It is no secret that internal communications are key to running a successful business. Until now your main tools have included everything and anything from posters on walls to newsletters, group emails, an intranet, team briefings, and employee conferences.
With all these channels of information, content is king and engaging an often indifferent audience is a main hurdle. But your audience at work is just that: an audience.
This is why 93 per cent of internal communication professionals, according to research by Melcrum, now believe that integrating video into their internal communication campaigns is no longer desirable, it is essential.
If content is king, then video is king of content. And when you need an authentic voice to talk to your colleagues then it helps to be seen, to be believed. So let’s go through some tips on the effective use of video in internal communications.
Video production partners
Video production companies can be excellent business partners. They bring experience and expertise to the video-making process. And they also bring experience and good practice from other businesses which just might be useful to convey your key messages to your people. However, they can be expensive, so it’s always worth investing in a full creative tender process to find the right partner and the right budget for you.
Do it yourself
In this day and age smartphones produce good enough quality video for simple video communications. Why not start with regular, short messages from key communicators, the CEO, the head of safety, department heads, lead HR and more? Keep your teams updated on new developments and changes within your company; a short user-generated video is the perfect solution. And once you start you’ll want to do more. There are plenty of free and low-cost editing packages you can get online so you can add simple captions, effects, music and voiceovers to build more effective video packages.
The best CEOs or MDs are visible, and if they are leading from the front they need to be seen to be doing it. A regular update from the CEO or MD on where the organisation is, and where it’s going to is a great way to introduce video into your internal communications schedule.
Where the CEO leads others will follow. Internal communications should lead external communications, and the messages be joined up. So when there is a big announcement, a new development, even where bad news is involved, (especially where bad news is involved) find the right person for the job and get them in front of the camera talking to the team.
Consistency and clarity
Video communication can’t be corrupted. It can’t be interpreted. If your internal communications rely on middle management holding team briefings using key messages from a printed document or from a PowerPoint, then your people may not be hearing what you want them to hear. We’ve all been to presentations from people we don’t like, we don’t trust and we don’t respect. So it is not uncommon that anything they tell us will be ignored, dismissed or distrusted. If the key messages are delivered by video it’s the right message, in the right tone, every time.
Peer to peer communications
People listen to colleagues and usually trust colleagues more than the boss. And certainly more than a corporate spokesperson. If you want field workers to understand a change in working practices, get a field worker to show them and tell them on video.
Day in the life video
If a business is big or growing then the left hand almost certainly has no idea where the right hand is, let along what it does. It certainly has no idea who the people on the other side of the organisation are! ‘Day in The Life’ videos can not only let accounts know what the canteen is doing, but it also shows the whole organisation that these are real people caring about their role within the organisation just as much as you do, just as much as the boss does. It puts a human face and a human voice to the job. It makes your organisation an organisation of people, not job titles.
Just like the newsletter, and just like the news on TV, video communications should come in a familiar format and at regular times. Yes, there is obviously room for the big one-off announcement. But once you’ve integrated video into your internal communications strategy then keep going.
Tone of voice matters
If you have a video production company business partner, then they’ll bring plenty of ideas on style and tone. But no one knows your organisation’s tone of voice better than you do. If you’re a large teaching hospital, then a Wall Street tone of voice is clearly not applicable. If you’re a construction company, then the glitz of a Paris fashion shoot will not be for you. Having said that we all watch TV and we all go to the movies and it is those production standards we are all used to. So your corporate video communication tools should have high production values. But the tone of voice, the language that you use and the people that you put before the cameras must be authentic. The people on screen have to be seen and to be believed.
It is worth stressing this word possibly above all others. The CEO on video leading from the front, peer to peer videos, day in the life videos, video communication in a crisis, speaking to your own people first, using the same video messages internally that you do to external stakeholders. Tone of voice. All these things add up to delivering an authentic video communications strategy. Being seen to be believed.
Andrew Ogden is managing director at Broadcast Media Services.