Where to use Animated Video Content

Animated MickeyWalt Disney drew the mouse in 1928. That’s 86 years ago ! And until recently, cartoons were for kids.

Pixar made adults fall in love with Animation. And pay for it.  Pixar

It started in 1995 with Toy Story and recently evangelists like James Cameron and Steven Spielberg have set new standards with content like Avatar and Tintin.

Of course – these productions are expensive and are designed for a different purpose. But when it comes to Animated content – we all love them because they are harmless.

Lovable, memorable, actionable – as we call them at the factory.

Here are 5 places where your animated video stories can impact your sales conversations.


You’ll meet people. Prospects come to your booth. They don’t know you – you don’t know them. Always open with a joke.

Animated films like this will pique enough curiosity that they’ll want to ‘know more’. That’s your cue right there.

“We used these videos at our HiTec booth last year and they were great. They worked well for us to engage our customers at the booth.”

Neha Singh, Senior Marketing Manager, Knowcross.


Before you show them your software UI – tell them a funny story. Tell them what catastrophe will befall upon them if they don’t use your software !

Okay that was a bit extreme – but videos like this are perfect for any webstore.

“The video worked well to attract people to download Keymails and try it out. Without the video we’d have to show screens and the core concept of why we made the tool would have been lost.”

Pankaj Kulkarni, Founder Keymails.com


We’re all busy. So are your prospects. Instead of spending time writing long emails – which also take time to read and comprehend – make them smile. And wrap your promise inside that smile.

Investors, prospects, employees – we are all stressed at work. No one wants to meet you without a purpose. Give them one – inside 100 seconds.

“We want to point and shoot – not spray and pray. Its easier to start a meeting with a premise set – and this video will help us do exactly that.”

Aniket Thakur, Marketing Manager, KPIT Technologies Ltd.



They aren’t techies. Don’t expect them to understand your tech. Just give them a use-case. And they’ll write about it. All journos are looking for cool stories.

“There was no better way to explain Planned Departure to Journalists. The video worked perfectly there.”

Komal Joshi – Founder PlannedDeparture.com

Content is always supposed to start conversations. And nothing gets a conversation going faster than Audio Visual content.

Where have you used your animated content recently? How has that worked – tell me in the comments below. If your data is verifiable  – I’ll build an infographic around it and promote your product for free.

Disclaimer – all videos in this post have been produced at the GVT factory.


Experience. Peer. Learning.

How can these 3 words go together? Experience is all about failing. We’re competing with peers. And who the hell wants to learn ??

Allow me to sell to you – India’s first true bootcamp for Product Entrepreneurs – #PNCamp, happening in Pune in December this year.

“…to your context…” – watch this video about a customer. You’ll appreciate why learning is directly connected to decision making.

“…I thought it was me…” – another customer. Why and how peers can play a fantastic role in arriving at solutions. They’ve made mistakes that you don’t need to. Vice versa.

“….tunnel vision….” – the curse of knowledge. From a veteran.

Product Entrepreneurs are battling their demons every hour, every day. And inside this battle lies the glory of winning. From the outside it looks like chaos and madness. But there is a sense to it all. See this deck below to get a better idea.

How silly of me… almost forgot to mention … this is a by invite only event. You don’t want to be left out. You’ll find the registration links below the deck.

See you in the city that was the top 3 shortlisted cities to be India’s capital back in the day.

100 minds – 8 mins with each.

In simple maths, every one of the 100 who saw the videos, was kept engaged for at least 8 minutes. Assuming they didn’t see all of the videos – a sales guy was around to continue conversations.

Humans have recently surpassed the attention span of a goldfish. And you thought keeping a goldfish engaged was easy….

Knowcross sells a service automation and management software to Hotels. It’s called Triton. Some of the world’s reputed hotels are their customers. For good reason – the tool is just remarkable to see at work.

Recently they attended HiTec – world’s largest and most expansive hospitality technology event.

“We were one of the last to book our space and we missed the best spots on the floor. Even with that, we managed to get about 200 people to the booth in 3 days. And about half of them we kept engaged through a touchscreen that played the 8 videos.”

Neha Singh | Senior Manager Marketing at Triton


Here are the 8 videos in their glory.

