Video has become an increasingly powerful tool in raising awareness for organizations and initiatives. Whether it’s through social media, online advertising, or traditional broadcast, video has the ability to connect with audiences on a deeper level and inspire action.
Let’s explore 8 types of videos that raise awareness and the impact they have on individuals and communities. From educating the public about important topics to creating jobs and spurring economic growth, we’ll take a look at the many ways that video makes a positive impact. Whether you’re a marketer, a nonprofit professional, or just someone with a passion for video storytelling, this is for you. Let’s dive in…
1. Educational videos
These types of videos aim to inform and educate the public about important topics, such as economic opportunities, racial justice, environmental concerns, and new initiatives. They can provide detailed information and statistics to help viewers understand the idea or issue and why it matters. Educational videos are a powerful tool for raising awareness and promoting understanding of a wide range of social and political issues, and can help to create informed, engaged citizens and a more just and equitable society.
The “Start Small, Dream Big” campaign, launched by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in the United States is a great example of a successful educational video. The campaign aimed to educate and inspire small business owners and entrepreneurs, by showcasing the success stories of small business owners and providing information on the resources and support available through the SBA.
A series of short videos broadcast on television, online platforms, and social media featuring real small business owners and entrepreneurs sharing their stories of how they started their businesses and the challenges they faced along the way. The videos also provided information on the various programs and services offered by the SBA such as loans and grants, counseling, training and more.
The campaign also helped to inspire and motivate many small business owners and entrepreneurs to start their own business or grow their existing businesses. The campaign also helped to create jobs and spur economic growth.
*Here’s an educational video we made for Good Reason Houston’s Good Reasons to Lead Fellowship Program:
2. Emotional storytelling
Video can also tell powerful and emotional stories that connect with viewers on a personal level. This is a particularly effective way to raise awareness for causes that may not be well-known or that people may not initially show interest in. Emotional storytelling through video is a powerful strategy for non-profit and social impact organizations to raise awareness and inspire public engagement, ultimately leading to a positive change in society. A video about a marginalized community, can raise awareness and advocate for their rights and equitable opportunities.
One example is the “Rising Tides” campaign, launched by the Minority Business Development Agency – U.S. Department of Commerce (MBDA) in the United States. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the challenges faced by business owned by historically underrepresented communities and to advocate for their equitable opportunities in the marketplace. The campaign used a series of videos that featured the personal stories of diverse-owned business owners, sharing their journey and the challenges they faced while trying to establish and grow their businesses.
Widely shared on social media, the videos helped to spark a national conversation about the barriers and challenges faced by underrepresented and BIPOC-owned businesses and the importance of supporting these communities. They also helped to generate support for the organization’s mission.
Viewers praised the videos for their powerful storytelling and for bringing attention to a critical issue. The campaign helped to raise awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the importance of supporting diverse entrepreneurs.
*Here’s a video we made for YES Prep Public Schools’ capital campaign to launch elementary schools across the district:
3. Advocacy and campaigning
Using video to promote a specific cause or campaign and encouraging viewers to take action, such as registering to vote, filling out an online application, making donations, or volunteering. A video teaching people how to register to vote and produced in different languages, can increase voter turnout and potentially change the outcome of an election.
The “H-town Votes” campaign, launched by Houston in Action in Texas aimed to increase voter turnout among underrepresented communities by commissioning artists and local micro-influencers to encourage culturally diverse communities to vote and the importance of voting, in English, Spanish Vietnamese, Chinese, and other languages spoken in Harris County.
Artists participating in the campaign created multiple series of videos, sharing them through online platforms, social media, and broadcasting them on television. The videos provided detailed information on how to register to vote, the deadlines and requirements, as well as reminders on the importance of participating in the electoral process. The campaign also provided resources to help people find their polling locations and to get help if they needed it.
The goal was to uplift the H-town Votes artists projects on digital platforms in an equitable manner, allowing a diverse community of artists to share their voter mobilization projects with their communities through their unique art and live video conversations on local influencer platforms. Reaching 33,854 people, with 2,279 directly engaging with organic messaging helped spark conversations among local communities with no ad spend on social platforms.
The campaign was effectiveness in reaching and engaging with diverse Houston communities and distributing information to communities that have traditionally had low voter participation.
*Here’s another example of a voter mobilization video ad campaign for Spanish speaking communities that we produced in partnership with Houston in Action and the Texas Civil Rights Project:
4. Social media
Videos made specifically for social media platforms can reach a large audience quickly. This is particularly effective when creating videos with current trends and social algorithms in mind. That means creating vertical videos for Instagram reels, YouTube shorts, TikTok, Pinterest, and so on.
Creating a vertical video for IG reels that promotes an event, can result in a significant increase in attendance, or a video on TikTok that promotes a business, can result in a spike in sales and increase in brand awareness, which can help businesses to stay competitive in the market. The same goes for videos raising awareness about social justice issues, they can inspire a large number of people to read, share, take action, and make a change.
Video on social media platforms is particularly effective for driving website traffic, with 83% of people saying that video has helped them to generate leads and 81% reporting an increase in website traffic as a result of video, according to a survey by Wyzowl.
Different social media platforms have different strengths and it is important to consider where your target audience is and what type of content they prefer.
*Here’s a video we made for a Southern Smoke fundraising event in partnership with Lexus and Daniel Anguilu.
5. Live streaming
Live streaming events, such as conferences help raise awareness and engage with more viewers in real time. It also extends your reach to audiences that aren’t able to attend in person or in time due to distance or scheduling conflicts. Live streaming of a product launch event can help businesses to reach a global audience and increase sales and brand awareness.
