Reduce The Words: Learn Through Digestible Videos with Kate Robinson

Reduce The Words: Learn Through Digestible Videos with Kate Robinson (Episode 101)

video marketing podcast Apr 04, 2022

Academic papers such as thesis or research papers are complex, wordy, and certainly not consumed for one sitting only. If only there was a way to make it an easy-to-digest content and take us in an enjoyable journey of what the researchers have discovered after rigorous investigation.

Welcome to 'Video Made Simple' video podcast featuring marketers, entrepreneurs & clients who help take the mystery out of video and break through the monotony of day-to-day communication. 

In this episode, Chris Schwager and Brendan Southall (Co-founders and Video Marketers of Ridge Films) is joined by Kate Robinson (Director and Founder of CommuniKate Consulting) to talk about using videos as a communication tool for complex materials like research paper. Learn more about condensing thesis paper into a thirty-minute documentary and how it helped clarify what the research is really all about, long enough to interest listeners to read the thesis paper for more information.

FOLLOW KATE ROBINSON to know more about her accomplishments and how to reach her.  

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ASK YOUR QUESTION What has you feeling overwhelmed? Let us help you solve the mystery of video marketing.

CONVINCE YOUR BOSS Download our guide to help decision makers understand the importance of video marketing their business. 

THE POWER OF VIDEO MARKETING View on demand in 60-minutes. 7 lessons to kickstart your video marketing journey.

RIDGE FILMS YOUTUBE Catch new episodes of the Video Made Simple podcast on our Youtube channel. Let us know what you think and feel free to like, comment, and subscribe. 


Video Transcription:

Chris Schwager 0:51
Hello media marketing professionals. Welcome to the podcast that takes the mystery out of producing videos. Today. Our guest is the very special Kate Robinson, director and founder of communicate consulting, he has successfully delivered organizational and transformational change culture reform and employee communication through values based leadership. She's taking her PhD in the University of Queensland and produced a 30 minute video based on her 80 page research on values based leadership versus rules based leadership, which will now go into in more detail. So by the end of this episode, you'll be inspired to use video as a communication tool for subject as complex as research papers. I'm Chris Scwhager, your host and let's check in with Brendan Southall. Hello, Mr. Southall.

Brendan Southall 1:39
Oh, hello, Mr. Schwager. How are you today?

Chris Schwager 1:42
I'm really healthy well and feeling skinny? Why hasn't it been done? Or has it been done? Just not very well, until now?

Brendan Southall 1:51
What's that? What feeling skinny?

Chris Schwager 1:54
Companies adopting videos for use in training scenarios? Is there much of it going on? In your opinion?

Brendan Southall 2:03
I don't think so. I think there's still a wide open gap for a lot of video use speaking to Kate off air during the course of this project. And yeah, she was mentioning all these gold standards, which were, you know, by our standards quite, quite subpar. So yeah, I think there's room for video, full stop. And effective video as well.

Chris Schwager 2:26
Well, here's our conversation with Kate Robinson. Kate Robinson approached us, yeah, 15 years ago. But we did plenty of work for like five or 10 years or whatever. And then she took off. And we never, we never heard from her for like 10 years. She was based in Hawaii. She married a dude over there and had a kid came to Darwin, I think settle there for a while. But we really didn't have anything to do together until the last six months where she's blossomed and popped up again, to come work with us. And one of the questions I asked, okay, very early on is why wouldn't you just find someone else? Someone closer? And what was your response Kate?

Kate Robinsons 3:13
It's about who you know. It's about the professionalism and the quality of work that's delivered. It's one of those things that it's like a builder if you've got a good builder, you stick with him the whole way through. You know, I know you work. I know, we work well together. It's and I just thought what, why go through the hassle of trying to go out to tinder when you've got the best. You know, it's one of those things where I think we've grown together with you in your early it was the fact.

