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The Human Spirit: Stronger Than Any Storm

Often life passes quickly. One day becomes another and we notice very little about individual moments. Many times when something happens we take pause. We hear about a school shooting, a plane crash or a beloved actor passing. We have little to do but watch through a lens, like it’s a production being played out on the big stage, and the tragedy unfolds before us. Then it’s over. The curtain falls and we go back to our everyday lives.

Then all of a sudden one day YOU’RE on the stage. It’s in these moments that we find out who we really are. Many of experienced this recently, with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I wanted to share my personal story.

I always find that in moments of chaos time slows down just enough for me to be able to contemplate things in a way I don’t normally have the time for. Sounds strange, but it’s true. What I learned and what I hope you take away from my story is that through tragedy there is true bonding, a need to feel connected; Even if only for a moment.

Most of the country watched, as a very angry and powerful Irma swirled around in the Atlantic. The hurricane dominated all conversations whether you were at the grocery store, gym or just getting gas. Strangers felt the need to say something about it to me. I didn’t mind, made me feel like it was us verses Irma.

Mad Bear CEO, Glenn Zimmerman, helping his neighbors prep for Irma

Once the storm’s path became ominous for all of Florida, like everyone else we knew, we stocked up and took refuge in our Tampa house. Neighbors all out and about helping each other put up crazy hurricane shutters that made it look like we were preparing for the purge. We had offers for help from people we hardly knew. Irma brought out the best in many of us.

It Takes a Village! Communities coming together to help keep one another safe

We decided to ride out the storm. But, overnight everything changed. At 5’oclock in the morning we were awakened to our doorbell. It was our neighbor with whom we have never spoken. He told us they were evacuating with their two young children and that we were welcome to go with them. They have an RV. You see, Irma moved her path directly over Tampa. So, thanks to this neighbor with whom we now have a forever bond in the wee hours of September 9th, my husband, my two kids and our French Bulldog (Chewbacca) piled into our car with only our essentials and decided to evacuate. It’s crazy to how you are able to spring into action when push comes to shove. My husband and I were both overcome with gratitude to the neighbor we barely knew. It was like he became family in a split second; Funny how a hurricane can do that.

Time to go! September 9th, 2017 Escaping Hurricane Irma

Unsure of where exactly we were headed, because quite frankly Irma wasn’t sure where she was headed. We thought Jacksonville was far enough away and it’s where my Mom and Dad live. Perfect. The drive was smooth. We even got gas and donuts! So far, Hannons:1 Irma: None. As we arrived in Jacksonville I felt my anxiety lift away. My children would be safe. I am a good, smart parent. I actually felt a bit smug. We continued to keep an eye on Irma and urgently invited friends to leave Tampa. No one accepted the offer. Thank God.

As I tucked the kids into bed on Sunday night, September 10th, I reassured them that everything was ok. Jacksonville was safe and we are praying for everyone in Tampa. No one knew what the morning would bring.

Water 2 feet deep and rising fast. September 11th, 2017

What ensued in the hours of the next morning is nothing short of a nightmare; At least for me and my family. What was already a night of uneasy sleep because we could hear howling wind and pounding rain. All I could think was, “everyone said Jacksonville would be ok, but this doesn’t sound good.” It wasn’t good. The power went out overnight. At 6’clock in the morning my Dad and I started making rounds in the house. They live near the St. John’s River. But, on this particular morning, they lived IN the St. John’s River. It took our eyes moments to adjust to what we were seeing. Water was gushing into the house from the back. It’s true what they say everything does start to move in slow motion. My son was awake and started to ask way too many questions. He was scared. It was becoming clear that if we didn’t leave soon we would be trapped and we might become a lead story somewhere. The water was rising quickly in the front and there was no way to get our cars out of the garage. The brain goes into survival mode. Throw what you need in one bag. Walk through this flood water and get OUT. We could see neighbors slowly peering out and their expressions of disbelief mimicking ours.