Triton EngineeringTriton MobileTriton SupervisorTriton Attendant




Content is one of those things a marketer has to spend money on. The pursuit, however – is to find the highest ROI from content. 

Here are 3 things that made their conference content investment a high return exercise:

1. Spray it. Don’t just say it.

Pepper your audience with multiple small bite sized information.

When you are expecting guests – as in a trade show particularly – try to put up more than a single piece of information.

So 100 brochures is great. But a choice between 20 each of 5 types of brochures – is a better idea. Within the first audience set (5 – 10 people), you’d know which brochures to send the mascot with.

“The 37 inch touchscreen had an application running. So after they see one video, they’d be presented with another one, and then another. This allowed us to comprehensively cover the product and its propositions without them getting bored with one long video. ”

– Neha Singh. senior Manager Marketing at Triton.

2. Address different causes.

If you can solve my problem – tell me how much you’ll charge. You’ve got 8 seconds. Go.

So Engineering has its own problems. Housekeeping has its own problems. The management has its own problems. And individuals within these units – have their own problems.

For Engineering – they made a different story – connected to the engineering’s cause. See this.
For Housekeeping – they made a different story – connected to the housekeeping’s cause. See this.
And for Senior Management – they made a more overarching story – connected to the business’ cause. See this.

So if Joe the CEO wanted to check with Bob the CTO – they would both just huddle at the booth. There’s a bunch of smartie pants ready to answer questions.

Instant gratification as many cultures call it.

3. Consistent and simple visuals

We eat with our eyes – as taught in culinary schools. That’s why plating is important.

Did your eyes catch the variation in the color RED above ?

In their case, the characters were simple with little detailing. So there was no distraction. And the colors and icons are consistent.

See the image to the left – there are 3 slides one below the other.

Did your eyes catch the slight change in color?

Imagine how distracted you’d get if the characters, scenes, music, or even narrator’s voice changed on each video. 

They got this done from a single creative team. A set of minds that didn’t change during the production process. This ensured visuals and audio and the look n feel and the sounds and voices – were all synchronized. Everything looks and sounds in sync.

Its like Ballet.

So the costumes were same colors. The characters were similar. The situations and icons were similar. Think different episodes of a television series.

If you have dabbled in Video marketing, what kind of results have you got from your initiatives? I would love to hear your thoughts.

7 tips to build a script :: a Step by Step guide

I wish it was mathematical. But it isn’t. There are unlimited combinations when building a story. That’s what makes it so much fun to consume – you never know how the storyteller tells it… 

So instead of giving you tips in a bulleted format – let’s build a script together.

What we know (or must know) before we start:

  1. This is for a 60 sec pitch video about a product called Glitch from Triton.
  2. They sell to Hotels. Their audience is clearly marked out.
  3. What the product does has been clearly documented.
  4. We need to bring out a call to action so they visit the product website.
  5. We are selling to Hotel people – they don’t have time to consume long form content – so the video should not be soggy and heavy – it should be light and brief. This means no more than 2-3 propositions. 

STEP 1: Start with a problem

” Guests want something – you deliver. Its simple. But when this doesn’t happen – your guest will get upset and then…. she’ll tell the world about it. The last thing you’d want is to read about such episodes on Social channels. “

Your product may solve many problems – choose only ONE to start with. Choose the problem that’s closest to your customer’s customer. Your customer cares about that. 

As you can see, we get to the problem quickly. The script doesn’t teach anyone. It just sketches out a scenario that will happen when the problem arises – customers will crib about your hotel’s service.

So here’s the first tip: 

TIP#1 – Get straight to the problem. Don’t beat around the bush. 

The easiest way to do that is to think like a customer and ask yourself – WHY MY FEATURE. Think what makes sense for you (you’re wearing the customer hat mind you). Think about that exact problem it solves. And then write that problem in simple words. Be direct and obnoxious if you have to – we’ll soften it later. 

STEP 2: Lets talk about our product a little

” There’s an easier way. Triton’s Glitch. Glitch alerts you when something has gone wrong in the service. And what you had to give up to … well… sort it out…. “

Part 2 of the script talks about the product. But not too much. We’re just making an overarching comment about the product. This is the main proposition or a product ‘tagline’ if you will. 

