Is your dashboard full of cause-related hashtags? From #NeverAgain to #ClimateCatastrophe to #Trashtag, digital activism is on the rise and has become a huge focus for brands – and their consumers – with an agenda: to drive change.

‘Supporting a cause is no longer a choice for brands,’ argues AdWeek‘s Kinjil Mathur. ‘We’ve reached the point of no return. Employees are speaking up to hold their employers accountable to their own missions. Customers are loyal to brands they believe alight with their personal values.’

So how are businesses communicating their cause-related efforts? Arguably video is the most effective medium. Google reports that cause-related ads on YouTube has grown 4x over the past five years among the top 100 brands. In video, brands can effectively take a visual stand. Whether they’re responding to a viral challenge or want to showcase their internal values in a brand film, the results speak for themselves.

A good video should capture the viewer’s imagination and encourage them to get involved. Don’t just focus on highlighting the plight – tell your company’s story and involvement. Lead with an emotional trigger and simple call to action.

Here are tips on how you can get started with a cause-related video:

Tell the story with a brand film

As part of its Healthy, Safety and Well-being initiative, our client set up Drive Safe, a company-wide internal initiative designed to improve road safety among their global vehicle fleet size of 6000. While it would’ve been safe to produce a  standard training video, we felt that a brand film – based around the effects of using a loved one to road accidents – would create the most impact. Take a look:

Support fundraising campaigns with video

57% of donors watch a video before giving online. When we partnered with actress Caroline Quentin for a St Peter’s Hospice fundraising film for new space, we wanted to show viewers how donating would make a difference. The most effective result? By bringing the architectural drawings to life using 3D film.

Attracting talent in a culture video

If customers are willing to pay premium for brands and services they feel deliver benefits to society, then employees will too. Millennials are two-thirds more likely to want to work for a company that gives to charity. A culture video is arguably about the people, the workplace and its leaders. But if a company gives back to local communities or focuses on sustainability, highlight this in your film. For Salesforce’s 20th birthday film, the tech firm produced a video with a focus on its technology and its philanthropy model. Unsurprisingly, Salesforce ranks first on Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Giving Back.

Collaborate with a charity

Collaborating with a specific charity rather than a cause can be impactful. By producing a sponsored video highlighting a charity’s plight, you’re able to maximise your company’s involvement with their cause. Not everyone can make an Iceland/Greenpeace film, but localising your efforts with a regional charity can raise awareness among the community around your business. Take a look at Bristol-based Ovo Energy‘s video produced for south west charity, Cool Earth:

Contribute more than pounds

For time-starved businesses, don’t simply donate cash to a cause. Whether you can support them through a team 10k challenge or if you’re pledging to plant trees, capture the moment with a smartphone and post to your company blog or social pages. Better still, livestream the action. These unplanned and unscripted videos can often generate more passion and realism and above all, it humanises a business. When outdoor company UCO Gear launched the #Trashtag Project to encourage people to clean up litter in public spaces, a movement was born.

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Nina May 16th, 2019

About Nina Postans

Nina is Marketing Manager at Skylark Media. Her background is in editorial content, running fashion and celebrity B2B services in New York and London. A keen home renovator and interior hacker, Nina juggles life on the school run while tending to her other kids (indoor plants!).

@ninatsang