Kate Robinsons 3:45
But what I really liked when working with you guys, you remember when we did that values video, and I sat beside you as we did some of that editing. And then you know, and I said to you, but I want this graphic, and I want to build this and you went and found someone that did that it was about going nothing, no mountain was too high. No river was too deep. And then it's the fact that you were the collaborative, creative process to deliver something that was you know, amazing. So it was I sort of thought well, now I'm in you know, you know, different state again, coming to someone knowing I know what you do, you can organize it all we can do everything we were simpatico, you know, we're on the same wavelength. Sort of like why, why look elsewhere, when you've got the best in front of you?

Chris Schwager 4:31
As a communication specialist? What communication gaps do you find in research that, you know are best solved using media?

Kate Robinsons 4:39
I think it's an actually interesting question to look at. So over the past two years, with the emergence of remote working and learning becoming more prevalent, the use of technology to connect has increased. So we've even seen like we look at our kids going to primary school, high school students, even university students have been removed from that personal face to face learning. And I started to hear words like Zoom, pivot, home learning. And this has also occurred in many workplaces. So we've looked at annual conferences, traveling interstate or overseas, disappear and interaction and conversation that will once done face to face and are being done via the keyboard or screen. Believe it or not even this this last few months or propriate, school holidays, even pay and say school meetings have been conducted via zoom or, you know, messaging being sent out differently.

Kate Robinsons 5:29
So gap that needed to be filled was how do we disseminate information or relay messaging to the widest possible audience? In the most engaging way? Video is definitely, in my opinion, an underused channel. So how do we make it as engaging thought provoking and entertaining, the difference between a six and a 60 year old is height, basically, our internal behaviors don't change. And we'd like to be engaged and entertained, no matter what the information that's been given to us. That all said face to face is the most effective form of communication. And video provides an alternative when physically it is not possible for us to be there.

Chris Schwager 6:13
I was with a bunch of CEOs last week in a bit of a panel sort of open forum type thing and there was a lot of winging. There's a lot of winging it, how to adjust how to change what they didn't have, what was happening economically, and what was therefore happening to their business were found just in the whole video marketing space. And I suppose comparing ourselves to the UK and, and the US in particular, that Australia just is archaic, to the point, mainly just around slow adoption, you know, that they're just like, I don't know, if the China watch it what everybody else is doing, or really get evidential kind of based information to make decisions on or they just don't have like the ability to rotate and move and do things quickly. I guess at a senior level, do you find the same type of thing?

Kate Robinsons 7:05
I think one of the challenges to consider is they've got to have it as part of the strategy and the budget. So anything in those soft skills of human resources, personal development, engagement. doesn't always get the funding. So that's the first thing. I mean, you don't have to spend millions of dollars, you don't do not have to do you know, a Spielberg action to get an outcome? What they'll do is they might put the screens up around the place, but may just do PowerPoint presentations, as opposed to looking at how to, and then it's actually what you actually put on those screens? Or why you're actually doing it.

Kate Robinsons 7:42
I think I've said this before, the three questions I ask is, What do you want people to know? What do you want them to think? And what do you want them to do with that information? As I've mentioned, you know, to numerous people, we're time poor now, our lives are very complex, we're very busy. So it's like, we want to be able to get information. And a lot of these executives, I think is understanding what is the role of communications? And what is the relationship between leadership and communications, decision making, providing agency for your employees and getting them engaged to deliver what you need? Because as we've heard many a time and engaged workforce, a happy workforce is a productive workforce. But we all like as humans, as I said, human behavior doesn't change. We like to feel engaged.

Chris Schwager 8:26
Well how do you convince the decision makers, the funders, that video is going to be the best solution?

Kate Robinsons 8:32
It complements everything. So all learn differently, they take information differently. So you have to look at everybody's thinking patterns. And and the other thing is, is looking at, you know, what is the best and most effective way of getting people to retain information, and to see and hear is absolutely King, you know, sort of thing. So not just, you know, reading.

