The world of corporate communications is serious business for any PR professional out there. The use of video has become an increasingly important strategy for companies at a time where digital media has taken centre stage. Communicate Magazine published an interesting article on how companies are producing videos for internal communications without the help of professional companies. The two examples given were that of an oil exploration company who asked their employees to produce ‘day in the life’ stories using handicams or video-enabled smartphones. The other was a health and safety video featuring employees by Northwards Housing, the management organisation for North Manchester’s council homes. It was a 7 minute film that was funny and attention grabbing which illustrated the importance of health and safety to the employees effectively. I liked how the company’s CEO played Robin and an employee played Batman who advocated the need to take health and safety seriously.
Batman showed a video to bored employees who were attending the health and safety lecture. Three typical health and safety scenarios were used brilliantly to explain how most of the accidents in Northwards Housing had been occurring. At the beginning of each scenario, the focus on the hazardous setting set the viewer up to pick out where an accident could happen. For example, the employee spilling tea as she went around the office and bumped into a colleague with socks on, as well as the obstruction the woman in heels faced in the tool shed, were perfect for the employees who were watching the video to become alert and see what mistakes they were making. The statistics in the comic – like speech bubbles were a great insert after each scene to ‘back everything up.’ Sure enough, the film has been praised by health and safety consultants for using employees in the video and highlighting the need to take health and safety issues seriously.
The UK had apparently been lagging behind the US in making use of videos in their corporate websites, so a rise in utilising digital media in corporate communications in the last few years is very encouraging. Visual content is so much easier to absorb and can be taken advantage of to engage within an organisation and build a reputation of a company. Whether the content takes the shape of customer testimonials or events to capture proceedings at the company for employees to see, video can be an extremely effective strategy. One case however that comes to mind where video has been poorly used in communications is that of Chief Executive Phil Morley of NHS Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust. He dressed up as Superman and launched into a dance routine to “Is This the Way to Amarillo.”
It was horribly made and had no powerful message, and so it was not surprising that the video went down like a lead balloon. It just goes to show how careful companies have to be when using video when communicating internally.