Tip #2 – Resist the urge to start talking about features here. Instead – make an overarching statement that comprehensively explains the product. 

This is around the 20 second mark. This is the time your audience will make a decision if this problem-solution pair interests them or not. 

Tip #3 – To optimize your video – ensure that the bucket personas as close to each other as possible. In every way… 

If you know what fish are in the river – you’ll be more successful in fishing. That’s because you won’t need to change the hook after every catch – you can just add the bait and cast your line again with the same hook. 

STEP 3 – Explain the feature a bit

” Whenever a service breakdown happens – all departments are instantly alerted and the right manager meets the upset guest, apologizes and offers a compensation. “

We’re going to show how the tool will work. We’re being absolutely real. This happens and then this happens and then this happens.

Tip #4 – use real cases where your customer has benefited and use that as the central pivot to build a story. This is another technique of writing a script – where you start with a situation and come back to the overarching product tagline. 

STEP 4 – play the second trump card

“What you get at the end of the day are clean reports that mark out repeated service breakdowns and compensations spent on them – across multiple properties.” 

We play our second trump card – a business benefit around data. We’re telling the hotel people that they can track and audit their expenses. No business likes to lose money and we chose to work around that sentiment when writing this line.

Tip #5 – sometimes your product may not have a ‘reporting feature’. In this case – try to bring out another feature or proposition. For eg. – X-app can also send you instant alerts…, Y-cloud will immediately shut down ports…, Z-service will raise a ticket… This is the second trump card. 

STEP 5 – Wrap it up

“No wonder a renowned Hotelier claims 18% jump in guest satisfaction scores since they implemented Glitch. Check it out today.”

We use some of our customer conversations and pick out a data point that one of the customers mentioned. This brings a reality check to the audience about the 2 claims we made earlier – step 3 and step 4. 

Tip #6 – Nothing convinces like data. Use as much data as possible in your stories. Avoid fairy tale endings and princesses and frogs. 

Tip #7 – Though I just said don’t use fable characters – one of the techniques is to start a story with a misdirection. So use these animals to start stories – not to end them. 

– – – – – – – – –

Here are 3 criteria I consider when evaluating a script:

  1. Is there any humor in the first 20 seconds. If the script doesn’t have humor – animation should. Or the screenplay. Or the audio – something must make the audience smile.
  2. After reading the script till the end – I should be able to recollect the first line of the script – without having to go back to the script. This means the script is light and catchy enough for my mind to be able to recollect what I read a few seconds ago. The information ‘stack’ on me is small enough for my mind to register and remember. 
  3. Word limit and sentence size. No more than 150 words and as small sentences as possible.

– – – – – – – – –

 Together now – this is the script in its final avatar. 

” Guests want something – you deliver. Its simple. But when this doesn’t happen – your guest will get upset and then…. she’ll tell the world about it. The last thing you’d want is to read about such episodes on Social channels.

There’s an easier way. Triton’s Glitch. 

Glitch alerts you when something has gone wrong in the service. And what you had to give up to … well… sort it out…. 

Whenever a service breakdown happens – all departments are instantly alerted and the right manager meets the upset guest, apologizes and offers a compensation. 

What you get at the end of the day are clean reports that mark out repeated service breakdowns and compensations spent on them – across multiple properties.

No wonder a renowned Hotelier claims 18% jump in guest satisfaction scores since they implemented Glitch. Check it out today. “

5 tips to making a killer product video

Your product has something worthy – its just that no one reads now. So how do you make your audience appreciate the worthiness of your product. They’re hearing you – but are they listening to you? 

Videos use 2 out of our 5 senses and if designed right – a video can help you can slip the pill. A pill that will start a conversation. And a conversation is the start to any sale.

For hygiene – videos are of many types. A video can entertain (Avatar the movie), It can teach (NGC the channel) and it can sell (explainer videos). I’m talking about the last on the list – quick explainer videos that showcase a USP of your product. 

Here are my top 5 tips to making your product video stand out:

1. Number of propositions

Sure your product has half a dozen value propositions. But your audience can only remember a few of them. In a minute – try to restrict the propositions to 1 or 2 at the most. 

