The Case for a Unique Approach to Video Production in Government

All organizations must regularly communicate with their stakeholders to build relationships, but government agencies face unique challenges.

For starters, few institutions face the kind of audience skepticism government organizations do. 

According to a YouGov survey, most federal government agencies are viewed primarily with neutrality or outright wariness so establishing credibility, accountability, transparency, and trust can be an uphill battle.

But video production can be an effective solution.

A University of Michigan study compared trust levels in a social dilemma game in four communication situations: face-to-face, video, audio, and text chat. In this experiment, video was indistinguishable from face-to-face communication in terms of building trust.

Whether you’re a federal, state, or local government agency looking to produce video, you’re on the right track. But you need to consider specific nuances that make your approach slightly different from any other organization.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. Why Video Production is Important
  2. The Biggest Differences in Government Video Production
  3. Top Tips for Creating Trust-building Government Videos

Why is Video Production Important?

Video is one of the most wide-ranging, trust-building tools available in modern communication – people of all ages consume video. Government agencies especially benefit from this because it helps: 

1. Communicate Transparently with Citizens

Citizens often don’t clearly understand the work that different government bodies do. Whether it’s complex policy changes (like this video by the Environmental Protection Agency explaining how it works) or all-important public safety announcements, video can help break these concepts down in an accessible way for everyone – and ensure people retain this information.

2. Reassure Citizens

In times of crisis or emergencies, government officials and spokespeople can keep citizens informed with timely and accurate updates.  

For example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has often relied on social media to support the management of hurricane crises. In 2019, they released storm surge videos to warn citizens before impending weather events. 

3. Encourage Engagement

People are 52% more likely to share video content than other types of content like social posts, product pages, and blog posts. Consistent video communication can increase public engagement and participation in government initiatives and policies. This way, governments get more feedback from citizens, allowing them to be more responsive to evolving needs.

The Biggest Differences in Government Video Production

1. Subject Matter Expertise

Government video producers need to deeply understand the government’s priorities, goals, and values to create videos that resonate with the target audience. 

2. Regulations and Guidelines

Specific legal and ethical standards, including copyright laws, privacy regulations, and accessibility guidelines, govern federal videos (including informational, training, and awareness videos). Production planning needs to be highly detailed so as to ensure that all these laws and guidelines are met.

3. Audience

Unlike branding and marketing videos, government video has to reach a broad, diverse audience: the public. The scope for specific targeting is low. For a video to reach everyone, it must use clear, accessible language and potentially multi-language support. 

4. Security Protocols

Government agencies need to implement physical and digital security measures to protect against theft, vandalism, and cyber attacks, especially because the content is often sensitive. This makes the filming and distribution process more complicated than other types of video production.

5. Ethical Considerations

Government employees are expected to conduct themselves in a professional, courteous, and honest manner in all public communications about or related to their government

It is crucial that production teams working on government video have protocols in place to protect the delicate image of the officials they are featuring.

Want to know how government agencies can reach a wider audience? Read our blog here. 

4 Tips for Creating a Trust-Building Government Video

1. Keep it Simple and Concise

Government videos should be optimized for easy consumption and retention, which means they should be no longer than necessary to deliver the message. Remember that government videos serve a broad audience, including those who may not speak English as their first language. Use clear, straightforward language that is easy for everyone to understand. For public-facing videos avoid jargon and complex terminology whenever possible. 

In this PSA we made for the National Assessment Governing Board, the message is singular and simple: encourage children to read. 

NAGB Importance of Reading Video Series

2. Promote Transparency

Government videos should avoid any perception of hiding facts or skewing data. When communicating, avoid saccharine, overly-optimistic messaging. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needed to explain to their employees why a proposed legislative change was necessary. The video we shot for them manages to be persuasive while also maintaining transparency.

FAA Revitalizing General Aviation

3. Maintain High Production Value

The public expects an experience that equals the quality of the businesses and brands they regularly encounter online. Crisp visuals, clear audio, and subtle motion graphics are not just nice-to-haves: they are the bare minimum. 

We’ve been working with the Air Force Civil Engineering Center (AFCEC) to support their ongoing Firefighter job task training and certification programs for over 20 years. Notice the production value and our use of music to build tension in the video below:

AF Firefighter Training Videos

4. Showcase Diversity

When people see individuals who look like them or share similar experiences in messaging, they are more likely to trust the information and consider it credible. Even without legal requirements, there is a strong ethical case for inclusive, multilingual public sector communications.

For example, the 402nd Software Engineering Group at Robins AFB is responsible for programming and testing flight systems and defending those systems from cyberattacks. This unit needs to hire hundreds of software engineers annually, and in this recruitment video, you can see a diverse, inclusive cast of real 402 SWEG engineers.  The video enjoyed record engagement on Facebook.

Robins Air Force Base 402 Software Engineering Group Recruiting Video

What Does a Video Production Agency Do?

A video production agency creates and tailors video content to meet the specific needs of diverse clients such as businesses, individuals, or government bodies. Tasks include generating and refining video concepts, and scriptwriting, and they take care of everything from pre-production planning to post-production services.

Here at Rock Creek Productions, we offer all this and more! 

Our Government Video Production Services

Rock Creek Productions has held a Government Services Administration contract providing video production services for more than 20 years. In our portfolio of government video work, you’ll find a diverse range of projects that showcase our commitment to clarity, accessibility, and impactful storytelling.

Whether it’s a public service announcement, a training module, or a campaign video, we understand the unique considerations and high stakes of government communication. We’ve helped countless departments and agencies effectively connect with their diverse audiences, foster transparency, and build trust. Our team is experienced in navigating the intricacies of the public sector, and we’re ready to apply that expertise to your project.

If you’re ready to take your communication efforts to the next level and engage with your constituents in a meaningful, effective way, we’d love to be your partner on that journey. Our video production headquarters are in the Washington DC area, but we go where the work takes us.

Reach out to us today!

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