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.