Keep it short & sweet

Employee communications tools

Video

Purpose Typical audience Pros Cons Can you do it yourself? Thinking points
Good for big, memorable messages with an emotional connection All DSM colleagues Instant impact with multiple uses and applications Limited time to get complex messages across, can take time to create Yes (using a smartphone) Who will script, storyboard, edit, and film your video? You may need professional help

What is this tool?

People like video – especially when it’s short. This tool is ideal for quick leadership updates; for interviews; as an explainer; or for learning purposes. And it doesn’t need to break the bank; especially if you can do it yourself! 

What and when is it typically used?

Check out the comparison notes below and weigh the pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.

Benefits

  1. Often more engaging than written stories.
  2. Good for getting across big messages.
  3. You don’t need professional footage: smart phone videos can be fine.
  4. You can play videos on TV screens across many DSM sites.

Challenges

  1. You need a script and storyboard (which takes some expertise to create).
  2. The same thing may apply to editing your video.
  3. Limited time to get complex or lengthy communications across.
  4. You’ll needs subtitles as many screens don’t have audio.
  5. There can be a lot of hidden ‘moving parts’ to video creation, eg, formatting.

How to use this tool

Preparation phase - think about your content:

  • What is the topic of your video?
  • What is the objective?
  • Who will be watching?
  • What’s the big takeaway?
  • What do you want your audience to do as a result? (capture this in a sentence).
  • Duration of video in minutes (short as possible!)
  • Do you have budget available? (for writing the script, hiring in a crew or editing your video material).
  • What look & feel are you after? We call this a creative treatment. Talk this through with either your colleagues or your external vendor. 

Prepare for filming

  • Will you shoot the footage yourself? Or will you use stock footage, or existing DSM footage? If necessary, hire an external provider.
  • Develop a draft script and/or storyboard (plan-out shots per scene, with accompanying scripted words).
  • Checklist for filming on location:
    • Check if filming is allowed at the location.
    • Notify reception and site managers about filming on location.
    • Ensure a parking space for crew is reserved to unload material.
    • Follow safety regulations and inform the film crew.
    • Make sure you send an email to everyone appearing in your video in advance, asking for their written approval.
    • Make sure they are prepared, and aware that filming takes time and is not always straightforward.

Editing the video

  • Edit the video yourself. Or hire an external vendor to edit the video for you.
  • Check if your video needs translation and subtitles.
  • Decide on the technical format it will be delivered. For DSM this is MP4.

Things to keep in mind

  • Before you start filming, run your script past a few colleagues to check if the message is clear.
  • When filming people, you have to ask them formal permission to use the footage. Use this form.
  • Will your video be used in different countries? Consider translating and subtitling them.
  • Location filming isn’t compulsory. You can ask participants to film themselves on their smartphones, for example and just send it to you.
  • Consider buying a boom microphone, especially if you are recording more often. It’s not too expensive and delivers a better sound quality by filtering out background noise.
  • Using some animation can make your video even more powerful – for example in educational videos (however, you need special programs for this; or to hire a third-party expert).

KPIs for this tool

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  • If the video is hosted on a digital platform, check the number of views or downloads with the platform owner.
  • On some platforms you can even check the percentage of video watched until the end.
  • If you play the video during a meeting, check afterwards with a few people. What did they remember - and was the message clear?

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

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