For Rebrands, Instruction, Humanity and Reaching New Audiences, Video Wins Out

In their 2022 Neal Awards Best Use of Video finalist—titled The Economic State of Black America: What Is and What Could Be—McKinsey & Company used one-minute, one- and two-person interviews to drive up the stakes of the report. It’s just one way that organizations are pumping up the volume of their articles, reports and mission.

Pauline, a real estate agent, talks eloquently about the lack of opportunity. Armond, a Los Angeles lawyer, speaks about the limited entrepreneurial paths. Alonso, an Atlanta store owner, said he had to give his people a place to go for healthy food. Ehren and Noella talk about creating pathways to generational wealth.

The videos personalize the data and numbers of the report. In Reuters Institute’s Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2022, they predicted that short-form video would make a comeback off the back of creator innovation in social networks. They were right.

“Expect publishers to adopt more of these techniques in 2022, along with the growth of streaming platforms such as Twitch, contributing to a new ‘pivot to video.’” In addition, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube were named as where publisher efforts would be most going socially this year—meaning more videos. Instagram topped out at a +54.

Here are other Neal and EXCEL award-winning video uses in the industry:

Inform about your mission. For its 2022 EXCEL Gold award-winning video for Single Entry (Promotion), the ALS Association’s Whatever It Takes uses just a minute to go through the many faces of the disease and talk about future hopes and access to treatment. “How do we turn ALS from a fatal disease into a livable one?…ALS takes everything from people and their families. So it’s going to take all we’ve got to stop it.” Added Washington Post head of editorial video Micah Gelman: “Most video consumption happens off platform, whether that’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and so it’s very much about reaching people who may not be familiar with the Post at the start but will come to sample other types of our journalism.”

Instruct your audience. “Join the AOPA Air Safety Institute as we follow the Bonanza’s likely encounter with high density altitude—an inherent hazard in high terrain significantly degrading aircraft performance. Deceptively upsloping terrain would leave no escape for the flatland pilots facing the canyon trapping them.” Thus begins their 12-minute EXCEL Gold award-winning video—titled Accident Case Study: Into Thin Air—in the category Single Entry Education. The video provides huge lessons for that audience—and what went wrong with this undertaking—telling a story that would have been hard for text to do. Members also get credit for watching the video, which “uses FAA ATC radio communication transcripts, NTSB documentation, and video animation to recreate accidents and share critical lessons, so we can recognize and avoid similar mistakes.”

Bolster a story or report. For his 2022 Neal Award winning story, Industry Dive’s Ben Fidler found a powerful video of his subject, Sek Kathiresan, winning the Curt Stern award—an honor given to pioneering human geneticists by the American Society of Human Genetics. In his acceptance speech, Kathiresan recalled the journey that took him from a small town in India to an awards stage in San Diego. While the story’s personal photos added context, the video added so much more.

Announce a rebrand. “You want a brand that reflects a diverse community and a more flexible, responsive and modern association. You wanted the AABB initials to remain iconic and essential to our identity, but with meaning. It is with great pride and excitement that we share with you our new name. The Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies.” Thus Debra BenAvram, CEO of AABB, reveals the new name of the American Association of Blood Banks in a 2022 EXCEL Gold Award-winning video for Single Entry (Membership). It’s a five-minute moving and emotional watch that could never have been conveyed with the same gravitas in an article. It begins and ends with a photo of the association’s first executive secretary, Marjorie Saunders.

Reach a younger audience. I wrote about Harvard Business Review’s Christine vs. Work in January, and I’m happy to see that she’s still going strong. She’s smart, has fun and says what others just think. Her latest video, titled What to Do If You’re Undervalued at Work, begins like this: “If you’re working at a job that you’re like, ‘I’m putting in all the work, but this is not putting it back into me,’ this episode is for you.” “When it came time to reimagine what video content would look like for Ascend, [HBR’s] brand for young professionals, we knew we’d have to make it real,” said Kelsey Alpaio, associate editor of HBR. “We knew we’d have to take a host-driven approach. And we knew we’d have to meet our audience where they are. On TikTok, yes, but also on YouTube, Instagram, and whatever comes next.”

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