Back to all

The Marketer’s 4 Rules to Explaining What Your Company Does

“What does your company do?”

This seemingly simple question can get us talking for hours —  we’re proud of what our companies do so, naturally, we want to talk about everything. When it comes to marketing — and explainer videos in particular — however, you don’t have hours. In fact, you don’t even have minutes. You have seconds.

Remember that human attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Thanks to the Internet, we have access to more information than we can humanly process. The quicker that you can explain what you do, the stronger the impact you’ll make.

Distilling your brand positioning, vision, value proposition, and core features into 90-seconds or less may seem like an impossible feat. But it’s not. It’s actually kind of fun — and will simplify your entire product-to-market fit.

Here are four rules to guide you through the process of explaining your company:

Rule 1: Stop Thinking About Yourself

This rule may seem counterintuitive. As a marketer, your job is to promote your product. How can you talk about your company without thinking about yourself?

It’s this step, however, that makes the difference between a cruddy marketing pitch and an awesome one. Here’s why:

The less you think about yourself, the more empowered you’ll be to get inside your customers’ minds  — instantly. As humans, we’re driven by empathetic connections to one another. If we can understand our customers’ pain points, we can connect to them in a direct, high-impact, and consultative way.

Instead of skeptically thinking, “what’s in it for me?,” your customers will realize — “wow, this company really gets me.”

The following explainer video for UrbanSitter, a website that connects busy parents with trusted child care professionals, illustrates this concept beautifully. Within the first few seconds, the video explores a common pain point that almost every parent faces – the need to find reliable babysitters or nannies in a pinch.

This empathetic tone — established at the very beginning of the video is a recurring theme throughout the clip. Very quickly, the video transitions from ‘pain point’ to ‘trusted solution.’

Rule 2: Build a Narrative

Product to market fit is more than just a business concept or process. It’s a story — just think about it. There’s a reason why your company exists — to fulfill a particular need. There’s a certain way that you’ve built your business — you chose certain product offerings and services over others.

Every company has a compelling narrative to tell, and these qualitative details appeal to our natural human curiosity to understand ‘why,’ ‘what,’ and ‘how.’ If you’re facing the seemingly impossible task of explaining what your company does, take a step back. Instead of rattling off details, try to captivate your audience with an engaging, human-narrative.

For inspiration, check out this explainer video for Netflix. It starts with an all-too-common story of a school teacher who hates junk mail and endless channel surfing. The narrative quickly transitions to the story about Netflix’s new user experience that empowers audiences to enjoy entertainment in a new way. The video, at face value, seems like a story about Netflix. In actuality, however, it’s a story about Netflix’s customer. That’s what makes it engaging.

If you’re wondering where to get started, take a look at the following ‘self-interview’ questions:

  1. What inspired you to start your business? What was the need in the market?
  2. Who are your customers?
  3. What is the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned in your journey?
  4. What changes in direction did your business navigate? Why?
  5. What was the end result? How do customers benefit from doing business with you?

Once you’ve answered these questions, re-organize the list — explain the benefits and results first and then explain your journey. After going through this process, you’ll be well-positioned to create your company video roadmap.

Rule 3: Keep It Simple

Without a doubt, your company brings significant value to the market — your customers probably love your complex CRM software, niche technical expertise, or ability to build HR infrastructure.

These topics get complex fast.

When telling your company’s story, it’s important to focus on the basics. Start with the rule of three: articulate no more than three products or services that you offer. Even better? Pick one.

For inspiration, check out this explainer video from ITG, a company that gives institutional traders a competitive edge. Terms like ‘high frequency trading’ and ‘algorithmic trading’ can easily send audiences into spiraling, perpetual confusion.

But ITG manages to keep their video simple by focusing on a very specific problem and carefully planned solution —  a narrative that is closely aligned with its niche audience. The video, as a result, is jargon free and relatively straightforward to process and digest.

The more you understand your website visitor’s needs — as well as how they found out about your company — the more empowered you’ll be to keep your message focused and on-target.

Rule 4. Validate Your Assumption

Testing is a core part of marketing — the only way to know if your storytelling is working is to learn how customers are responding. In step 1, you took the time to learn about your customers’ needs. In this final step, you’ll close the loop by assessing whether your customers responded. Techniques include A/B testing and qualitative research — you essentially want to answer how well your video is performing and why.

For inspiration, check out the following case study from CrazyEgg. Their leadership team took the time to quantify the impacts of a recently produced explainer video.

CrazyEgg’s finding? An explainer video yielded $21,000 in new monthly revenue — a 64% increase in conversion rates. You can read more about the testing methodologiesthat CrazyEgg used here.

Final Thoughts

Focus yields impact. The less information you cram into your limited ‘talking time,’ the more of an impact you’ll be able to drive with each word. Conversational ‘white space’ gives your audience the freedom to process what you’re saying, reflect, and think.

Know your audience, build a narrative, and keep the information simple. It’s that easy. These straightforward rules will help you create an instant, high-impact connection.

Additional Resources

Written by Ritika Puri
Ritika Puri is a perpetual researcher and relentless optimist.