Finding the CGI needle in the haystack.


It was the first time we had met the advertising manager and a couple of engineers from a significant OEM that we had been trying to make a connection with for a long period of time.  We were excited to finally be able to meet her face to face and have a conversation about using technical animations in her marketing and advertising mix.  Then came the expected statement by one of the attending engineers that they really felt there was limited places to use technical animation with their product.  I told them I understood and then asked them to simply describe their product to me.  They produced a DVD, and began to go into great detail about their product using hand gestures, sketch paper and overly complex charts.

One of the most common difficulties that we encounter when we are first having conversations with prospective clients is that many of them have trouble identifying good places to use technical animations.  It is very true that it is not exactly intuitive to identify different opportunities to use this technology in many organizations.  Part of this difficulty is due to the fact that the technology is still relatively unfamiliar to most people, and so it may be difficult to apply.  We wanted to use this posting to discuss 5 presentation elements that could be an opportunity for you to use some form of technical animation.

  1. The hand jive presentation – The first telltale sign that there is a presentation element that can be enhanced with technical animations is when we see someone describe their product by using hand gestures and sweeping motions with their arms.  We know when we see this that there is an image that this person has in their head that they are trying to convey to the audience, however the hand gestures typically end up distracting from the message and make it even more difficult for your potential customer to understand your product.
  2. The “Laser Pointer” presentation – This is another sign that we look for when viewing presentations with our clients.  We feel that technical animations should make features and benefits of a product extremely obvious to whoever is viewing a presentation.  If the key advantage you are trying to show to your customers requires that you use some type of pointer then there is too much confusion in your image and more than likely it is too difficult for your customer to understand.  With technical animation benefits are font and center and easy to comprehend.
  3. The simulation result presentation – I had spent the better part of 10 years working on computer simulations for several companies in the past, and as much as I hate to admit it engineering analysis results simply are not that effective in selling products to customers.  The rare exception to this case is when your customer is an engineer, but even then it is difficult to convey your products technical advantages by looking at a image of rainbow colored swirls.
  4. The Adobe Flash presentation – This style of presentation is the exact opposite of the simulation presentation, and it typically oversimplifies the technical advantages of your products.  There are instances where this style of presentation can be helpful like when a business is trying to help a client understand a schematic of their product, but for more advanced topics it is very disengaging for customers.  People are captivated by novelty and moving images, and there simply are not enough engaging elements in Flash images.
  5. The Mixed Messages presentation – This type of presentation is a very dangerous type because it speaks to your customers without you even knowing it.  It can be seen when a company or organization is proclaiming that their products are best in class with technology and innovation.  The entire presentation uses engaging images and compelling grafts, but when the product is finally revealed it looks like the picture was taken with a handheld camera from a moving car.  This may leave your potential customer feeling like there is a mixed message coming from the presentation between the technology that is professed and the low tech image that is displayed.


The question you may have at this point is whether or not technical animations would be able to address all of these situations, and the answer is of course no.  If your entire presentation is full of technical animations it can easily overwhelm and create a noise of its very own.  As with all forms of marketing and advertising it is important to create an enjoyable mix of media for your customers to help them engage with your product in a memorable way.

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