The Emotional Response

by rpb1001 on flickr

GUEST POST by Antonio Peronace, Apollo Political, LLC

Recently someone posted the question on a list serve I’m on: “Are we putting too much emphasis on storytelling?” This was in regard to whether or not organizations and individuals, when trying to produce a content strategy, are caring too much about telling a story and is that really an effective way to produce information for an audience. In addition, they referenced the importance of getting an “emotional response” and asked whether creating a relationship with an audience is always possible or even necessary.

This was my response to the question:

You’re absolutely right in noting that there has been quite the bastardization of “storytelling” as of late. There are a lot of people who just want to slap that sticker on their portfolio and sell you on it. But, in pondering your question, you also hit upon the very heart of the matter when you consider the value of an “emotional response.”

That’s really the key. And whether you instinctively recognize it or not, by evoking an emotional response on a consistent basis with someone, that is, in fact, a relationship.

That relationship grows each time you challenge someone’s expectations, get them used to appreciating your content, and prime them to give your avatar/logo/profile a bit of a longer glance when it’s wedged among so many others in their feed/day/very-busy-schedule.

For me, when I approach “storytelling” as an action, I see it as the act of communicating the core of a message and connecting with someone on a basic, human level.
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Posted on by Antonio Peronace in Storytelling, Strategies to Create Impact

Different Approaches to Nonprofit Video

Over the past year, I have been slowly starting to categorize and collect examples of different kinds of nonprofit video as I find them on the web. Some I group by topic, others by approach. I have been doing this to study what is out there, what people are doing, and what generates impact.

I can tell you I consume quite a lot of video on a daily basis. And to my delight what I am finding are increasingly new approaches to creating a visual story that is meant to inform or affect change.

I think a myth persists that nonprofits need the standard fundraising video or the basic call to action video to be successful. But I would argue there are a variety of ways in which you can share your story.

So, below are nine quick examples of what I have found. They are creative, unique and sometimes cutting edge. I am hoping this can serve as inspiration when you conceive your next video story/strategy.

1. Filming public reactions

I love this approach because it feels so real and it is hard to deny what you are seeing. Basically some form of staged activism/action takes place and the response by the public is filmed. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes serious but always powerful.

Other examples: About Domestic Violence in South Africa: http://youtu.be/BW30WslahMc and about Tunisia elections: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxWvgASA_Q4&feature=player_embedded
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Posted on by Martha Dodge in Non-profit examples, Strategies to Create Impact, Video Production

Determining the Impact of Films and Videos

The theme at this year’s Media That Matters conference, held last month, focused on how to measure the impact of social change films. A discussion that is incredibly important and relevant as measurement helps inform whether what we are doing is actually working.

However, tracking the impact of films or videos isn’t black and white or easy. Is it even possible, what data is meaningful and what indicators prove impact has taken place?

Some artists might reject the idea of measurement entirely, citing a story cannot be reduced to statistics. And to some degree I agree.

But what speakers at the conference pushed me to think about was the need to be accountable and responsible about the change we are claiming we make. Otherwise we can say our videos create impact but maybe they really don’t.
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Posted on by Martha Dodge in Measurement, Strategies to Create Impact

Video Engagement: Retaining Your Audience

When I saw the 2010 Oscar winning documentary The Cove about dolphin slaughters in Japan, I literally jumped out of my seat, approached the director, (who happened to be at the screening), and asked, “How can I get involved, what do you need people to do?”

I was pointed to a website where I signed petitions and donated what I could. I followed the film’s progress as it was critically acclaimed around the world but I have to admit, as time went on, my involvement tapered off.

Once I took action, I felt satisfied I had done my part, and I sort-of moved on.

Distracted by other issues and newer films, it was easy to be seduced by all the other causes vying for my attention.

I share my experience, one that I think is very common, to raise questions.

(Photo courtesy of PBS Slavery by Another Name)

When we engage people around our films and videos, what percentage of that audience are we retaining as long lasting advocates? Are we doing enough to maintain their involvement and what can we be doing better?

I think these are really important questions, which were raised during my recent discussion with Felicia Pride of the Pride Collaborative.

(By the way the campaign to save dolphins is going strong! Check out their work and if you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it.)

Pride suggests re-conceptualizing the idea of engagement. Instead of seeing it as something you initially create to attract audiences, think about it in terms of something you build to sustain that audience.

“Engagement for me either means or requires relationship building,” says Pride.

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Posted on by Martha Dodge in Strategies to Create Impact

Making Local Leaders Part of Your Video Strategy

Many people assume that in order to create real social impact you need a viral video, the next KONY 2012, something that will be seen by millions of people.

But sometimes generating impact can be just as significant or even more effective on a targeted local level.

Just ask Peter Stonier, Senior Director of Visual Storytelling at Conservation International (CI).

Stonier, a graduate of USC film school, hails over 20 years of film and production experience at places like PBS, CNN International, BBC, Universal Pictures and creative agencies like R/GA, SapientNitro, and McCann Erickson.

“By engaging local leaders, we are creating conservation films that achieve actual results,” he says.

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Posted on by Martha Dodge in Non-profit examples, Strategies to Create Impact
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