July 2012

At AHA, we understand the value of using video in communication initiatives. Some of the work we do in brand journalism has video segments as the central communication tool.

One of the challenges that we face is finding the balance between what the client wants to say and what the viewer really wants to see. And sometimes that is harder to do than it should be.

We have had some passionate discussions with clients about the content and length of their videos over this. (For the record, I believe strongly in passionate discussion – even disagreement. As long as it is respectful and focuses on the topic and not on the people, a discussion where not everyone agrees can be of huge value. Done well, it can create an exceptional end product or result.) It can be hard to get someone to move away from what they want to tell and focus on the other side – what people want to hear, how they want to hear it and when they want to hear it.

In working with clients, one of our responsibilities is to provide a strategic perspective. To me, this means that I must represent the perspective of the community, the audience and/or the stakeholder group during the planning, creative and implementation stages of the process.

During planning sessions, I often ask (respectfully, of course): “Why does that matter to this audience? Who will care about that point? Does that need to be included? Does that need to be said in that way?”

For the most part, at AHA we’re not big fans of overly produced, corporate style videos. It always depends on the client’s objectives, of course, but in all of the research we have done, for all of the videos we have made (as AHA and in our prior lives before we found the happiness of AHA), time and time again it comes back to creating compelling content that the target market relates to. That doesn’t mean you don’t need good production value; it does mean that you need to understand how to tell a story that is relevant to the person you are telling it to.

Too often, video becomes overwhelmed with corporate speak, too many messages and even becomes embroiled in the politics of an organization. (If VP Smith is in the video, we have to include VP Jones. If we film at the East Office, we have to also film at the West Office. And the list goes on.) This dilutes the value of the video and moves you away from the objective – to create relevant, compelling content that connects you to the viewer.


When you are producing video for your organization, it’s crucial to take the focus off what you want to say and focus on what your community wants to hear from you.

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We are happily busy here at AHA. Busy enough that it keeps us all out of trouble, but not so busy that we aren’t able to get it all done. It’s a nice blend. Personally, I have had a busy few weeks and haven’t had time to get ahead in my AHA blog posts or AHA Fast Take Fridays. I have several things to write about, but haven’t found the time yet to put my mind to it.

This morning, I took an early ferry into Vancouver (which is what I usually do), I grabbed a coffee and sat down to write this blog post and realized A) I have a few good blog posts and articles to talk about and I want to share them all, and B) it’s a beautiful morning and I am sitting here, overlooking False Creek with a lovely dark coffee in my hand. No offense, but the call of a half an hour enjoying the view, the weather and this coffee is pretty appealing.

However, I do want to share some interesting pieces with you that are worth a read.

Ditch these 5 business writing mistakes (This is an informative post!)

Why a high Google rank is becoming ‘worthless’

How social media transformed a Canadian city

I hope you find them interesting and of value. I am off to enjoy a coffee break in my beautiful city.

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One of the highlights of my day is the half hour I have in the early morning – before the phones start ringing and emails come in – to read some of my favourite blogs. At the top of that list is Peter Shankman’s blog. Peter is an interesting guy. He is exceptionally smart (and I’m talking real life smart, not just “here’s the theory” smart), he is witty, down-to-earth and speaks his mind (and he’s usually right). Even when you might not agree with him – he makes you think. He “gets it” – social media, communication, marketing, networking – and he is an excellent presenter. I had the opportunity to hear him speak at the Ragan Social Media for Communicators Conference a few years ago and he was the highlight of the conference.

Peter has a pretty high profile in the world of social media and communication. He takes risks, he puts himself out there and he has accomplished a great deal because of that (blended with the fact that he really knows his stuff). Fearless and strategic – it’s a kick-ass combination. Oh yeah, and he sky dives – a lot. Which just makes him that much more interesting as far as I am concerned.

It’s been a busy few days at AHA, and I haven’t had a chance to read my favourite blogs. I took a few minutes this morning and the first one I went to was Peter’s. As I was reading it, I realized that I should recommend him to the people who read our AHA blog. I need to share this online treasure of information.

I know many of you already follow Peter, but if you don’t you should. He is a wealth of knowledge and has an excellent – if sometimes snarky – attitude (which is really charming as long as, I imagine, it isn’t aimed at you). He is authentic, he shares a lot of relevant information, and has a perspective that is of huge value in this confusing world of marketing and communication that we work in. He is out there taking on the world, living on his own terms and is very successful at it.

If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, take it. Follow him on Twitter and read his blog!

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