Video in Context

I remember crewing on an interview with Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) ten years ago and asking him what the future of the Internet was, he replied ‘video’, he didn’t know how, but he said the internet will be nearly entirely video. Ten years on, what we used to call digital video is now mainstream, thanks to the fantastic growth of mobile; the various channels that push it ahead of all other content, and the growing popularity in OTT (over the top)… YouTube is regularly publishing results demonstrating the growth of it’s platform viewing on TV’s. Video is therefore becoming increasingly essential to marketing, advertising and communication in general. And just as it becomes habit to personally Facetime loved ones, and ‘Live record’ a moment at an event, we all know we need to do the same when at work.

However, as technology has developed, we’ve seen the car-crash efforts when in-house staff attempts of a Story on Instagram, or a YouTube video of an event, are put onto the business channel. Using video is your best shop window but knowing how to dress it is essential. Thinking of yourself as a publisher is the first step towards making videos on brand, and creating content that is useful to those who you want to communicate with.

The obvious practical problem is if you get a professional in, they charge a fortune, you can’t guarantee how good it will be, and do you really need the video you’re planning to make look like a professional video? Will your KPI’s actually justify the spend..? After all, all you wanted to film was a senior member of the team talking about a policy change: can’t we do this ourselves?

A third way?
The third way is to work with people experienced in understanding the role of video and how it fits in to your marketing plan, your internal comms as well as supporting or championing your upcoming campaigns. Understanding context and creating suitable video for each aspect is the secret to spending wisely with video without coming across as completely amateur or a two-bit company. Find someone who can partner with you to become a video publisher. Each video needs to have its place and it’s important to understand where in the marketing funnel/ or user journey each bit of content sits.

A lot of us still think that if we’re making a video it needs to be with the business owner, sat in ‘his’ office being very precise, well lit and sounding perfect. But there’s no such thing as B2B video anymore, because video is so natural to us, the audience decides if it’s B2C, B2B or C2C! We expect something new and dare I say, informal…? It’s generally more important that the contributor on camera comes across as confident and relaxed than word perfect and smartly dressed. I even like to play around with quality because it can create the atmosphere of authenticity, what the people are saying really is true… For example take a look at ‘Working at Jellyfish’ This video seems pretty simple, but it actually had a lot of thought and time put into it.

New kind of corporate video

We filmed in three locations (three Jellyfish offices). And in each location we set up a handful of interview locations (yes that’s almost 15 set ups!). I decided we didn’t need music as this would make it feel too corporate and not natural. We sat teams around a table and members of my team asked questions relating to their work and the business. We filmed ‘beauty’ shots of the local area and this was all tied together naturally by Abi Howson to feel as though we are listening into conversations about Jellyfish.

Now this approach can be achieved with a sizeable budget but for me the tone acts as a good model for business video. People are real with one another, relaxed, informal and the video does what I set out to do with my original brief… ‘Show what it’s like to work in Jellyfish, for people looking for agency jobs as well as potential clients’. Please let me know what you think.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to achieve the above but you do need to understand the context of each video you make and where it fits within your wider video strategy.

If you haven’t developed a video strategy yet, it’s time to. It should inform all of your social video, digital video as well as internal communication. Just like the way we communicate in writing, the context (or the platform) we use is key. A WhatsApp message can be lazily written and full of emoji’s whilst an email needs more formality and pleasantries; a novel needs serious talent, whilst a letter to a loved one can be personal and handwritten with crossed out words and kisses. So the same is of video, a blockbuster movie we watch in the cinema wasn’t filmed on a phone in a boring room in an office above a supermarket, nor should a quick bit of industry news be filmed with a Red Dragon camera. When it comes to your approach to video, start thinking about context. Video is now everywhere and you’ll miss the most important and recent advancement in communication if you just sit back.

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