By Josh Gold
So you want to stand out, aye?
When most people think about making a capital-v Video for their organization, they probably picture some sort of industry standard, a film in a neutral style that tells people who you are and what you do. These films are everywhere, from websites to social media to live presentations or meetings. After all, every organization needs to tell people what it’s all about.
While it may not be unique to create this kind of film, that doesn’t mean that your particular film can’t be unique. We promise, it’s entirely possible to produce something distinctive without losing out on benefits such as informativeness and versatility.
Your message is one–of–a–kind – make sure viewers can tell
Introducing yourself to the world is about more than listing your services or even your various successes, no matter how impressive they are.
You may be rightfully proud of your accomplishments, but do your viewers have the context or knowledge to understand why they’re valuable? Do they have the emotional investment to be moved by them?
Go for quality over quantity. Superficial descriptions of all your best features will do nothing but overwhelm viewers. If you make too many claims, none of them will stand out – from each other, or from similar claims made by similar organizations.
We’ve seen too many gap year programs, for example, advertise their great staff, student body, food, and trips – and it’s all true, but what’s the advantage of saying so if everyone else is, too?
You AREN’T all alike. There are things that separate you on a deeper level, at the roots of who you are. So what really defines you? Have you ever put it into words?
As an institution, you have character. You have motivations, incentives, priorities, and a particular vision. Why not give the viewer a chance to really get to know you?
Ultimately, this is the key to memorability – having a well-defined identity, purpose, or brand. The challenge is to articulate this for yourself so that you can convey it to others.
Tell the most specific story you can
After you identify your individual character, continue to move beyond stereotypes.
You don’t have to default to the conventional images and sound bites that you’ve seen and heard a hundred times before. If you’re an educational institution, you aren’t tied to classroom shots; if you’re a medical facility, there’s no rule about showing hospital beds. There are so many places you can take this. Don’t be limited by what’s been done before. (See how little we featured the campus in this recruitment video for a yeshiva program in Israel.)
If you need some direction, ask yourself what your audience is really interested in – and give it to them. Are you appealing to donors, who want to know that you will use their contributions well? Are you reaching out to those in need, who may not be aware that their problem has a solution? The narrative of your video should be different for each one.
Give your story depth and texture. Enrich it with details. Zoom in on one person’s point of view or one problem you solved. With small, vivid particulars, you put the big picture into a more easily digestible – and more affecting – form.
When you know what you want to communicate, your creativity becomes a tool to accomplish this goal. You can explore all different styles, techniques and concepts based on whether they are an effective vessel for your message. Your originality won’t just stand out; it will amplify your ideas, too.
If you’re planning a video, take a step back.
- Do you know what defines your organization?
- Will your film express this unique identity?
- Will it stand out in terms of story or visuals?
Josh Gold, owner of Serio Films, has spent the past eight years working with nonprofits to grow their brands through video-based marketing. Josh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.