WIDE VIDEO: A powerful mannequin challenges gives a reminder in how to hold your phone

Always shoot video in landscape, always…  apart from when it’s better not to.

This mantra used to be law when we first delivered essential video skills workshops.

However, I was reminded that my colleague Steve’s law has softened over the past 18-months.

If you are shooting content for Snapchat or Instagram Live then it is fine to be upright. It’s how the platform works.

Here’s an example of a really good video shot using a mobile phone upright that’s been re-purposed.

This Oxfordshire fire station at Eynsham shot a mannequin challenge of the consequences of using a phone while driving. It’s arresting content. The fire crew scrambling to assist. The victim on the floor.

It was posted upright to the Facebook page. It’s a great video and perfectly shows that with a smartphone you can shoot good content that will engage people.

Others ripped the video and re-presented it adding captions and making it look horizontal.

While the original had a perfectly respectable 135,000 views it’s the millions that others have got from it that make it stand out.  The Standard video has been shared more than 150 times, for example. The Oxford Mail and others have used it. What is striking about several of the others is that they present it in a wide format.


Shouldn’t people just come to the fire station Facebook page? No. It’s perfectly fine that others re-post it. Getting the message out is the most important thing.

But to help you create content for others shoot it wide. And above all don’t be tempted to hold your phone while driving.

LIKE: Five types of social media policy… and a sixth

I like this lots.


I’d also add ‘Be human,’ and you’d be surprised how far you’ll take your organisation.

Thanks for @jeremywaite for sharing the original image.

SOCIAL CUP: How to do social customer services… a lesson from Yorkshire

Look, this is lovely. This is exactly what good social customer services is supposed to look like. Warm, engaging. And two way. 

What would have happened in the olden days? A formal letter? A puzzled look?


Bravo, Yorkshire Tea, bravo.


CAFE SOCIETY: How the secret of coffee and cake can network your organisation’s comms


For five years I worked in the public sector trying to embed digital communications across the organisation and in that time we found two secrets.

We won an award and we managed to get people on the frontline keen and engaged.

But what ingredients made this happen?

Two things. An open social media policy that allowed people from across the organisation to use it after some training. But a piece of paper only goes far. It opens the door but it won’t send everyone charging past and into the warm water. Here’s what really did. A regular meet-up where everyone who used social media was invited. We had three topics. No slides. We would try and meet off-site too to encourage creative thinking. A cafe was best.

The sessions were deliberately open and we encouraged people who were trying new things to talk about what they had learned.

Why involve people from across the organisation?

To share the sweets, of course. It’s something I’ve blogged about before. Social media shouldn’t be a communications thing. It should be an every service area thing. And sometimes we need our enthusiasm re-fired and a lesson shared to re-charge our batteries.

And one of the biggest challenges in all of this is for this not to be a comms’ own meeting. This shouldn’t be the head of comms lecturing everyone how it should be. It should be people from across the organisation working it out together. But more than that. Open it up to partners too. And anyone who is interested from the public. Widen the circle.

Here’s a secret. Two actually

Very often organisations can have more than 100 channels. Often they work seperately from each other and there can be painfully little collaboration.

That’s where the cake and coffee come in. Here’s the thing: if you talk to each other you’ll share ideas and very often work better. The customer services person, the librarian and the media officer. None of them have a monopoly on good ideas.

Try it. Let me know how it goes.

Shout if I can help. I’m dan@comms2point0.co.uk and @danslee.

Picture credit: Susanne Nilsson / Flickr 



TRUSTING ME: A quick guide to who, what and how to deliver a better message


When you’ve got a difficult message to deliver don’t just send out the next cab on the rank. Instead, use a bit of research to send out the best one.

Who is delivering the message is just as important as what they are actually saying.

But when time and effort gets spent on the the words very little gets spent on thinking through who will say them.

Who will say it? And what will they say? Here is a couple of pieces of research that should help guide who will say what for you.

A case study with trees and angry people

Back when I was in the public sector, an issue blew up with trees being cut down on common land. The simple equation was this:

Trees are good, so cutting them down is bad.

That’s a perfectly understandable response. The thing was, it was more complicated than that. IKt boiled down to:

Trees are good but they’re damaging rare heathland.