One of our favorite recurring live stream productions is a private startup demo day event by the Softeq Venture Studio in Houston, Texas. It’s the capstone event of their 3-month accelerator program where 20+ vetted founders each pitch their startups to investors for funding. Our streaming video production team broadcasts and manages the live stream of the pitches for investors who are out of town or can’t make it in person. It’s complete with branded backdrops, layouts, logos, pre-produced lower thirds, tickers, banners, and features viewer comments and engagement during the live stream.
The ability to watch the event live online and the availability of the published stream that remains online after the event has doubled and tripled the number of viewers that are able to access the event. In addition the sharing the full live video, tech-savvy founders also clip their portion of the live stream and publish to their social media platforms, giving the event and video an extended reach.
*This is a short sizzle reel / event recap video of Softeq’s demo day event. Watch the full live stream production in its entirety on Softeq’s YouTube channel.
6. Public service announcements (PSA)
Creating video public service announcements that air on television and online are one of your best resources if you’re a nonprofit organization. These “commercials” are typically short and aim to raise awareness about a particular issue.
One example of a successful PSA is the “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign, from the 1980s by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to combat littering on the state’s highways. The campaign featured a variety of ads that depicted the negative consequences of littering, such as fines and community service. The PSA also used celebrity endorsements and partnerships with organizations like Keep Texas Beautiful to amplify its message.
The campaign was extremely successful in reducing litter on Texas highways, with the amount of litter dropping by 72% between 1986 and 1990. The “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign also won numerous awards and is one of the most successful anti-litter campaigns in the United States. The campaign slogan is still popular and continues to appear in various forms of communications across the state.
Note: TV and radio stations don’t charge for air time like a typical for profit video advertisement, a great option for orgs with limited budgets. Budgeting to produce a great video and saving thousands on free air time is a great opportunity.
*The sample video below we created remotely for Volunteer Houston during the pandemic to recruit virtual volunteers. Originally a digital ad and also broadcast as a PSA for TV:
7. Influencer marketing
Video content made by micro and macro-influencers are a good way to reach specific target audiences. When there’s no personal connection to the influencer(s), making sure follower counts and comments are real, engagement rates are at a decent level, taking a current look at the influencers’ platform analytics, and asking colleagues and partners for trusted referrals are some of the ways we make sure we’re partnering with the right influencers.
Another important aspect to consider when partnering with influencers is their alignment with your brand values and messaging. This helps to ensure that the content they produce for your brand is consistent and authentic. This can also helps to build trust between the influencer and their audience, which can lead to higher engagement rates and ultimately drive more conversions.
It’s also important that we look at the influencer’s past content and see if they have a history of promoting products, services, or campaigns that are similar or in direct competition with the current campaign we’re working on. We also always consider the influencer’s audience demographics to see if they align with the target market. This helps ensure that the right people will see the content they produce, and that our messages reaches the right audiences. Overall, it is important to do due diligence and research before partnering with influencers we don’t know.
*Here’s a micro-influencer video campaign we created in partnership with HiA and PoliChic, who knew the right community leaders of faith to deliver messages to their congregations in order to reach Black communities in Houston about why it was important to complete the census:
8. Virtual Reality
We use VR video to create virtual reality experiences that allow users to immerse themselves in a particular place or issue, making it more relatable and personal. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality has the potential to revolutionize the way we experience and understand the world around us, and it is a key component in the development of the metaverse. The metaverse is a virtual space users share and can interact with each other or digital objects in a fully immersive environment.
One successful virtual reality (VR) video campaign is “The Antarctica Experience” campaign, launched by Greenpeace in 2016. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on Antarctica and to promote the protection of the region.
Greenpeace used VR technology to transport people to Antarctica and provide them with an immersive experience of the fragile ecosystem. The VR videos were available to view in select locations and also available to view online and through mobile apps. They featured stunning 360-degree footage of the Antarctic landscape, wildlife, and the effects of climate change. Viewers could look around and explore the landscape, and also learn about the effects of climate change on the region, such as melting ice, rising sea levels, and the impacts on wildlife.
The campaign was successful in raising awareness about the impacts of climate change on Antarctica, and Greenpeace reported that it reached over 1.5 million people and helped to generate significant media coverage about the issue. The campaign using VR technology to provide an immersive and emotional experience helped to connect people with the issue and make it more real and tangible.
*We captured these VR video scenes at Big Bend National Park with a 360° camera. Watch immersively with a VR headset or view here directly from YouTube. Just click the play button and use the navigation arrows on the top left to look around in all directions.
Ready to start producing videos to raise awareness for your org or initiative?
Video has the ability to connect with people in a way that words and images alone cannot. The examples we highlighted here are just some ways that video campaigns can be successful in raising awareness, inspiring action, and bringing about change.
If you’re considering using video to raise awareness for your own cause or organization, it’s important to plan your campaign carefully. Consider your target audience, your message, and the platforms where you will be distributing your video. It’s also important to budget accordingly, as video production can be costly, especially if you’re not working with experienced professionals.
If you’re budgeting for your next video project, try an online tool like this one: Quote Calculator.
It will help estimate the cost of your video project and give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of variable costs, when working with a video production company. Using our quote calculator is free, instant, and doesn’t require giving up your info. Only input your contact info to get an e-mailed copy of your quote or if you want to move forward or talk more about your project.
Take the first step to create an impactful video today. Start here:goodspero.com
By Jessica Bolaños and Nelson Vanegas, Founders of Goodspero, a video and digital agency in Houston, Texas, in collaboration with our new AI-powered friend, ChatGPT.