Digital Impact Recap: Sprint’s Kathleen Dunleavy on leveraging video

April 6, 2012

Video is a powerful tool for organizations to expand their stories and engage audiences, Kathleen Dunleavy (@katedunl), manager, corporate communications at Sprint, told the audience Tuesday at The PRSA 2012 Digital Impact Conference at the Sentry Center in New York.

Online media is increasingly interactive and viewer-centric, and customers demand more engagement from brands from social media and video. Calls to action are more important than ever.

But your video won’t accomplish anything if it’s just sitting unwatched on YouTube. While content is paramount, positioning and promotion are essential for a successful video.

“You want to build in a publicity campaign when you’re thinking of … the goals and the production of the video,” Dunleavy said. Just like books or authors, videos need some strategic positioning to get noticed. Before you even start shooting, consider what you want the video to accomplish and whether it will be stand-alone component or serve a larger campaign.

Bubble mania

Dunleavy’s Sprint team created “Bubble Mania” to highlight the HTC EVO’s 3D capabilities. It portrays a “flash mob” of bubbles that seem to be floating off the screen.

She contrasted “Bubble Mania” to the product’s advertising campaign, explaining that her team took a “more newsworthy and less branded” approach. Instead of talking about the smartphone’s capabilities, the video is “showing the technology in an artful, creative way.”

After production, Dunleavy went into what she called “distribution mode,” launching an Internet media tour and leveraging traditional PR channels.

“Really engage with your viewers right at the beginning, because that’s when you see the biggest spike [in views] usually,” Dunleavy said.

Use this initial opportunity to expand your story and capitalize on what makes your message unique. For instance, Dunleavy’s team developed profiles on bubble artists (or “bubblers”) from around the country, which generated local media attention and pick up on the Internet.

Finally, while measurement is important, a successful video is about more than the number of views or retweets.

“The measurements of success that we have were a little different than we originally thought, because this is still new territory for us,” Dunleavy said. Engagement, excitement and enthusiasm don’t show up in YouTube analytics.

Kyra Auffermann is the digital content editor for Tactics. She oversees PRSA’s daily Issues & Trends e-newsletter. She is a Boston College graduate.
Email: kyra.auffermann at


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