Strategy

We’re big on strategy.

In fact, we’re experts in film-based campaign strategy. Active Voice’s years of experience working at the intersection of film and social change has taught us that a campaign’s success relies on an understanding of film as part of a broader Ecosystem of Change. Our strategic approach is one that focuses on 1) the strengths of a particular film, 2) the social movement it addresses, and 3) the role that film can play in advancing that movement. Our strategic services include the following:

Landscape Research. Before we embark on any project, we conduct research to understand the Ecosystem of Change surrounding a particular issue or movement. Who is already working on the issue? What are the sectors that have a stake in the movement and are critical in advancing a social change goal? We also consider public opinion polling, and how a film can engage people beyond the choir, by reaching them on a values-based — as opposed to fact-based — storytelling approach.

Focus Groups. Sometimes, especially if a film is tackling a particularly complex or challenging issue, we’ll convene focus groups. Our team of strategic communications experts and researchers is trained in designing and conducting focus groups, and we know how to leverage our expertise to identify a story’s power and potential to engage and move people. This often informs the creation of framing, discussion materials, and even shorter, targeted video modules.

Braintrusts. Our experience has shown that engaging stakeholders and organizations in a film’s campaign strategy significantly contributes to the effectiveness and longevity of film activities. We have formalized a process — what we call a braintrust — that brings together a hand-picked group of stakeholders to watch a film, suggest ideas about how it can be useful to the field, and weigh in on our campaign ideas.

Typically taking place before a film is complete, braintrusts provide an opportunity to give stakeholders early access to a film-in-progress, while allowing us to determine realistic and measurable objectives for a film campaign, as well as target audiences, activities, and calls-to-action. In fact, braintrusts benefit all parties involved:

  • Mediamakers gain access to important allies to support their film, and to specific and sophisticated thinking around their film’s issue area, including research and public opinion polls.
  • Grassroots organizations are introduced to new communication strategies and receive cutting-edge resources they can use to promote their work.
  • Policy shapers and advocates experience the power of using engaging, often complex narratives — rather than relying on white papers, policy briefs, or more polarizing “hit-them-over-the-head” messages — to reach new constituencies.
  • Researchers and analysts link their data — often dry when presented out of context — to real people’s experiences, making their policy recommendations more compelling.
  • Philanthropists offer grantees new, exciting, vetted resources that will increase their capacity to work strategically with media for sustained impact.
Read case studies of our Strategy projects.