My 6-year-old daughter looking on in disbelief at her Grandparent’s flooded neighborhood

With the help of neighbors and friends, we made it through the flood waters to safety. Everyone is alive and my kids indeed will have a story to tell. But I will say through all the feelings, the fear of harm coming to someone I love, the sadness of my immigrant parent’s losing their dream home, the guilt that I lead my family into harm’s way, the overriding feeling was shock in people’s willingness to help us. There is something about tragedy, hardship and chaos that truly bonds people. People are good. They want to connect. They want to help. It makes them feel good. It brings me a lot of hope and sheds a lot of light on some of the darkest moments. The light continues to shine as I receive updates on all the help my parents are receiving as they try to build their life again. There you have it. Tragedy, not even Irma, can dampen the human spirit.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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Storytelling: An Age-Old Love Affair

Ever wonder if video is part of our genetic code? It resonates so well as a communication tool. OK, so it may not be genetic, but it is 100% part of the human evolutionary story.

Since the beginning of time we have used visuals as a storytelling tool. The Egyptians’ entire language of hieroglyphics was based solely on visuals and then there were cave drawings (where do you think the Mad Bear Cave reference came from). We even use emoticons to express ourselves today. The truth is we respond strongly to visuals because the human brain has evolved that way. As lyrical as the written word can be, nothing helps tell a story better than impactful visuals.

We all simply love a good story. Does this come from thousands of years of tales being told by the village elders? Aristotle knew the deal. He outlined 7 Golden Rules of Storytelling. Stick to the basics and you can’t really go wrong. Samsung got the memo and executed it beautifully in one of their latest VR ads.


So the equation is arguably simple. Couple visuals with a great story, and it’s like candy for our brains. You’re grabbing a viewer on multiple levels: visually, intellectually and emotionally. That’s what video does and our brains crave that kind sweet engagement.

Whether it’s sharing a mission or inspiring a commitment to performance, storytelling is a powerful tool that can mean the difference between extraordinary status and being just another brand. Business communication doesn’t just have to be bullet points, simple statements, or rhetorical rants. A dose of the human element, emotions, and branded thinking can result in a memorable message. Check out what we mean and click on the video our Team just completed for a financial consulting firm. The video is not just an advertisement, it is a story of who they are and why you should care.


Just like the example above, when you use video to tell a story, you are not “talking at” the viewer, you are taking the viewer on a journey. You are generating an emotional response. When you tell a story, you shift the viewer from being “marketed to” to being entertained while simultaneously being subtly educated about a brand. So if you can saddle the power of video on the horse of a great story, you’re on the trail to developing a great bond between the viewer and your brand.

Happy storytelling!

 

What’s your story? We want to help you tell it.  Reply below and ask us how.
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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

A Feeling I Get

Not too long ago I pulled off the impossible. A surprise party. Months and months of covert planning, secret phone calls and shady behavior all came together for one purpose: A Reaction. It was priceless. Watching raw emotion and excitement unravel as a result of something you had a hand in, is in a word: AWESOME. I’ll remember that moment always.

 

I get the same feeling when I sit in an audience and watch a room full of people react to a video our Team produced. My heart skips a beat. I love nothing more than hearing people laugh at all the right places, take pause when it counts and rise to their feet, and clap at the end. It’s like watching someone unwrap a present that you know they will love, and then watching them freak out when they see it for the first time. We recently produced a series of videos for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s annual “Women of Distinction” event. To sit amongst hundreds of people – including the women and their families- and watch them react, was a feeling I won’t forget.

We are all hardwired to remember events that are more emotionally charged. Good marketers know how to leverage this fact. You need to help people feel an emotional connection towards your brand, and there’s no medium more emotional than video. It lets you convey so much more than words. Facial expressions show people your excitement, tone of voice tells a compelling story, and sometimes music alone can get people fired up about your product. Like this one we produced for BMW of Freehold.

Look for different ways to leverage this emotional opportunity. If your support team is interacting with customers via email, phone, and support ticketing, use a video to introduce those team members in a new way. You can even create an emotional connection to your product. If you use case studies as part of your marketing mix, try a video case study. Here’s an example from Wilson HCG.

Emotional connections are important because they help people remember you. The goal is to make people feel inspired, delighted, or joyful when they see your content. In remembering you positively, they’re more likely to buy from you, come back as a repeat customer, and even recommend you to someone else. An emotional connection will help you stay memorable and drive more sales your way.


About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.