These Commercials Dashed My Dreams, But They Might Help You

photo of woman lying in hospital bed

I go where I feel seen.

If an organization completely misrepresents my story or that of my friends, I’ll take my business elsewhere.

When I was a kid, I saw all sorts of commercials on TV that did reflect my experiences — a person with a disability in the hospital — but the outcome of the video missed the mark. In these commercials, primarily from hospitals, people who looked like me were never happy. We were always shown extremely sad with sad music in the background.

Plus, the kids in the hospitals were never shown living awesome lives, like in the NBA.

So these commercials sent me the other way. I knew I didn’t want to be a part of these organizations, because it didn’t seem like they understood who I was or who I wanted to be. 🤦

Then I saw marketing materials from the University of Illinois, and they had me hooked from the get-go. Illinois’ stories showed individuals with disabilities playing basketball 🏀, racing in wheelchairs 👨‍🦽, and doing great things. That definitely reflected my personal goals, and, thus, I attended Illinois. 😊

When you can speak to your audience’s dreams, goals and desires, they will feel hooked. They will see themselves thriving as a result of your organization, and that is the beginning of a strong, lasting bond.

In order to create this bond, here’s a list of things to include in your videos:

  • Compelling Narrative: Tell a story that resonates with your audience. It could be a customer success story, the journey of your brand or something that shows your organization’s impact on the world.
  • Emotionally Engaging: Appeal to emotions to create a connection. Whether it’s humor, inspiration or empathy, an emotional connection can make your video more memorable. Too many videos these days are boring, and they will likely be forgotten immediately.
  • High-Quality Production: Invest in good production values, including clear visuals, crisp audio and professional editing. A polished video makes your organization look good! 💯
  • Creative Visuals: That being said, be sure to get footage of things that reflect the story you’re trying to tell. If you’re telling a story about your impact on the world, show people actually benefitting from your offerings. It will make a big difference for your video.
  • Simplicity: Keep your message clear and simple. Don’t try to show and talk about everything in your video. This, I think, is a hard part for many organizations. Everything matters, and they can’t decide what to leave out. If everything is THAT important, make a video on each talking point. It’s easier to digest and follow. 😊
  • Call to Action (CTA): Clearly communicate what action you want viewers to take after watching the video. Whether it’s visiting a website, making a purchase, or subscribing, make it explicit.
  • Know Your Audience: Just to reiterate here, tell stories that show that you understand and care about your audience. So aim to touch on struggles that they might have had, and empathize with those struggles. Then, talk about how you ARE the solution.
  • Timeliness: Create content that is relevant to current trends, events or issues. Timely content can increase engagement. Maybe that’s an event you have coming up, and maybe you’re trying to play off Taylor Swift a bit. You’ll get extra attention, and catch the drift of other topics on social media.
  • Authentic Representation: Be authentic and genuine. Audiences appreciate authenticity, and it can help build trust in your brand. 🙏
  • User-Generated Content: If applicable, include content created by your customers. User-generated content adds authenticity and relatability. We are in the midst of a large campaign on employment of persons with disabilities, and it will include tons of user-generated content. It’s easier to collect, and it takes the viewers to where the person on camera is.
  • Platform-Specific Optimization: Tailor your video for the platform where it will be shared. Consider the length, format and style that works best for the platform (e.g., Instagram, YouTube, TikTok).
  • Appropriate Soundtrack: Choose music that complements the mood and message of your video. Well-selected music can enhance the overall viewing experience. Upbeat music reflects a message of a similar tone. Sad, slow music — like what you would hear in the sad dog commercials — reflects a sad story. 🐶 Choose music that matches the feel of the story.
  • Analytics: Watch how many views your video gets, and the types of engagement it sees (likes, dislikes, shares). If the numbers are high, then you’ve got a winner! 💯 That’s a sign your audience loves the video, and that you need to create more videos like that. If the video doesn’t do too well, try changing the headline and relevant text. Don’t be quick to give up on your video. Change up different things first.

Would you like to make your next video project easier? Hop on my calendar, and we’ll get you taken care of.

By the way, here’s a picture of me with one of the athlete friends I made at Illinois. Chelsea McClammer, pictured in the middle, is awesome, and a wheelchair racer!

Published by Ryan Wilson

CEO of Team Trust

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