GHS Centennial Stories – Documentary Storytelling

Late last year, I was extremely excited to begin working with GHS to tell six amazing stories for their Centennial Celebration. I am extremely honored that they chosen to team up and commit to finding rich stories and tell them using a documentary, journalistic approach. As a part of this project, we will be working together to use social outlets to share these stories.

The first story is called “Symphony” and surrounds the life saving events of an attorney from Seneca, SC. Mr. Johnny Fields had a heart attack late one night and this story weaves together all the perspectives from each person involved in saving his life. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch this story and read the blog posts that I wrote that details the creative side of pulling this story together .

Documentary storytelling is my passion and I think this story documents Mr. Johnny Fields’ experience. He traveled over 60 plus miles by land and air to receive life saving care in 63 minutes…the time from the moment he called 911 until the cardiologist performed the procedure to save his life at GHS.

Stories connect people…Nielsen Digital Consumer Report

Stories are amazing and I am always amazed how stories can connect people. I am getting ready to launch a project this week with Greenville Hospital System, and I have been amazed how the first part of this project has truly defined the meaning of stories.

The first story was one of connection…connecting people, connecting their thoughts, connecting their perspectives, and connecting missions. As Greenville Hospital System grows and spreads it’s footprint across the Upstate of South Carolina, relationships and trust become key. No better way to connect these ideas, missions, and perspectives than by finding a common language and stories fill that void.

Nielsen Research just released the 2011 3rd/4th Quarter Digital Consumer Report illustrating the point that we are growing more and more as a connected culture. Media has become our connection point and technology has provided that link between brands and consumers…and consumers as a whole. Let’s look at some of the recent stats from the US by  Neilsen:

274 million have Internet access
169 million visitors to social networks/blogs
165 million people watch video on a computer

117 million mobile Internet users
44% of mobile Internet users have a smart phone

70% of time spent using a tablet is at home

76 million tv homes are HD capable
35 million tv home have 4 or more tv sets

We are connected, but does that mean we are connected? Just because we have a device and we have internet access? Yes, we are online…but content brings us together. Specifically stories connect us…we seek out common threads, rich information that touches us in a way to read, watch, connect, and even purchase. We want something more than typing in a URL, downloading an “APP”, turning to a televisions show, or engaging in online conversation.

Our stories connect us and we are consistently seeking stories that take us to new places and times. We are seeing more story development during large events like the Super Bowl. Brands are recognizing that consumers want a story to follow. Audi’s Twilight commercial during the SuperBowl allowed people to continue following the Twilight storyline and connecting in conversation over Twitter using the #SoLongVampires hashtag.  Millions of people connected in conversation weeks after the SuperBowl…all via a story of vampires. Cool.

Stories connect us…we just have to find the right story to tell.


Audience is our friend…love your audience

I was having breakfast with a client and friend…Sally Foister. We were chatting about marketing, social media, digital media, etc. The one thing that we kept on coming back to was the idea of knowing your audience.

She has one of the most interesting jobs, in my humble opinion, as she is the Director of Marketing for Greenville Hospital System here in Greenville, SC. Imagine dealing with all the audiences and marketing efforts for the largest Non-Profit Health System in South Carolina. Audience is key.

As we were talking…I just thought more and more about the idea of audience. It is so key in today’s balancing act of digital media, traditional media, and even public/media relations efforts. We can get so hung up on our message, our brand, our services…but sometimes we have to sit back and think about those who are receiving this message. What about those who should be receiving the message and are being marginalized by virtue of our marketing efforts.

Sometimes it it is good to pull back and really think through the people we are trying to touch, have a conversation with, build community around, or just meet. Marketing is more than just delivering a message…it is also about engaging conversation. Before we can engage conversation, we must truly know who we are chatting with…who is on the other side of the coin.

When we use social outlets to post content, do you think through who you are posting the update to…who do you want to read this message? When you are creating a video…do you think through the audience? Can you visualize the audience and see the message, hear the message, share the message through their point-of-view.

Sometimes it takes just a few minutes to do a simple audience analysis, to sit back and visualize who you want share your message with. Then, imagine life through their eyes, ears, daily routines, and heart.

When we call our parents, talk to our children, share dinner with our significant other/love one…we talk and communicate with love and compassion. We do so because we really know our audience. We have taken the time to learn how they think, how they listen, how they see the world. We listen to their responses and try to respond with respect and more thought provoking conversation. Imagine if we used this same method with our marketing efforts.

Audience is key…and marketing is still communication.

***Sally is also writing a blog, just in-case you want to read…CLICK HERE