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Probably some of the smartest words I’ve ever heard. When it comes to busines – Know Your Why. When it comes to teams – Know Your Why. When it comes to videos – Know Your Why.

It’s something we should do in everyday life, with everyday decisions. I’ve heard it before, but this time, the phrase really resonated with me. I was at an event for a client recently, one that deals with education, awareness and fundraising for a debilitating disease and a leader of one of the top fundraising teams spoke. When he spoke, he was talking about how to build a team, how to raise funds with that team. Know the endgame, he said, and though it may take awhile, if you can visualize what you want, you’ll get there. For him, his mother was his Why. How she lived, and ultimately passed from this disease drove all of his actions, the end result – a cure – is what he is working for. And that made him very successful. Even though the moves he made, the way he went about creating a team and cajoling funders ended up being very different than how he thought he needed to be when he started.

When he heard a “No” he fine-tuned his message, if this road didn’t work, he took another. That type of campaign failed, he changed things so that the next campaign worked. And he always remembered why he did what he did.

How many times have you had this conversation with clients?

Me: “Ok, let’s talk about your video, what do you want it to do? Who do you want to reach?”
Client: “Put it on the web and tell people about my (company/product/me)”
Me: “Right, tell them what?”
Client: “Everything.”

Hmmm. One video cannot be everything to everyone. Unless you’re shooting a biography, you need to keep it tight. (and even then, Angelina Jolie had to edit out scenes from “Unbroken”)
To tell a good story, you need a focused storyline. You need to know what you want your audience to do – buy you, buy your product, think about making a change etc.

Clients can get lost sometimes, and videos can end up being a lot of stuff about … well … a lot of different things. Unfocused. Wandering. I believe it’s my job to work with a client, drill down on what he/she really wants this video to be about. And then craft the story that fits. That may mean that some elements are left out. Maybe different elements are added because that’s what the story needs. That means re-writes of course, lots of them. Rarely does the finished product look like what we first thought we wanted.  Sometimes it takes a second or third video to get everything you want.But it’s worth it in the end. A video will always be better if you have a good story to tell.

Sometimes the way you tell a story can change, or the person telling the story can change, sometimes, even the message can change. But if you know the reason behind it, if you keep the end in focus, you can begin.