Kate Robinsons 8:57
Just you know, because people had you know, just read that email. How many people get past the first two lines to go uhh. Uhh. Whereas if they've got something I always called the wiggles formula. Yeah, if it's got color and movement, people are more likely to be engaged, you're obviously retaining because they might be something that they remember and go, Oh, let me go read that, or let me go look at something. So it's about putting that into, you know, all communication. You know, the marketing and external communication areas always have a strategy that's linked to the business strategy. And it's important that the internal communications and even the change management teams have a strategy so it actually incorporates well how do we move people and then knowing that we're all disseminate, we're working from home we're not always there, we're time poor to be able to watch a you know a video when it's convenient or watch numerous times to go Oh let me get back what did they say again? So it's about talking about how it, believe it or not, makes them look good? How does it make them deliver on their strategy, what is the value add? And if because, as from a you know, Internal Communications or internal component, that role does not or that internal comms people do not bring in revenue. We support someone that does. So it's been able to tell those business from a business perspective how doing this is going to help add value for them bringing in the money or achieving what they need to achieve.

Chris Schwager 10:28
You've got dry topics, right?

Kate Robinsons 10:30
It's one of those things. It's like all research, you know, unless it's a particular interest. Yes, you're absolutely right. It's dry.

Chris Schwager 10:38
And so I guess I don't know if you're comfortable with us talking about a recent project. But you know, it was a long video, half an hour video. I mean, it's unheard of here at Ridge Films. I mean, 30 seconds maybe but 30 minutes.

Kate Robinsons 10:53
I was thinking about that the other day, because when we first started working together, we had like a five minute video, and then we and then we were building values videos. And that had to be around the five minute mark, then we were going to see roadshows and we're doing like one minute sound bites or two minute sound bites that went into an hour long, you know, sort of presentation, and then I come to you at this and go guys, can you can you do something that's 30 minutes, like almost like a documentary, and make it interesting. So yeah, this was quite a turn of the books,

Chris Schwager 11:23
You know, duration, when my audience hopefully, you know, consistent listeners would would understand this by now. But it's it's not about duration, but about how long you can hold attention for in this this half hour. Video is actually integrated into days of training, is that right?

Kate Robinsons 11:39
It's the wider audience where it goes on to a learning and development platform within the national, it's reaches, I can't remember faces, 1,000 people. But it's for them to tap into at will. So now the other option is that if say, for example, a leader wanted to do some of their own development with a team, they could present, you know, I had them all in a room and watch it. And then of course, I added in some notes on how to use that video and the discussion that it could bring together. So yeah, it was it was something that was is on a platform for the betterment of leaders from the most junior leader to the most senior executive in the organization.

Chris Schwager 12:19
Okay, so you've got two things, I guess, arguably, against you got budget restraints. And you've got duration of 30 minutes. How do you hold attention for that long?

Kate Robinsons 12:31
Yeah, it's that engagement factor isn't it? Apart from my winning personality, Chris, you see this in documentaries all the time. So, you know, documentaries on all singing or dancing events, you know, you see it on the news, you know, it's like, how do we hold people's attention, because it was such a, what we consider a dry topic, it wasn't marketing, we weren't selling anything. We were providing information or research data that and trying to tell them how this impacts them and how it would better them as leaders. So it wasn't about sensationalizing. If I can delve into a little bit of theory, you know, goes back to what we call Aristotle's dating back to that philosopher, ethos, pathos, and logos. So what ethos does is it establishes your credibility, the pathos draws on their emotion. And the Logos is then the logic of it all. So just keep that in the back of your mind as we look at that. So what video can accomplish is by you can actually introduce the researchers. So there's a few elements to here. So first of all, introducing the researcher so I'm on screen and you've got the blurb down the bottom of who I am and what my credentials are. Of course, introducing myself, but also can provide is what imagery you use. So it's about using, like I gave you, I gave you some B roll that you know could that was backgrounded by you know my voice so that was

Chris Schwager 13:57
pretty good B roll. I got it. I just I just gonna put that out there. I don't know if we can actually talk about the client. Are you happy to name the client?