The offending trees themselves were self-set. In other words, birds had eaten berries and the seeds had ended up germinating where they fell. Trouble is the heath land they had germinated on needs protecting as there isn’t much of it. Sounds technical? It was. Luckily, we had a named countryside ranger who was using social media for the organisation.  So, she was better able to communicate what was happening.

Why? Because she was a trusted individual and an expert in her field. She had also built a relationship with people. What was the alternative? A politician who wouldn’t have had the same clout.

Who will say it? Trust and shooting the messenger

Our reaction depends a great deal on who is sent out of the door to deliver the message.  If we don’t really believe whoever has been sent out we won’t believe what they say. The 2016 Edelman Trust barometer sets out through extensive polling what people think of people with different job titles. See the board of directors on the right? They’re least trusted. Your employee? Markedly more trusted and the person like yourself even more so.



Who will say it? Trust in politicians is low

Data from Ipsos Mori was posted on Twitter earlier today by Ben Page. If you don’t already do follow him. He’s often insightful. The research shows that politicians are trusted by 15 per cent of the population and nurses and doctors at more than 90 per cent are the most trusted. The research is here:



The data is useful if you are in the public sector. While many of us would like politicians to be more trusted the hard reality is that they are not. Seeing as that’s the landscape we’re faced with, I’d argue that we need to be more thoughful in the way we deliver messages. The trusted member of staff is likely to be more effective. This also has the spin-off of making the approval process that bit quicker.

Of course, black is not white and there are occasions when a politician fronting up a message is the best route. This is where the small ‘p’ nouse of a comms officer is important.

Who will say it? Content is king

Of course, there’s a chance the message may be better delivered not by an individual but by a piece of content.  The sharable infographic, the video or the image may be the best way to deliver the message. Especially if it is financial data that frankly, is a bit dull. Make the telephone directory come alive in other ways.

What will you say?: Honest communications, please

One last set of data to check before you respond also comes from the UK edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer. It’s about honesty. The research breaks down the population into the informed public and mass. In other words, college educated and high media cosumers and the rest. The stats here are so striking they can’t be avoided. We all want honest communications. My own take on this is that this is messages that are straight and don’t try and pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.


So, if that message is honest, straight and comes from people who are likely to be trusted, you’ve got a chance.

If you call cuts cuts and not efficiencies you are more likely to cut through. Especially if they are delivered from someone people can trust.

I’m dan@comms2point0.co.uk and @danslee. Shout if I can help. I’ll be co-delivering a workshop on How to Communicate in a Digital World in Edinburgh on December 9, Birmingham on January 24 and Manchester on February 16. More info here.  

Picture credit: Exile on Ontario Street / Flickr 




TV TIMES: That Yellow Pages bike TV ad from the 1980s? It’s emotion, stupid.

I’ve blogged about how emotion has become the key to communicating in 2016 but it’s nothing new.

Look at Brexit and look at Christmas TV ads.

But it’s maybe important to reemember that emotion and story telling didn’t start this year. I was reminded of this when a TV ad from my childhood dropped into my timeline.

You may recall it. It’s a boy dreaming of a bike. His Dad keeps up the pretence that he thinks the bike is daft while secretly planning to buy it for his birthday. It’s a beautiful story told in 58 seconds.

You can see it here:

The TV advert was for yellow pages. It’s not a big thick directory of telephone numbers. It’s a place to make young people’s dreams come true.

As much as I can see the point of a direct call to action, a sign-up or a sale, I like this aproach too.

So, if we knew it in 1985 and we know it in 2016 why as comms people do we need to show people we work with to remind them that this is true?

FILM ALERT: Don’t be Groundhog Day

Yesterday was a good day. It was the unawards in a cinema that saw prizes given in 18 categories to an audience of 140.

We gave out the prizes and then mopped up the disappointment of those who missed out with a film. ‘Groundhog Day’ was the main feature. This is a story of a man in the media forced to live his life over and over until he changes his ways.

Chatting to people over lunch afterwards it seemed the choice of film echoed a strand in people’s professional lives.

Every day people fight to get good things done.

Which is why getting out of the office, learning and above all talking to people are so important. Be reminded it’s them. Not you.

And every day while you’re in the office do one small thing better or differently. It doesn’t even have to be big.

In six months time you’ll look back where you came from and be amazed at how far you’ve come.

I’m dan@comms2point0.co.uk and @danslee. Shout if I can help.