How to Create Videos that Promote Social or Environmental Causes

Online video consumption trends continue to amaze. According to a Google study, 6 out of 10 people affirm that they prefer to watch videos online than to watch television. Hubspot data shows that 78% of people watch online videos every week, and according to Insivia mobile video consumption increases by 100% every year.

Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch are today the primary source of entertainment, information, and formation for a broad segment of the global population, especially young people. With such a large and continuously growing reach, video becomes the perfect vehicle to drive social and environmental causes.

The Rainforest Alliance’s Follow the Frog campaign is an excellent example of using video to advance a cause.

How to Create Videos to Promote a Cause

The question then becomes: what makes this video special, and how can other organizations create videos that drive their cause?

Follow the Frog, in addition to its high production values ​​and excellent storytelling execution, has the 4Rs (Realize, Reflect, Render, Related), a framework for the construction of campaigns or communication pieces that anyone can implement.

Let us take a closer look at each element of the 4R framework and how it was applied in the Follow the Frog campaign.

Realize

The communication piece should offer the viewer information that they did not know. In other words, it made the audience aware of the social or environmental problem on which the organization works.

Application in the campaign: The first 40 seconds of the video are used for this phase, establishing a context with which any viewer can identify to a greater or lesser extent and offering relevant information on the problem of rainforest destruction.

Reflect

Once the problem is presented, the viewer should be invited to reflect on the problem, the importance of its being addressed, and the possible future positive and negative implications of different actions.

Application in the campaign: From 0:40 to 2:30, the video invites the viewer to reflect on the problem and the consequences of different actions that can be taken to solve it or make it worse.

Render

The spectator is invited to carry out a concrete and simple action that allows him to be part of the solution to the problem. Spectators have a very short attention span; for this reason, the action requested from the audience should be simple and should not require a great effort.

Application in the campaign: From 2:30 to 2:55, the video tells us what action must be taken to support and be part of the solution. As we see, the action is extremely simple and does not require much effort on the part of the viewer.

Relate

Finally, elements must be generated that foster the link between the viewer and the cause in the long term. These elements should make the viewer feel emotionally attached to the cause and allow him to empower himself. These elements can be visual as logos or badges, interactive as websites, online communities, or hashtags, among others.

Application in the campaign: From 2:55 to 3:00, the video shows us the link element the logo of the Rainforest Alliance certificate. By using the logo, the organization’s branding is reinforced, and the viewer will feel identified and even proud every time they consume a product that features the logo.

On some occasions the elements of Realize and Reflect overlap and are difficult to identify but are present. As in the video A Boy Named Gavin, much of the video is dedicated to these two elements, it is until 1:40 where the Render element appears, in the form of the phrase: “Please consider my rights when you make your decision”. Finally at 1:50 we see the Related element in the form of the #TransIsBeautiful hashtag.

Most communication pieces from organizations that address social or environmental problems stay in the first 2 Rs (Realize, Reflect),This does not mean that they are bad pieces, for example, Water Walk by Water Aid is a beautiful piece with great storytelling, but that by not incorporating the elements of Render and Relate, it misuses the attention it generates in viewers and does not give a clear way in which the viewer can link with the cause and support.

Without the Render and Related elements, campaigns are merely informative, and large amounts of money and effort are wasted on ineffective campaigns. These elements make the pieces and campaign more effective because they help establish the campaign’s measurement and monitoring strategy. By requesting specific actions from the audience, it is easier to establish parameters and tools that measure whether the audience is actually performing that action. For example, hashtags are a great way to measure and track the effects of a video since it is very easy to measure the number of times it is being used across different social networks.

Where to start?

The best way to start using the 4R framework is by analyzing how other pieces of communication use it. At https://socialimpact.youtube.com you can find success stories of videos that have generated a significant impact to promote social causes, this is an excellent place to find inspiration and carry out an analysis of the 4Rs before starting to generate your own campaigns.

Videosforchange.org is another good source of inspiration where we can find videos on various topics on climate change, animal rights, among others. The exciting thing about this page is that young people make the videos since the objective of this organization is that they develop confidence and practice social advocacy.

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Bryan Bejarano, is a marketing professional, living in Costa Rica with a successful track record in marketing management, sales, digital strategy and creative problem-solving for commercialization and promotion of brands in the retail industry and also in the non-profit sector. Find out more: Viva Idea
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