 years, you’ve heard the word, “Explainer”. What is an explainer exactly though?

An explainer is a video that simply explains a brand’s product or service in a quick and concise way. Often somewhere between 1 to 2 minutes in length, an explainer’s goal is to help a potential customer understand HOW a product or service can help them specifically.

This has often been thought of as a top-of-funnel piece of content to help people become both problem and product aware. An ideal first touchpoint for a brand, which is why you often find them on homepages.

Over the years, we’ve seen some really great explainers, but as brands have started seeing the value, we’ve naturally started seeing an oversaturation of the same boring tropes that are easy to forget. There’s the “Hi, this is Bob. Bob has a problem…”. And not to be outdone, there is also the infamous, but never that interesting — “whiteboard” animation.

Introducing, the Brand Film

We’ve come a long way with explainers over the years, but there is a new variant emerging… Not the COVID kind… And that is the Brand Film. A Brand Film, similar to an explainer, looks to make people “problem aware” and “product aware”, but in a different way. It uses storytelling to help potential customers remember them better. An Explainer is the HOW of your business and a Brand Film is the WHY. Rather than aiming to sell, a Brand Film focuses more on establishing a relationship. The main idea of a Brand Film is to guide people along the sales funnel, not forcibly shove them.

It’s no secret that humans are drawn to stories. In a recent article, we talk about how Story can elevate your video content. It’s not just some fluffy reasoning, IT’S SCIENCE! By triggering people’s oxytocin hormone, we create feelings like empathy, togetherness, relaxation, and trust. Most importantly, stories help us humans remember. Think about it, what’s your favorite content or ad? Chances are, there was a great story involved.

Brand Films are a great way to connect with an audience, not just tell them what you do.

So, are Explainers dead?

Now, this is not to say that the explainer is dead, quite the opposite actually. There’s still a great purpose for the explainer. At Made By Things, we strongly believe in the Brand Film as the first touchpoint and the Explainer as the second. It’s very important to give potential customers a clear idea of how you can help, but we must be careful of spouting facts, stats, and features too early in the customer relationship. 

Here’s a look at a recent project we completed for Provide. We helped them create both a Brand Film AND an explainer as a powerful 1-2 punch for gaining awareness with their audience. Let’s first look at the Brand Film.

Now let’s take a look at the Explainer.

See the difference? In the Brand Film, we focus on a story of a customer. We show that we understand the challenges they’ve faced and speak to it in a way that places THEM as the hero and Provide is simply the guide.

Then, in the Explainer, we go into more of the specifics of how Provide helps their customers. Even showing them the first steps while not getting too technical.

Want some help on creating a Brand Film for your brand? Head over to our “Start a project” link, answer a few questions with as much detail as you can, and we’ll get back to you within 2 business days.


Written by Matt Vojacek

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