Business12th May 2018

The evolution of an animation company

When I realised I had a viable business idea, I had this big vision for DoodleDirect, my animation venture.

Running a business in animation was something I sort of fell into – through a series of events I found myself learning a very simple animation software and up came the opportunity to make a few animated videos for a couple of small businesses started by friends. After doing what they considered to be a great job (I’m sure they were just being nice), I ended up with lots of lovely referrals. This meant I needed people to help me keep up, which resulted in me hiring actual animators who knew what they were doing from a technical perspective – people who’d studied the craft of animation for many years…unlike me, who (as with EVERYTHING I do in life) was self-taught and probably “testing my hypotheses” (aka: winging it).

Once I had my small team assembled I decided we were going to make cool and funny and cute and emotive content…like a kind of Pixar for businesses, only on a slightly reduced budget (read: EXTREMELY reduced budget).

Thing is, the market for this kind of content wasn’t quite what I’d hoped. I quickly realised that animation for business communication was much more about substance over style – visually it needs to work well, but more importantly it needs to be effective in communicating key messages for our clients. They want animated video that compels their audience to take action – they’re much less concerned with our rigging techniques.

Interestingly, this is all working out quite well as I do consider myself a “communicator” first and foremost (ask my friends, family and team and they’ll probably say “yeah, once she gets going she never shuts up”), and although I’ve been involved in creative industries under various guises for almost 20 years and most people might view me as a creative, truth is I’ve never been the most talented person in the creative room. What I do seem to be quite good at is:

a) Recognising talent in others and bringing talented people together to help them create something special
b) Conveying information to an audience and helping them to do stuff with that information, whether I am wearing my consultancy hat, my public speaking hat, my private coaching hat, my big sister hat…

So, with my skill set it seems right that my business should evolve to become something more aligned with who I am…the connector and the communicator.

What does this mean?

Well, from a DoodleDirect standpoint this means we’re no longer just an animation production company…we’re an all new and improved communications consultancy, with animated content being a primary medium of conveying information because I still think it’s the most powerful way a business can communicate.

In terms of the focus of our consultancy, I am particularly drawn to working with big business leaders to help them to re-connect with their workforce using animated content (amongst other things). I recognise that huge staff turnover and rocketing recruitment costs are struggles large organisations face, and by investing in a creative internal strategy, big businesses can tackle this head on – keeping employees engaged and empowered… but most importantly, happy. And I like happy people, so that’s the direction we’re heading in.

So, it’s Auf Wiedersehen “Pixar vision” and Hello, Hola and Bonjour to a “creative corporate communications consultancy vision” (yes, it’s a mouthful, it’s is still a work in progress). I am wholeheartedly looking forward to guiding my business in a new direction, one that completely fits who I am whilst helping other businesses to do better by their employees. Is it the business I started? Absolutely not, and because of this, it gets more exciting by the day.

Now, what’re we taking away from all of this?

Evolution is necessary for survival. Darwin figured that out and he’s a clever fella. This means that the business you start today is highly unlikely to be the business you have in 3 years, and that is okay.

Start the business. It’s easy to get caught up in the planning and development – just figure out what you’re selling and who you’re selling to, then get out there and sell it. If you can shift one unit you can sell a hundred and adapt as you go. If you can’t sell one of what you’re offering then think about selling something else, either way, it’s an evolution.

The only things that should stay consistent are your core principles (or values) – these exist to guide you to whatever your definition of success is and shouldn’t ever need to be altered. Everything else in your business needs to be open to change.

Because change means growth. And growth propels us to greatness. Let’s all be great. **cue butterflies and rainbows and candy floss and shooting stars**

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