In today’s always-online environment, using video to spread the word is a smart choice. You’d be challenged to find a more effective, wide-reaching way to elevate the bold ideas that makes your nonprofit unique.
But whether you’re hosting video on your website or embedding clips on other digital channels (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.) it’s essential that each piece you produce reinforces your brand. Brand strategy needs to drive all of your decisions, and this holds especially true when it comes to video.
At Mission Minded, the award-wining video work we produce is always built on brand. And we adhere to a few simple rules that help keep the awards coming and our clients thrilled.
If you keep these same three considerations in mind when you tackle video production, you should be ready for the red carpet.
1. Let Brand Be the Boss
With a clearly articulated strategy, we devote ourselves to creating a video that looks, sounds, and feels on-brand. That takes discipline. Ensuring that you’re following the dictates of your brand — instead of chasing a more tactical goal, such as attracting donors — isn’t always easy.
The trick is to remember that over the long run, letting your brand be boss is the most effective way to achieve your tactical and strategic goals.
We recommend aiming for a video so definitively on-brand that even if your organization’s name or logo isn’t plastered all over it, viewers will intuitively associate the piece with your nonprofit, foundation or independent school.
How does this work? Take a look at some of Target’s advertisements for a great example. Their commercials are recognizable because they hew to the dictates of brand — in how they sound, look, and feel — just as in-store experience does. American Red Cross also excels at producing on-brand videos. Their materials consistently reinforce the big idea that help is there when disasters strike, and that donors make that possible.
2. Budget to Match Your Message
Today, anyone with a phone can make a video — but is a quick assembly of candid clips the right way to go?
Maybe, or maybe not! It all depends on (no surprise) your brand strategy. And your brand strategy should be built around your mission and the people who make up your target audiences.
So, if you’re a small, scrappy organization working on grassroots issues, releasing a professionally polished, expensive-looking video could alienate your audiences. For many other nonprofits and independent schools, the opposite holds true. You’d want to present an image that matches your reputation for responsibility.
Doing this will draw the supporters you seek, but it probably means investing in professional help. Anyone can make a video, but that doesn’t mean everyone should. Remember when desktop publishing first allowed anyone with a computer to play at being a graphic designer? The lessons we learned in those days still hold true. (#clipart #RestInPeace)
With an experienced producer, talented director, skilled crew, and professional equipment you’re vastly more likely to end up with the kind of punchy, powerful, and on-brand finished product you set out to create in the first place.
3. You Had One Job
“We’re making a video,” often opens up a wish list of requests:
“Can it mention this program?”
“Let’s interview our ED!”
“Why not shoot our year-end awards ceremony?”
All of those ideas — and more — may be good ones to include in a video, but they’re probably not good ideas to include in this video. That’s because effective nonprofit videos don’t try to do it all. They’re compact, they don’t deviate from strategy, and they focus on the job they were created to accomplish.
At Mission Minded, when we begin work on a video project, we start by summarizing our proposed approach in a creative brief. This brief orients the group around a set of common understandings and sets up guardrails to guide all the work that follows. A creative brief ensures everyone agrees what the video should be, how it will get the job done, and what it will and will not include.
It’s tempting to stuff everything into a video, especially when budget realities mean you can only create one. Don’t fall into this trap. The more focused your video, the greater the impact it will have.
When drafting a creative brief, you’ll want to identify:
Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one leadership coach.
See all posts by Jennie Winton