Contributor-led content

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Putting participants’ perspective in the picture

In terms of digital trends and marketing comms it’s safe to say that video is here to stay. But with such a ubiquitous media form, how do you cut through the noise and make sure that audiences want to watch and share yours? We’ve found, through the work with our charity sector clients, that sometimes a story doesn’t necessarily need to be written, simply told.

In our recent film for the MS Society, we opted for a contributor-led narrative, to convey what it’s really like to live with Multiple Scelerosis (MS). Focusing on the diagnosis journey, we encouraged participants to talk about how they felt at different stages, from identifying their condition to finding support in the MS Society.

‘The team at Morever impressed us with a strong vision for how our brand story, community and the journey people living with MS go on could translate on screen.’

Chris Parker – Content and Creative Manager, MS Society

Although scriptwriting isn’t always part of the pre-production process, a great deal of thought needs to go into preparing for this kind of shoot. Once we’ve worked with the charity to find the right contributors, we make sure the location and facilities suit their specific needs, then we need to bring them in line with our vision for the film, set their expectations for the shoot (they might not have ever been filmed before), and we need to be sensitive to their experiences and accommodating on the day. We tend to conduct telephone ‘interviews’ and, if possible, meet with them before the shoot to make sure they feel comfortable enough to tell their story, and to increase the chance of teasing out the content that we need for the edit – without feeling contrived.

‘They showed incredible sensitivity to the complex range of emotions that come with an MS diagnosis, and created a safe space on the shoot day for all the participants, families and support networks. Perhaps most importantly they were flexible – from tailoring the shoot to our participants physical and emotional needs, to working with us to ensure the final edits met the technical accessibility requirements for audiences with hearing or sight difficulties.’

Chris Parker – Content and Creative Manager, MS Society

We took a slightly different, self-filmed approach for Diabetes UK, asking participants to record themselves going about a typical day living with diabetes. But handing over the camera for user-generated content doesn’t necessarily mean a lighter workload…

To guide our script-writing, we spoke to a wider group of people to make sure that the voice-over would be genuine and informed. This took place through hour-long phone calls with the five people in the film and a wider group of people living with diabetes.

To prepare the contributors for their content creation, we put together a short training video and email guidelines so they could learn how best to film themselves. We sent out phones, tripods and selfie-sticks and followed up to check understanding and give some long-distance pre-direction.

The edit was a combination of a week’s worth of participants filming themselves, and then bringing them all together for a shoot in London, where they voiced the guided script.

‘We had a very collaborative experience working with Morever to develop our In it Together film for our colleague conference. I was very impressed by the amount of time they took to understand diabetes as a serious condition, working closely with our participants. Feedback was handled well and efficiently. I felt that Morever went above and beyond to work with us to deliver a film that brought diabetes to life and helped us remember why we come to work every day.’

Matt Nicholls – Senior Brand Manager, Diabetes UK

The results?

Authentic stories surface giving a real-life perspective that really resonates, creating meaningful connections with the audience and compelling them to take action.

There’s a perception that charities sometimes grapple with keeping up with trends in marketing and communications, as brands so quickly innovate, but when it comes to this genuine, audience-centred approach to content, the third sector are carving the path.
We are always looking to work with charities who value this type of storytelling and understand the power of moving image – those who need to transform the way they are perceived and are looking for effective digital transformation.