Kate Robinsons 14:06
Yeah, I can name a client it was the Australian Defence Force.

Chris Schwager 14:10
Right so we're talking guns far and planes, aircraft carriers. It's amazing, right? Like how good is that for an opening a video?

Kate Robinsons 14:18
Yeah, so that was that was provided by Defense Media. So they

Chris Schwager 14:23
No we shot it, didn't we?

Kate Robinsons 14:24
Yes, we got eyes in the sky. Um, so yeah, so we're able to get some really good good stuff there as well as some still imagery from them. So because I said to them, you know, this is for us. So you know, if you can provide me that, that just will help with a little bit of that movement. Again, it's that we will form a bit of color, a bit of movement. What also we did part of that was using public access to information on YouTube of two of the Defence Force chiefs, current Chief of Defence Force and former Chief of Defence Force and we edited you know, put the sound bytes out of there. So again, that gave us that credibility that literally, pardon the pun, bring yet big guns. But it was also giving that introduction. So you're able to pull it in. And before I just get on the camera to, you know, start the blur. Yeah, you want to have that mix of still imagery, B roll moving imagery, data, as well as yourself. But a lot of the time, and we've heard this before, you know, even when you're doing your family holiday pictures, put a person in it, if you've got a person in it, it's people connect better rather than just having, you know, a graph or a chart, there are a statistic, you know, I mean, we see it with the weather have an evening, you know, they don't just put the weather out, they have someone pointing to it and giving it that movement.

Chris Schwager 14:39
So you break in attention, you're breaking a lot of attention to try and keep it interesting, right?

Kate Robinsons 15:53
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Without it being charring. You don't want to move it so fast with some feels like there's good stuff. Yeah. But it's you know, and the beauty of living in well, past the 1970s is we've got color, it's not just black and white, you're able to, you know, bring that like I said that wiggles color, movement, we had music, we remember, we put music to the background, or some of the imagery as opposed to just imagery with somebody talking, there was that soft music in the background that sort of starts people using all their senses, it's not just I've just got to use my ears, they have to bring it all together without it being distracting and overpowering.

Chris Schwager 16:30
So you've got 80 page research paper, that you've got to try and transfer into this. Happy medium, you and your colleague presented the video, how much of that 80 Page ended up in the video,

Kate Robinsons 16:41
you probably bringing it down to only about 10% really, 15%. But that's about the scripting. So with the the paper, it was actually a research paper that was published in the Journal of Business Ethics. So of course, they give you like 10 to 12,000 words. So and a lot of that you do background and with a whole lot of theory. So it had to be about what was relevant, or going to, you know, provide the best information to be used by the audience. So again, it's what do you want people to know? What do you want them to think? And what do you want them to do with the information? So by answering those three questions, so it was like going, I went, Okay, so what is the problem we're trying to solve? What is the you know, some of the things to consider in the findings? And then what was the outcomes of those findings? And then, what what do we want you to think about at the end, and if you remember, we had those three propositions at the end, so they could go away and discuss.

Kate Robinsons 17:36
Because when we look at it, we want people to listen, we want them to say, and that will give them their, for example, say 50% of retention. But once they start talking about it, writing about it, doing it that then puts them into that top end of where you know that 90 to 100% of guys, we've now got it. So the video highlights all those sensors. Now, it could engage them to actually go then and read the paper and go, Ah, I want to read more of what that person said, you know, because we only gave them a handful of quotes about three quotes in there. But all right, well, you know, some go This is rubbish. But we'll we'll go read the paper and go oh, yeah, that is actual facts. Factual that did come out there was evidence. So it's about what you want people to do with that video, what the intent of it is, to the outcome that you want.

Chris Schwager 18:25
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Brendan, I'm gonna get you to intercept here, because I'm sure you've got questions.