Its better you say 1 thing two times than 2 things once.

This is a proposition heavy video. (you’ll notice how little propositions you’ll remember after you’ve seen it) 

2. Number of seconds 

Brevity plays a big role in any content. Not at the cost of the propositions though – but exceeding 90 seconds can cause slow death. 

See this 2:28 min video we did for a tech startup and then compare it to the 68 second one for another product – you’ll appreciate the difference. 

3. Speed/Velocity 

The pace of the video is perhaps the trickiest to set. If the speed is too fast – ideas will zip by. If its too slow – your audience will lose attention. Damn these fickle minded audience I tell you ! 

The trick is to build the speed based on the propositions. At govideotoday, we set the pace based on how many UIs are to be shown, or how many propositions need to be delivered. We also take into consideration the pace of the narrator (voice over) and the genre of the background score. 

This is a fast video. The pace limits the understanding of the product. 

4. Audio 

Most forget that Audio Visual – is 50% Audio ! As a musician and a self-taught audio engineer, I can tell you that if you get the audio wrong – all hell will break loose. 

The trick to judge any audio is to close your eyes. Silly I know – but by closing your eyes, you’ll prevent distraction and you’ll focus on the tonal quality of the voice over, the beat in the music, the gain levels, and how the music contours the voice. 

I know this may not be precise but audio engineering is not a science yet and most audio engineers get paid (or used to) because they just had good ears. Its pretty much like a painting on canvas. After a few years of doing it – your eyes can detect the goods and the bads. 

In my opinion, this video has a good audio master. (notice the beat on the score)

5. Reality – use case 

This is the BEST way to make your video rock. Real use case of where your software made a hit with the customer. Call it a case study or a client showcase – the use case is real, therefore its something your target audience can relate to, and therefore its got trust written all over it. 

When people trust you – they’ll talk to you. What did I say about conversations earlier – remember? 

This is a video that you’ll so easily relate to.

If you’re a pastry fan like me – you’ll know that the light and crispy pastry always wins over the oily and soggy. That’s not a personal choice – that’s how we ALL like it. Any marketing content is subject to the same prejudices. 

Keep it short. Simple. and Humorous. Humor is the best way to break any resistance. 

What have been your favorite product videos? 

Top 10 mistakes Product Entrepreneurs Make

Inspired from Pallav Nadhani’s interview – this infographic is meant for all those entrepreneurs who dream of building a global product.  From delegating to hiring a sales team and to putting an end to customizing products – these tips are invaluable. Pallav, you rock! and thanks for sharing these precious jewels of entrepreneurship! 

Indian Product owners solving problems that Indian Business Owners are facing

In the Speaker Lounge at NPC12, I asked Bob Wright what new he saw at the conclave this year. He said this year he sees Indian Product owners solving problems that Indian Business Owners are facing. This SMB market in India is lying legs-wide-apart – only money can be made here.
Here are 3 industries that I believe are fertile grounds in India:
1. Diagnostics – Data that allows the doctor to search through a list of symptoms and identify possible diseases. Usually the earlier you catch the disease – the easier it is to kill it. 
Which is why Vinod Khosla is betting on this company. That heart monitor can go with you everywhere – so there’s a doctor in the world willing to pay for it. Insurance money, hostpital earnings, patient benefits – you can see there’s nothing not to like in it – as long as it does its job cheaply. 
However dependence on hardware is still mandatory in this space. So before you jump in with your cloud-ready software and all that – do note that the doctors haven’t used computers like you have. The still get scared when you ask them to log off their machine and log back in. 
2. Aviation – the Indian government has crippled the Aviation business. There’s a massive gap between government policies (esp. taxation) and consumer need (Cheaper faster travel). Which is all the more why software is needed to bring in automation and tremendous savings for the Service provider – the Airline. Last I checked – that was what the LCC business was all about. 
IBS Plc is one of Kerala’s success stories that’s got logistics sorted through software. But there’s no success story for software that got the Airline industry sorted. Sabre and SAP solve part challenges. Most Airlines have their software custom crapped or have to invest in scary expensive systems built over the last million years. 
3. Parental Policing – Parents are shit scared of their kids getting hooked to the wrong things on the internet. And by scared I mean paranoid. A wireless router that looks sober and protective, priced at around $70, with a cloud based service that allows data reporting on the pad. 
Meraki does enterprise policing. They’re trying to do whaling, but their product can easily be turned around to make mothers feel so much secure.i7 networks – are you listening? 
Do you know any Indian companies in this space? I would love to get a chance to tell their stories.

