Radon. You might vaguely remember it from the Periodic Table back at school…but did you know that this naturally occuring gas actually presents a serious health risk and, excluding smoking, is the biggest cause of lung cancer in the UK?

A few months back, we made a series of videos with the fantastic guys at propertECO who are experts in Radon testing and remediation, and doing their best to educate people about the risks of radon. A young company, they’ve already tasted success, being awarded the ‘Startup of the Year’ award in 2012 (see picture above!) We were delighted to be able to catch up with Rebecca Kench recently…she’s Commercial Director at propertECO, and she told us more about their business, radon, and their Wyzowl experience.

WYZOWL: Could you tell us a little bit about propertECO and your story so far?
RK: propertECO is just finishing its second year in business, having been set up in 2011 to specialise in offering a range of services aimed at improving the sustainability of buildings. We believe that a building cannot be “sustainable” unless it is healthy to occupy, and our main area of work is all about ensuring that the indoor air quality of a building is not detrimental to the occupants. We work with all sorts of clients, from private homeowners to multinational High Street names and have quickly built a reputation for being leaders in our field. We’ve won several awards, including the Trades Startup of the Year at the Startups Awards 2012 and are looking forward to bigger and better things in 2013!

W: Before we worked on the video, we didn’t know much about Radon, which seems crazy given the dangers it poses and how widespread it is. Is raising awareness one of the major challenges you face?

RK: Raising awareness of radon is our biggest challenge and something that we’ve been comitted to doing over the last two years. After smoking, it’s the leading cause of lung cancer and kills over 2000 people in the UK every year yet a huge amount of the population aren’t even aware of it, never mind have tested their homes for it.

W: Was there a particular reason you decided you needed a video, and in such a unique animated style?
Once people are aware, they will often take action so the key to reducing radon-related deaths is getting the awareness levels up, and also providing the information in an easy to understand format. Too much ‘science-speak’ and people switch off, so we try to steer clear of getting too technical and use plain language to explain the issue. We give seminars on the subject to lots of groups of professionals such as surveyors, architects, health & safety officers etc, but we wanted a way of communicating the issue with the wider general public, and decided that a series of short videos would be the best way of achieving this. As it’s an invisible gas we always have trouble thinking how to depict radon for magazine articles and websites and we knew whatever we did had to be attention-grabbing and not a just a boring ‘talk to camera’ description, so we decided that animation was the way forward.

W: What sort of impact has the video had? Do you feel people are better able to understand what propertECO is all about?
RK: It’s early days yet, but the videos have been a big hit amongst our existing clients and colleagues. We showcased them at an international radon conference where representatives from several European Government departments downloaded copies to take home as an example of how to improve communication of the issue. We’re currently working on optimising our website and having new media to include is a big plus. The videos have already proved a talking point with new customers, and we hope that they continue to help us to spread the message and bring in new business.

W: Did anything surprise you about the Wyzowl process? How was your experience working with us?
RK: If only working with all suppliers was as easy as working with Wyzowl! I was really impressed with how quickly they grasped the concept and what we were trying to achieve, and the whole process was clearly explained from the start. The project passed smoothly between their scriptwriters, designers and animators and everything was completed on time and within the agreed budget.

W: This is a bit tricky but, in 50 words or less, could you explain the importance of what you guys are doing at propertECO?
RK: We’re doing our bit to help make the world, or at least our little corner of it, a healthier place. If more people knew about radon, more testing would be carried out and buildings with high levels could be identified & dealt with to reduce the risk to occupants.

W: Would you recommend a Wyzowl video to other companies?
RK: Absolutely, in fact I already have!