THREE LIONS: How the FA have changed how they use video to communicate

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There’s a time limit to this post. I hurry to write it before England play Columbia in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

My first World Cup watching England was in 1982. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been let down. Let’s get this straight. I’m a cynic.

How the FA used to communicate with video

There was a bloke called Graham Taylor who was the face of the FA. He was 40 in 1985 but his jowly face and provincial solicitor fashion mode made him look so much older. That he was the face of the FA tells you all you need to know. This is him in action, children, with an even older bloke called Ted Croker.

Fun, no?

How the FA now communicate

Coming into the 2018 World Cup, the FA ditched how they normally communicate the squad they’d be sending. Rather than a man walking into a room and reading a list of names to a roomful of journalists they released it straight to their audience.

They made a video aimed at young people of young people shouting the names of players out. A girl in a kit slides in celebration shouting Danny Rose’s name, kids on a bus Harry Kane. It’s a list of optimism and celebration.

Here’s the interesting thing.

My video skills colleague Steven Davies dislikes it. He’s Welsh but he makes valid criticism of the video as sometimes hard to follow with regional accents, a lack of sub-titles and others.

I get that and I recognise the valid criticisms. But I love it. I love how it makes me feel optimistic.

It’s short. It has the demographic in mind. It’s visual with fast cuts and I love it.

Tournament video

It’s also not a one-off. Through the tournament the FA have been producing a stack of content from match highlights to behind the scenes content and quizzes between players that are all shareable across their YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels.

But just in case it all goes wrong, I’m posting this blog ahead of the Columbia game.

I’m @danslee on Twitter and dan@comms2point0.co.uk. If you hate missing out on the good stuff subscribe to my weekly email here.


STORY TELLING: How video can deliver a family’s story to help make a difference

You may know that for the past 18 months or so I’ve been helping to deliver video skills workshops via comms2point0. The aim is to give people the skills to plan, shoot, edit and post video using a smartphone or tablet.

They are a joy to deliver. Steve and Sophie who I deliver them with are good people to work with. I love doing them and seeing people go on a bit of a journey from unsure to taking their first steps. Then later on I may see them blossom into a sprinter and marathon runner who are travelling to amazing places.

One such blooming dropped into my Twitter timeline from Chris Bentley. Chris works at Acorns Hospice which is a hospice in the West Midlands that specialises in looking after childern.

He shot the following video here:

You don’t have to be a parent to get the humanity and dignity of this story. It’s beautifully told.

While you know I help deliver video skills workshops you may not know that I lost my own mother 12 years ago. She died in a hospice surrounded by many of her family. I don’t know how it feels to lose a child as the Harvey family have but I painfully know what it’s like to lose a loved one in a hospice. I wish that when it is time everyone has this.

I’m quietly proud that a workshop that I’ve been involved with may have played even a small part in delivering such an effective video. It’s a video that doesn’t stand alone. It is part of a fundraising campaign to carry on the hospice work. Good communications can seem cold. Find out the business objective. Tell stories and create content that helps that. Evaluate by seeing if the business objective has been reached. But for the coldness of this, what makes it work is the warmth of the storytelling as Chris has done here.

The truism that good PR and comms can make a real difference is never truer than it is here.  I can’t wait to see the results of the campaign and will be chipping in with a donation here.  I hope you, if you can, do too.