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Using Video Matters | How to Change Old Ways of Thinking in Your Organization

Changing old ways of thinking about videos and conservation storytelling

Using Video Matters | How to Change Old Ways of Thinking in Your Organization

Let’s get to the obvious point right away: In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the power of video in conservation cannot be overlooked.

But you already know this.

This blog post isn’t about you. This blog post is about them: The people in your conservation organizations who cling to outdated ways of thinking that dismiss the value of video. Despite the overwhelming evidence of its effectiveness and growing importance today, some people still believe that written communication is sufficient, or that the cost and effort involved in producing environmental videos outweigh their benefits. These traditional mindsets can hinder progress and limit the potential for growth and innovation.

Changing old ways in organizationsVideo has become an invaluable tool for nature-focused organizations to connect, engage, and convey conservation messages effectively:

  • Storytelling adds ‘reaction-based’ emotion to your fundraising campaigns or major funding initiatives. The old ways of simply shouting Donate Today! often fail.
  • Video takes your audiences (ie. prospective donors and supporters) virtually into the field to see and learn about your research and why it matters.
  • Video even helps position your organization as a desirable destination for volunteers and/or people seeking jobs in conservation. Before they commit, they can ‘see’ what you’re all about and whether that aligns with their goals. Video helps them decide to take that next step.

This blog post is about helping you navigate the challenges of dealing with outdated ways interferring with adapting to integrating video into your environmental organization’s marketing toolkit.

Recognizing common misconceptions about video effectiveness

One of the main barriers to embracing video in organizations is the misconception that it is purely for entertainment purposes and lacks substance. Sorry, we’re not talking cat videos here. Some hold fast to the belief that video is time-consuming and costly to produce, that it lacks personal connection compared to face-to-face interactions, or that it is not an effective tool for learning and development. This belies the fact that video can deliver complex information in a more digestible and engaging manner, increasing information retention and understanding.

Humans are hardwired to react and remember what they see visually. Heck, even people clinging to outdated ways know this, although they may not correlate it to today. Ask these people: Does he/she remember watching an incredible nature documentary? Or that time they saw a species at risk with their own eyes? Both are examples of the power of visuals that excite us! And when people see either of these examples, they tell other people!

Exploring resistance and skepticism towards video adoption

Resistance and skepticism towards video adoption can stem from concerns about technical difficulties, lack of control over the message, or fear of change. However, it’s important to recognize that these objections can be overcome with the right strategies and support, leading to improved communication and collaboration within the organization. And the process of filming and producing a video should help these people change their lens so to speak. It’s not about them. It’s about the target audience.

Overcoming resistance to change: Strategies for introducing video effectively

To overcome resistance to video adoption, it is important to educate stakeholders about the benefits and possibilities that videos offer. Showcasing success stories and sharing data on engagement and retention rates can help dispel doubts and demonstrate the potential return on investment. Look at other conservation organizations to see how they are introducing video to their marketing, and most importantly, succeeding. Interestingly, we’re seeing a big divide today: Innovative conservation organization are leapfrogging over and ahead of conservation organizations who are still plodding along using outdated ways, or worse, no ways. Fact: Video is one of the main ways they’re doing it. Innovative organizations are attracting eyeballs like never before. And that is helping them increase donations, secure funding, attract volunteers, employees, and show the ‘why’ behind what they do in ways that audiences can understand. Plain and simple, video helps audiences ‘feel’ something. And when we ‘feel’ something we’re more likely to do an action.

Addressing concerns and fears head-on is crucial for fostering a culture of openness and collaboration. Providing training and technical support, addressing privacy and security concerns, and offering clear guidelines for video usage can help alleviate anxieties and encourage wider acceptance.

When introducing video to an organization, build a persuasive business case. Highlight the cost savings, increased productivity, and enhanced communication that video can bring. Present a well-researched plan that demonstrates the potential impact and aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives.

My final thoughts . . .

Look, I get it: Changing the culture of an organization can take time. It can be especially hard when old beliefs are deeply embedded. There will probably be clashes between you and them. But video is so crucial today that the longer you avoid it the worse off your organization will be. I’m sure everyone can agree on one thing: They want your organization’s future to be sustainable too. If they avoid changing, your organization will be at risk. Maybe not immediately. But it will be. Demographics are not on your side when it comes to effectively communicating what you do and getting more people to gravitate to you and your causes.

Millennials watch documentaries more than any other age group and many are inspired to change their lives after viewing them, according to the results of a 2019 survey.

Conducted by the documentary streaming service MagellanTV, the survey shows that more than half of millennials — ages 25 to 34 — who watch documentaries were inspired to change their lives and support causes in some way.

In addition, 34% of millennials say watching documentaries is better for their mental and emotional health than news, reality television, or fictional dramas. This latter claim is supported by a recent study conducted by the University of California Berkeley that found nature documentaries reduce stress and improve mental health.

Yep. You read that right. Nature documentaries.

Start telling your conservation stories using the power of visual storytelling. The forests, streams, birds, trees, plants and wildlife that your organization cares about will thank you.

Gregg McLachlan
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