Your Content MVP fails…. eh?

About a month ago, I had a very interesting discussion with Rajan from Intuit about why content is a product and how the lean startup rules should be applied to it.

Let’s get the definitions out of the way.

A minium viable product (MVP) in its simplest form, is the least number of iterations you’ve done on your product before presenting it to someone who you hope will pay for it.

Sure there are lots of loose words here – but I’ll come around to them in a minute. Keywords here are features and pay.

Lets take software first – we’ll talk about content later.

If your software has 2 features, you would obviously want to make sure that the 2 features actually work before you put the MVP out. You cannot expect a person who may buy your software (prospect) to ‘imagine’ what those features will work like. Naturally paying for it gets chucked out of the window.

If it doesn’t do its job – the feature is useless.

Content behaves exactly the same way. In this case the ‘feature’ correlates to ‘objective’.

WHAT is expected from the content piece? WHAT emotions need to be provoked by it? WHAT memories need to be generated in the user’s mind?

You get my drift don’t you?

If content doesn’t do its job – its design, look and feel is useless. The buyer (could be your mother receiving your call or your university of choice receiving your SOP) cannot ‘imagine’ what the infographic will look like. What the VIDEO will turn out like. And what the Brochure design will look like in print.

All they see – is the MVP. So the features better work.

Applying the lean startup rules to content isn’t impossible. It can still be done. However the build-measure-learn loop should now be applied to learning from each content piece. Not the activity of building the content.

So each blog post that you’re writing – can give you the report card that provides you with the right dataset for taking actions towards the next iteration. A better product or a better blog post.

Eric Ries’ and Steve Blank’s concepts around the Lean startup are fundamentals. But just like you’re applying them to your product and its features, think about applying them to your content and its objectives too.

3 tips to ensure your content is MVP ready:

1. Know thy emotion. If you’re presenting to your CEO – know what emotions you are trying to evoke in her – that’s always a good starting point.

I can’t help you if you’ve got a sucky CEO.

2. It’s wrong if it feels wrong. You’ll know when your content piece is doing its job. And when not. The slightest of doubts means its not ready. Don’t put it out. The content’s features aren’t working.

However diagnosing the problem is like fixing a bug. Helps when the herd doesn’t try to solve it.

3. Put in a premise. Before you demo your software, you present a ‘premise’ first. Do that with your content too. Setting the premise will allow your audience to tune-in. Much easier to etch messages when their minds are free.

What have been your most successful content pieces (features)? How do you know that (validated feedback)?

5 speaker quotes @NPC12 & what they mean

5 phrases I heard and overheard at NPC12 and what they mean. I’m open to a thrash-out on this.

1. “Initially I was skeptical about coming to NPC. Now I want to come here every year.”

– First time at NPC + US based speaker with 100% audience feedback. 

Achievers in America are looking towards India. There’s a reason.

The PULSE that ignited so many industries in the 90s with the sudden wave of IT based services has had no follow up. Companies were able to generate value from the cost arbitrage. Labour was (is) cheap and American companies found (find) Indians to be extremely high ROI.

Until now.

The ITES model has not been able to add the same value as earlier. The pipes are drying out. Software demand has moved away from custom services to problem-solving-price-effective-free-support software.

Almost no one wants to pay for software that doesn’t save lives or makes money.

The ITES ecosystem is attracting the lowest ranks of talent. The good and smart ones that remain are breaking out and building products. Or at least in deep contemplation. Much expected – as a nation of the smartest chimps on earth – we’ve been solving the world’s software problems for over 2 decades now. It’s time we build products. And that’s what we are doing. And these speakers now want to come here every year because its helping them.

Watch this space as I share a video about MR asking Ram Shriram a few questions – one of which is a very interesting angle on why bandwidth is a problem solver.