Brendan Southall 19:06
Sure. Yeah. So Kate, I suppose I just want to delve a little bit deeper into the story side of things. So how have you been able to use story? Or have you been able to use story to kind of relay some of your research so it's a little bit more palatable?

Kate Robinsons 19:21
Good question. Any form of communication, you have to be telling a story. I mean, my professors are telling me this all the time with my thesis writing male, the thesis is 80,000 words. So that's eight chapters. And they're going hey, you know, it's got to tell a story. It has to tell a story. So it's like any video or like any movie, you got to have an introduction, you've got to, you know, set the scene, you've then got to build the drama, there's got to be a crisis and then you've got to find a solution. So, research data is no real difference because research is about solving a problem solving a crisis, you know about what is the issue?

Kate Robinsons 20:00
So using video was really interesting because as I said, you know, With that, as you know, I set the scene with the two, former Chief of Defence Force and former Chief of Defence Force coming out there bang and saying, This is what we want. And then I proposed the problem going well, you sort of want that. That's great. However, there are challenges. So we used all that B roll to bring that into play. And then I introduced what my research, I had a research question. So it was, the video was able to bring, I think, the first three chapters of my thesis into about five minutes, you know, so just don't get me wrong, a thesis has a value, but it's just the fact that you're not going to get someone to sit down unless they really want to, and read an 80,000 word thesis, but you know, to bring in that, sorry, the actual video was on my first study.

Kate Robinsons 20:58
So it was essentially we bought in about five chapters into half an hour. So being able to use the video, the imagery, because as I say, a pitch paints 1000 words, well imagine what a video does. 10,000 words, you know, which it did? It actually did. So I think storytelling is very important, because it also engages the, the audience, because they want to know, what are you trying to tell me? Where is there an ending to this? Is there a climax? Is there an ending? So yeah, storytelling was very important. And I know, we had lots of these conversations, you know, in the pre production discussion about what was I trying to achieve? What did we what was the outcome that we were doing to do? So therefore, how did the flow of the video go to tell the story of my research?

Brendan Southall 21:48
I elaborate a little bit more on, you know, what we mentioned right at the start around that gold standard? Like, what was the expectation for for video content? Or was there any expectation?

Kate Robinsons 21:57
Yeah, it's quite interesting, because, as you know, with arts and the creative, it's very subjective. So what one person holds as gold standard, or platinum standard? White Mary, mention mentioned the Berejiklian gold standard. But anyway, that's another story. So you know, what put someone else's a gold standard may not be the same for somebody else. And it's also what is known. So I've gone into organizations as an internal communications professional and what they saw as as a high standard, I went, Well, maybe my standards are too high. However, you know, I was able to introduce new strategies, and they were like, Oh, my goodness, and even that, some of the CEO roadshows, you know, you guys help produce with me with words, we're like, this is schmick, this is just like, it was nothing I'd seen before.

Kate Robinsons 22:47
So it's, you know, I think it's about looking at what their expectations are drawing on what I know, as a communication ride, from my experience, I've learned as a communication professional saying, Well, this is really what is would work better, or this is how you actually engage an audience all this, you know, I think we looked at, you know, how you use graphics and imagery, you know, versus what is what you want to do. When I say to you, it's universal, you versus it's not about you, it's about the audience, you know, so understanding that, you know, I drew on ridge films, you know, years of experience and knowledge, and also their marketing, video background and sort of going, I know, not marketing, but there are some things that actually work on film that I wouldn't have known about. And that's sort of what we sort of work together cohesively, and collaboratively.

Kate Robinsons 23:43
And I've said this a lot, your company or the tent, your team, do something that is seems to be lost art and that's active listening. So there's the you know, that out of Listen, what is best, but also been able to have those constructive conversations where we may not agree, but how do we get to? Well, let's it's not compromise, it's constructive about going well, what is the outcome and keep coming back to what is the outcome you want? And then what is the path to get there?

