I’ve made a lot of horrible videos in the past ten years. Admittedly some have been self inflicted, but most of them have been bought and paid for by individuals who willingly produced them. I want to personally apologize to the general public whose had to endure longwinded sales briefs, end of year reviews, and corporate pep talks. Mindless marketing babble delivered via robotic terminals has contributed to the demise of DVD players and inboxes for decades. We can do better.
Since the dawn of time stories have been the catalyst for changing hearts and minds. Metaphors and allegories have inspired students, enticed consumers, and ignited revolutions. These stories are what make us human. They are the only thing that supercedes our being, yet somewhere along the way we surrendered our hearts to formulaic slide decks and unimaginative memos. We have become artificial intelligence and we no longer know how to function outside of our code. Build the deck…cash the check.
The antidote is simple. Replace heartless videos with a PDF. Save your media budget for content that matters. Tell stories that inspire, provoke, and move people. Create short documentaries that celebrate excellence in your organization. Make commercials that break formula. Create animations that make complex ideas easy to understand. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. For everything else…just print your deck. People love decks.
Whenever the brave storytellers walk off the cliff of comfort, the world delights. Burberry made a fake movie trailer to showcase its fashion line and now people are demanding a real movie. Delta got silly with their pre-flight safety checks and now people actually listen. Geico spoofed a pre-roll and people forgot about the video that followed. These examples are not unattainable. You have to think beyond easy and push for engaging. Video with heart takes guts.
Find the storytellers, the poets, and the prophets. Seek the path of most resistance when hearts, minds, and profits are at stake. Be the inciting incident when the voice of reason lulls us back to a slide-deck slumber. We exist in an age where screens are everywhere. Fill them with stories. Make your audience fall in love, take a stand, or validate their contribution. Sell your product and manage your organization, but never forget that on the other side of that play button is a person, and they demand better.