2. “They (Indian s/w products) are looking inwards to solve the problem. India’s HUGE as a market”

– American born and based speaker.

The Indian SMB industry is upwards of $40Bn worth. But adoption is where the challenges are. If I get your payroll problem solved for INR 1.00 per employee per day – would you still worry about hooking yourself up to this system? At its least – you’ll give my system a shot won’t you?

The cost arbitrage that existed earlier through the service model is now visible through the product model. Companies are not just building the problem solution pairs. But they are creating disruption and then asking for very little money in exchange for it.

And they can do it cause they’re based in India. It costs virtually nothing to setup and build a product from India. Selling it globally may seem lucrative – but not everyone intends to go global immediately. Don’t need to.


3. “Failing is no longer a social taboo” – everyone.

As a social fabric – we Indians have had this problem for a long time. The class topper is celebrated. She gets the biggest chocolate – both in school and at home. The second in class gets a smaller chocolate.

The one who was failing in Math all along but passed this year without any cheating – is considered a failure.

Not anymore. Finding your own battles and winning them is more important than winning battles others have set for you.

Its the pursuit to excellence that’s taken precedence now. Companies and founders are realizing their shortcomings. And are working to address them quickly. And that signifies a major shift in thinking.

Accepting the possibility of failure makes it easier to accept risk. And risk precedes rewards. So as the Indian smartie moves away from the cushy air conditioned cabins to the street side hustle – the ecosystem around him will prevent him from being ridiculed for his failures.

Every little success is being celebrated here.

4. “Indian products still don’t understand their TG perfectly” – Entrepreneur with thorough experience with software products in the valley.

This one is a serious flaw. Not understanding the target group (TG) is a recipe for disaster. And of all the entrepreneurs I met – finding the TG was in many ways the biggest challenge.

This is because what works and what doesn’t needs a qualitative feedback. This means you tell someone what you think they’re doing wrong. And then superimpose that opinion with what can be done right. Perspective is what the NPC community now offers through the Open source model.

See this video to wrap your head around this ‘open-source’ model. Sharad’s articulate mind encapsulates the theory. If you were at NPC – you would have seen it in action. You’re reading this on ProductNation ! 🙂

5. “Stop wasting time on the Blogosphere” – Ex Facebook, ex AOL, investor who speaks harsh truths.

Though in many ways this is important – it also signifies the importance of content and content marketing. I missed cornering Naren Gupta on why he feels marketing talent is low in India and how we can improve it. But to cut a long story short – the noise on the blogosphere is preventing the Indian product owner from creating, marketing, measuring the effectiveness of content and marketing. Independently and as a whole.

Investors, angels, and startups all seem to agree that products with initial traction need to increase the effectiveness of content and its marketing. Reading techcrunch is great to sound smart – but its got no relevance to the Indian ecosystem and how technology products can be built and grown here.

Conferences like the Nasscom Product Conclave are by design meant to share and exchange ideas. It takes a little time for a new comer to get acquainted. But my first time experience volunteering with this community taught me so much. The software product ecosystem is brimming with energy and confidence.

Yes on many fronts we Indians are at rock bottom. But from here,  the only place you can go is up.

If you’re on the boat – grab an oar and start paddling. We gotta take this ship to the other side. Wish you all a very happy good-wins-over-evil festival of lights – Diwali.

Tourism and technology. And Marketing.

Dubai. Singapore. London Olympics. The Olympics.

They’re all large parties.

Dubai (8th most visited in the world) knows this – markets itself well, over 7 Million people come there every year, 450 Hotels spring up, they need software to automate, a company like Knowcross benefits. (they sell to Hospitality)

Marketing brings footfalls.

Singapore (5th most visited in the world) knows this – markets itself well, over 11 Million people come there every year, over 900 hostels, each needs to manage its room iterniary, a company like Kayako can tweak its tool to make a killing.  A web based inventory manager with social plugins.

Marketing discovers opportunities.

London Olympics 2012 – the queen knows this – hires James bond to provide masala. 8.8 Million tickets were sold and now everyone wants an App for everything. A company like Trellisys should benefit.

Marketing generates money. 

Why would you not invest in Marketing? What does Sales bring?