Chris Schwager 24:13
What'd she say Brendan?

Brendan Southall 24:15
She said, some lovely words, I'm gonna

Kate Robinsons 24:20
good thing when making a video.

Chris Schwager 24:25
I just, I'll just jump in here and say, you know, a lot of convincing converting for us is about evidence about showing them examples. And thankfully, we have the 20 years now, of of history and examples and proof of concepts and is the stuff we can virtually show somebody what they're going to get. And so this is just your thing, you know, risking it with your thing. This is it, you know, 90 seconds, but was it how it's gonna shape up? And so there's a lot of confidence built in that process, because they're like, Oh, well, that's an easy decision decisions made. It's not like we're trying to storyboard some idea or whatever. It's like, yeah, it's quick. It's easy. There it is. You have to look at it, and it'll be your thing instead of their thing.

Chris Schwager 25:04
So I guessing you're pitching to like someone like the defense force, which is a huge client. How does? How do you do that? Is it just your words? Or hey, I'm, I've got the credibility. So this is going to be good. Or like, I guess what I'm asking is how does that How do you marry outcome and expectation versus you know, their budget? And then what's on their mind?

Kate Robinsons 25:28
It's an interesting question because it is a, a different sort of client, again, rules based, they have their own way of doing things. And at the end of the day, you've got to deliver what the client wants. Yes, there's a way that you can influence and shape what that may look like. But you've still got to respect that it's there, it's going to be best to at the end. So yes, initially, the brief was quite different to what we ended up with. So it was about going, alright, well, this is what I can deliver. This is what I have done, this is the capability. And then they said, Well, no, we actually just want this, which was a piece of what the bigger project was, however, the outcome that they got was what they wanted.

Kate Robinsons 26:21
So I think it's again, it's that conversation, it's about understanding what your client wants, there's also I had references to, to illustrate the, you know, the work I have done before, to discuss what I had done. But at the end of the day, they actually came to me, I didn't seek them out, they came to me and said, We would like you to do this. So there was an element of creative license. But then, you know, it was like, Oh, well, if we want that, then we don't have that sort of funding, which is fair enough, a government department, but it's about, you know, having that conversation and getting the best outcome. But you know, I mean, they were happy with the result. In the end, it was very different to what they had done before.

Kate Robinsons 27:07
You know, when I say different the way that it was presented, you know, that again, I think we provided a solid story, it just wasn't looking like a lecture, it was a story. And I think now that's evidenced, and hopefully will lead to more more work either with defense or with other organizations. But you're right, you know, it's some of it's built on your own credibility from as I said, that ethos, pathos, and logos about who you are, what you've done, they understood I had over 25 years or something of experience, 30 years of experience, the fact that I've done so many videos, but also then looking at the research. So it is about your right managing expectations. But at the end of the day, it's your client determines what they actually want, but it's about how do you shape and influence what their ultimate outcome is,

Chris Schwager 27:58
you're our best Kate, lots of love coming to you from the ridge team here. And look, it was it's been an absolute pleasure working with you on the defense force project was great to revitalize our relationship again once again. And I look forward to doing more with you in the future because it's just such an easy relationship when you've got that those years of doing things but with each other you've done a great job producing these videos and consulting in that way made it's made our operation easier again, I guess in this particular example with with not doing a lot around the original scripting just helping you script edit and refine was was just a joy. Something fresh for us as well as I guess fresh Are you filming interstate with our crew up there? So look, I would like to just wrap this up. Thank you so much for having being on our show.

Kate Robinsons 28:51
Thank you so much. It's good to have the team back together.

Chris Schwager 28:56
Well, that's all for this episode of the video made simple podcast modern technology has already made it easy for us to consume content through videos. Using videos for educational purposes as complex as research papers may just be the next huge step to simplifying learning outcomes for you. Thanks for tuning in and see you next week.



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