It happened again.
A couple of my fellow University Communication staffers once again teamed up to create a Coastal Carolina University holiday video that delighted our campus and did our institution proud. And, like previous years, Lindsi Glass and Geoff Insch decided to offer something that was completely different from previous editions. However, I think they went out even more on a limb in 2018 than ever before.
Can you guess what they did?…
Wait, hold off. I will answer that question in one minute. Let me start by telling you the premise of this year’s video. In an act of homage to the past 11.5 months at CCU, Lindsi, our senior director of marketing, and Geoff, one of our production managers, recapped the many accomplishments and milestones that transpired. They did this by incorporating significant Coastal Carolina moments from 2018 into a popular Christmas song – Jingle Bells! Lindsi wrote catchy CCU-inspired lyrics to the tune of the classic carol and Geoff did his magic with the camera. With a CCU student providing the vocals and a campus community eager to help us shoot the scenes, we had all the components of an awesome, memorable video.
But, like I said, Lindsi and Geoff thought waaaaay outside the box this year. The duo wanted to let #TEALnation have an active voice in deciding what the video would look like and the story that would be told. They knew they could turn to a reliable “friend” for help: Social media.
From the start of the project, Lindsi and Geoff wanted social media to play a major role in building the 2018 #CCU Holiday Video. Their vision was to allow our social audience to vote on the scenes they wanted to include in the production.
They invited me to the brainstorming meetings to discuss how we could best accomplish this. We came to a consensus that utilizing Instagram Story, notably its “poll” option, would help us reach our goal. A byproduct of using Instagram Story was that it would help us “reach” something else – a very important audience at CCU…our students.
Of course allowing our social media audience to vote on the scenes entailed twice the work. Lindsi and Geoff had to shoot scenes that would never make it into the video. For example, one day we asked our Instagram audience to decide whether they wanted to see CCU staffers hanging holiday lights in Wall Building or Academic Building II. Wall Building ended up winning, meaning that the scene that was shot in Academic Building II never made the video’s final cut.
Quick explanation about how this worked on Instagram. Three times each week over the span of two weeks, we included video of two different scenes that were shot for the holiday video on our Instagram Story. Using the poll feature that allows users to vote between two choices, we offered the scenes for the day. The scene that generated the most votes after 24 hours was included in the video while the losing scene was left on the cutting room floor. My small contribution to this year’s holiday video was teaming with my intern, Katie, to build out these Instagram Stories and moderate the voting.
After our last scene selection ran this past Monday, we had a video on our hands that was genuinely molded by the Coastal Carolina community. By casting thousands of votes, our social media audience decided SEVEN of the scenes that we incorporated into the final version. How about that for quality engagement?! Thanks to the work of another CCU staffer, Brentley Broughton, we have a website that documents the scenes that were selected by our social media users (and the ones that were not).
This year’s video has personality and spunk. Chauncey plays the saxophone, dancing is widespread, a central theme is evident, President DeCenzo is having fun, numerous campus groups are showcased, and the qualities that distinguish CCU are captured. Not to mention the beautiful drone footage and other campus beauty shots that really make the video stand out! Needless to say, the 2018 #CCU Holiday Video is a success.
Although it is sometimes uncomfortable to take a chance and go outside the box, especially in higher ed, it can pay off in a big way. Much credit to Lindsi and Geoff for doing something that quite simply isn’t done in the industry that we work in. On a special note, I want to thank our #CCUSocialMedia audience for rising to the occasion and making some great scene decisions. Don’t Blink.