5 things I learned from taking video of my dog

Some important lessons in communications from a canine


I know that photos and videos are the most effective way to get peoples’ attention (it’s what I do for a living after all). So why am I surprised when a picture or video of my dog Roxy gets more attention than any other thing I post online?

I thought about it some more and came up with five things we can all learn from my experience to improve our communications.

1. Be yourself: Roxy is who she is. There’s no pretense. If she’s enthusiastic about a stick, ball or Frisbee (sometimes all three), you know it. That comes across in video of her. When people on camera are relaxed and talking naturally, they appear more genuine and people connect with them more readily. Just be yourself.

2. Be willing to do it again (and again): As you can imagine, you have to take what you can get when you’re taking video of a dog. She’s a good dog, but she doesn’t take direction well. It could be any number of things that ruin a shot — bad lighting, I wasn’t ready when that perfect moment occurred or it just wasn’t the right stick. 

One of the advantages of doing video is that you get to do retakes. Did you stumble over a word? Do you want me to rephrase the question? Did you lose your train of thought? No problem — take a minute to collect your thoughts and let me ask you that question again. How many times do you get to do that in real life? You have to be willing to do things over a few times to make sure you get it just right.

Roxy Conroy, vice president of security and client relations at Heartwood Media,
with her #StickOfTheDay.

3. Find something unique that makes you stand out: Roxy loves sticks — it has to be genetic. It seemed that I was sharing a picture or video of her with a stick in her mouth just about every day. I was looking for something fun to tie these pictures together when I came up with the hashtag #StickOfTheDay. I know, it’s silly. But people love it.

When I run into people I haven’t seen in a while one of the first things they say is, “I love stick of the day!” It isn’t “How are you?” or “I love your dog”. I wouldn’t quite call it branding, but it definitely works. Think about what works for you. What makes you or your company stand out? Do you have a unique culture? Embrace it and it will help you stand out from the competition.

4. Have fun: If you’ve ever been around a dog, you know that they love life. Just about everything is an opportunity to play and they go at most tasks with an enviable enthusiasm. I don’t ever get the feeling that Roxy thinks she has to do something — it’s more like she gets to do something! Approach your communication with that enthusiasm. Have fun with it. Make it a challenge for you and your team and that energy will come through in the final product.

5. Be consistent: There are days when I don’t post a #StickOfTheDay. And sometimes I hear “Hey, where’s stick of the day?” If you can engage people so that you’ve created something they look forward to, you’re in a  pretty special place. If you do all of these things, it’s not difficult to be consistent. You’re being yourself, sharing what makes you unique and having fun doing it. 

Chris Conroy is creative director of Heartwood Media in Manchester.

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