Associations and the Future of Video

Well, there is a good reason we saw our beloved Greg Melia, CAE move to ITN Productions. The future of video is almost here and it couldn’t be cooler.

If I had one area I would encourage associations to seriously look at to amp up their game it would be the use of video. One of the key trends mentioned by Kevin Kelly in his new book, “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future is “screening” (I will be blogging about this as a concept in more depth shortly). Since I read the book, I have changed my strategic shaping perspective on video. Yes, we know we need to produce video but we have to move beyond the “production and broadcasting” discussion. In order to implement a truly robust video strategy, we have to establish a closed feedback loop and incorporate “consumption trends” as well. If you really want to know what the future of video is, you have to spend time learning about what individuals will be watching that video on. If the future of “ubiquitous screening” is upon us (and holographic 3-D is just around the corner), then we need to think critically about how the display options themselves are the ultimate drivers behind our video production strategies. “On what,” is just as important as “with what.”

Recent advancements in display are about to majorly disrupt the video game. I thought my “slimline” TV was cool until I saw LG has already created “wallpaper tv” which attaches to the wall with magnets and is the thickness of a credit card. But now, they have upped their own ante. We are just now getting our first looks at “roll up” tv currently under development (the video above is from a product event held earlier this year). (Yes, there are still bugs to be worked out but I literally have zero doubt they will be.) Can you imagine the applications for this? The kinds of conference displays, member experiences and educational opportunities that are right there on the horizon for us to create?!?!

Right now, this screen is 18 inches but I am convinced they are already figuring out how to scale them from wallet to wall size. For those of us who are tech watchers, the coming wave of screen options are mind-blowing and if your association is going to position itself as a communications hub for the future, your need to have compelling video designed to promote, inform, educate and inspire all of the stakeholders in your industry or profession that will scale from micro- to macro-screen in high-definition resolution. Your need for a comprehensive video production strategy just went from “nice to have” to “critical.”

Video production is like any technological advancement – new tools appear and we start experimenting around the edges. Eventually we have to become more purposeful in the manner in which we use new tools in order to get the maximum impact. In my mind, associations not only need to begin to think about display, but we need to begin breaking video strategy down into “live,” “on-demand,” and “environmental” categories.

Live – Association professionals have tons of “DIY” options making live broadcast easier than ever before but we need to get more intentional with two levels of live broadcasting strategy – “mobile live” and “stationary live.” Mobile live includes smartphones and shortly, drones. I fully expect to see drones flying from ballroom to conference room streaming content, broadcasting aerial shots of attendees and maybe even “on the spot” interviews or shots from social events. You should have a strategy for this activity in place – do you encourage everyone to use Periscope? Facebook Live? YouTube Live? Do you ensure you have some or all content on all three platforms? If you have education tracks, do you assign a certain staffers or volunteers to attend every session and make sure people know whose feed to follow and when? Then from “mobile live” we switch to “stationary live.” A great example of “stationary live” was the way Kiki L’Italien¬†¬†held “real time” conference updates on Facebook Live from ASAE Annual in Salt Lake using high-quality cameras and an “on-site” studio. Got some breaking news or want to spice up your association’s YouTube channel? I love the way The Young Turks have an “accessible” yet “professional” approach. Follow them for examples on how to blend both “mobile live” and “stationary live” and do it well.

On-Demand – Associations also need to develop a comprehensive on-demand library as well that can encompass marketing to education and everything in between. If your members need to know about it, you need to produce a video about it. Have a chapter that needs to learn about your affiliate policies? Do a video for them so a “human” is part of the equation, not just a policy manual. Marketing? Check. Conferences? Check. Education? Check.

Environmental – This is just over the horizon but still worth some time to conceptualize. The fact that we will have micro- and macro-scale ubiquitous screening will allow us to have so many creative options to help create visually stunning membership experiences. Imagine walking into an event flanked with paper-thin, mobile displays that shift and change. Maybe those screens are keyed to your event’s mobile app so the screens shift to welcome attendees by name. I’ve blogged about this before but the first CVB that makes it so you can program the ballroom walls to reflect any atmosphere you WANT for a reception (you want the beach and ocean on the west wall – just click the remote) will win ALL THE AWARDS. I mean, if I book an event where each presenter could program their workshop walls to shift to anything from nature scenes to outer space on demand while they are delivering content – well shut up and take all my money. NOW.

The bottom line? Start with display and work backwards – look for the intersections between the “screen” and the “content” to inform your video production strategy; divide your efforts into a framework using the above categories; and then, get to broadcasting. (If you want some help thinking through how to add video strategy to your strategic plan, or just to have a chat about these developments hit me up and schedule a phone consultation.)

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