What is video advocacy?
Video Advocacy is about using video as a medium and strategic tool to engage people to create change. We’re talking about EU advocacy, where the main objective is to influence decisions within the EU institutions. Video is not only an affordable way to persuade or influence an audience, but it is also a successful and engaging tool in the European decision making process. A number of high-performing companies, associations, federations and public affairs consultancies representing their clients’ interests, have found their way to the play button to lead effective advocacy campaigns. Even the EU institutions use this means of communication to advocate the merits of their work to the outside world.
Video advocacy translates a niche and/or complex issue into an easily digestible format for an audience whose attention is hard to grab and even harder to maintain. Importantly, a video can transpose more information faster than any other means of communication. If done well, it can also make its viewers more susceptible to its messaging than a position paper, a static infographic, data visualization or a classic PowerPoint presentation. Thanks to its inherent versatility a video can be made in such a manner that it grabs the ‘emotional’ attention of the audience. In other words, a video is more effective in prompting an action/reaction from a target audience.
Why is video advocacy so important in EU decision making?
Video advocacy has already proven its worth. All and more public affairs consultancies have been using video to service their client’s advocacy needs in order to bring about tangible results. Here are our 5 reasons why video advocacy is becoming increasingly important in EU Public Affairs.
1. Raise awareness amongst stakeholders and policy makers
Video advocacy provides one with the capacity to raise awareness amongst key stakeholders and policy makers. The speed through which information can be relayed through a short video is equal to no other form of communication. Within a short amount of time the audience can ascertain the importance of ones’ messages (as long as the video is done well). Policy makers, no matter the institution they work at, have one thing in common; lack of time. The faster and clearer the messaging is transposed the more chance one has for a policy maker to view his messaging in its entirety and become susceptible to it (rather than skim through a position paper or infographic).
2. Better engagement with policy makers
Chances of securing engagement with policy makers and key stakeholders following the dissemination of a video, are increased; both offline and online. Policy makers will more easily interact on certain topics or issues when brought to them in a visually attractive way. We have observed in some instances policy makers:
- Accepting meetings with a stakeholder offline once they saw their video online
- Reacting directly to the video posted on social media platforms
- Expressing a better understanding of the clients issue during meetings
3. Tell a compelling story
A compelling story helps in grabbing the audience’s attention and compels them into action. The one common denominator that underpins successful advocacy videos, no matter the target audience and format, is that they all tell a ‘story’. Integrating the ingredients of storytelling within a video is paramount in grabbing the ‘emotional’ attention of one’s target audience. This holds true even more so for advocacy videos. This is something a position paper or infographic will struggle to achieve.
The problem that ineffective advocacy videos have is that they all try to ‘scream’ their message to the audience. No matter how many bells and whistles you put in a video, and no matter how targeted your delivery method is, in the end when the audience views the video they should have a reason to sympathize or relate to the messaging. If the story is missing, your video has lost its plot and along with it its audience.
4. Time-efficient advocacy
Hours upon hours are spent trying to earn the attention and sympathy of policy makers and key stakeholders through traditional means of advocacy. Video however is inherently better suited in grabbing attention and sympathy. A well-done video has the potential of saving advocates considerable time and effort. This is not to say that it replaces the need of traditional forms of advocacy. Rather it serves as a complimentary tool, which represents an evolution of prior forms of communication.
It’s worth noting that by using video, the time invested during meetings with policy makers explaining a client’s issue is cut down drastically. Freeing up valuable facetime for substantive talks. Using video, is also a time-efficient means through which one can spread their messaging to a large audience simultaneously.
5. Policy makers are digital omnivores
Arguably policy makers have become amongst to most enthusiastic of early adopters of digital means of communication i.e. social media platforms. Their adoption of digital communication channels and digital tools over the past decade has provided them with an unfiltered means through which they can advocate for support and legitimize their policies. The more invested they become on such platforms, the more attention they will place on them. In turn, if one wants to grab their attention they have to be present on the same digital communication channels and use the same digital tools.
We have already established that video is the most impactful digital communication tool. Tie this with the fact that video’s prevalence on social media platforms is growing exponentially (Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for EMEA, has predicted that within the next five year Facebook will probably be “all video”), it’s only reasonable to conclude that video will become an indispensable advocacy tool.