An elevator pitch is a quick way to explain your business to a prospect. But it’s hard to craft and needs lots of refining and rehearsal.
With complex products and services, it’s even harder. And there’s a tendency to slip into technical speak that disengages or confuses the listener. Poorly explained messages result in failure to communicate your value proposition to customers.
Keeping It Simple
We faced this challenge with HydraSENS*, a novel device for the detection of early signs of gas hydrates. Our technology is a game-changer for gas producers. It enables them to better manage their gas hydrate risk and avoid being caught out by the unexpected. It’s based on clever chemistry. But, how can we capture the interest of technical and non-technical people?
We’ve got photos from the development lab and scientific write-ups. But it wasn’t enough. We wanted to show the device in a clear and compelling way, focusing on what it does rather than how it works. The answer was video animation.
A Great Introduction
To explain HydraSENS, we needed to find someone to work with — someone who could tell a good story and create an interesting animation. They’d need experience of our industry and be able to work to a tight timescale and budget.
We found Anja Peter through word of mouth. She’s a graphic designer, with experience in creating animations on technical subjects. She understood our challenge and asked great questions from the get-go. This helped us to progress from “Yikes, this is hard to explain!” to “Wow, an animation will explain it well!”
Start with the Hook
Using post-it notes, we downloaded our thoughts, ideas and challenges to Anja. We knew we had to address customers fear of hydrates and the consequences of a hydrate blockage. These include the impact of lost gas production, the high cost to remove hydrates, and the sheer dread of hydrates occurring. We identified three commonly held misconceptions:
- Hydrates can form in seconds
- There is no warning when they do
- Once formed, they’re hard to locate and remove
This gave us a platform to build on.
Create the Storyline
Having identified ‘the hook’, the fun began. We brainstormed with Anja around the misconceptions. We stuck ideas on a wall and saw them start to form the talking points for our storyline. This felt like a major step forward — ‘hard to explain’ was now explainable.
Chris, our CFO, wrote up a script for a voiceover. He’s the least technical of the team and so best able to simply explain things. Chika, VP Sales & Marketing, then recorded it in a rich, measured tone.
Hone the Storyboard
Anja sketched out a storyboard to bring our ideas to life. This gave us something tangible to review and edit. Her patience and resilience were invaluable. She let the conversation flow but steered us back to key messages. Also, she ensured that we made the big decisions about the animation at this stage to avoid costly revisions later on. With the draft agreed, Anja defined the style and colour scheme consistent with our brand. Then she did her thing – she created the animation graphics! In her words:
“I worked very closely with Blue Gentoo, keeping them up to date at every step and getting their agreement for the next stages. It was very easy to work with the team at Blue Gentoo as when we were all together they came to an agreement on changes quite quickly.”
Draft the Video Animation
Within a week, we had the first draft of the animation, built using Adobe After Effects.
It was amazing to see HydraSENS* come to life. We liked what we saw. We put it out to our flow assurance advisers – a tough audience – to get their feedback. This led to few minor changes, and then Anja created the final version.
HydraSENS was then ready to unveil on our website and in presentations for customers, partners and others. Free from jargon and obfuscation, it is ‘the complex, told simply,’ through the power of animation.
Reflect on the Messaging
Looking back, we thought our messaging was good before our foray into animation. But we now see how the process has transformed us. Our message is now clearer, simpler, and more memorable – and we see customers quickly seeing the difference that we can make to their business.
“Animating is the most time-consuming part of the process but for me, the most fun as well. I enjoyed the process and journey of animating HydraSENS with the brilliant team at Blue Gentoo. I appreciated their effort, time and enthusiasm – and their trust in the creative process.” — Anja Peter
*HydraSENS is a trademark of Hydrafact Ltd, our technology partner, who developed this device, exclusively licenced to and distribution by Blue Gentoo