Corporate communications is more important than ever. It used to mean a stuffy newsletter from a detached higher up sent on a quarterly basis. Or worse, a source of embarrassment for firms. It’s all too easy to leak a misguided memo online these days.
However, corporate communications can be a real asset, especially with the introduction of video. From recruiting, to retention, and improving the efficiency of a workforce, corporate communications offers a lot of potential upside to companies that get it right.
Here’s our guide to modernizing your corporate communications strategy with video.
First and foremost, you have to throw the old rule book out the window. Corporate communications used to be about the control of internal information. This meant a lot of the information being transmitted was opaque and vague, and centered exclusively around the firm’s interests.
Today, transparency is the name of the game. Rather than fighting the flow of information, the role of corporate communications has shifted to guiding it and shaping it. The fact of the matter is that nearly any issue will come to light eventually. Whether it’s leaked or announced intentionally, companies can count on their employees, and the general public, finding out sooner or later.
Take the VW emissions scandal. While attempting to thwart regulators on clean air regulations is bad enough, the worst aspect of the scandal was the lengths to which the company went to cover it up. It immediately begs the question: what else are they hiding?
Often, the way the company discloses a difficult truth affects the public’s perception more than the truth itself. Hearing directly from company executives can make a huge difference in the way their handling of a crisis is portrayed.
Sure, at times, company employees need to keep sensitive information under wraps. For instance, in the lead-up to an IPO or an acquisition, it’s typical for details to be very hush-hush.
The rest of the time, you’re better off relaxing the rules regarding who can talk about company initiatives. First of all, employees are likely to do so anyway. Secondly, you may find they are quite effective at communicating positive information about your company. In fact, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer found that “trust in businesses and CEOs is falling; at the same time, there’s a marked increase in the credibility of a “person like me.”‘
Encourage your employees to help communicate positive company information by expanding their participation in videos. Featuring real employees who are involved with different company events or impacted by new policies will help bring authenticity to your content.
No More Internal Vs External
Related to the importance of transparency detailed above, there is no such thing as internal vs external communications. Plan for everything to be external, whether that’s how you plan to distribute it or not.
Why? In case it’s shared online, it won’t be awkward, or worse, damaging to your company’s reputation. It’s best to plan for the worst, and hope for the best when it comes to online sharing. Besides, there are usually opportunities to position your company in a positive light no matter what happened.
While it might be a bit intimidating to think about jumping in front of the camera to apologize for a major mistake or misjudgment your company has made, think about how much more personal and effective video apologies following these two PR disasters would’ve been: Apple’s 2017 battery performance issue and Uber’s 2016 customer data breach.
Adding a human element to their apologies couldn’t have done any more damage to either situation and might have helped to soften the blows.
Ok, Sometimes You Need Internal Video to Stay Internal
If you need to ensure that a particular video is not shared beyond your company’s walls, SproutVideo has specific privacy tools that can help.
For starters, login protection is an easy way to assign video permissions to individuals. You can control their access, and track it on a very granular level.
To restrict sharing to a specific network, you can whitelist your company’s IP address. Then, only viewers on approved connections will be able to load and play your videos.
Single-sign-on is another option for companies that already have an Identity Provider in place. It enables viewers to use their company credentials to access videos on the SproutVideo platform, ensuring only employees can view the content.
Meet Your Audience Where They Already Are
General Electric has been hard at work modernizing their culture, and their corporate communications strategy too.
Their CEO, Jeff Immelt, sat down for a video interview with the Senior Editor of Linkedin. Why Linkedin, and not a major news publication?
Because GE knows that’s where their audience is likely to be found. By releasing videos, company news, and even company-wide emails to employees on social media, GE is reaching not just existing employees, but prospective recruits too. All the while, they’re building a stellar reputation for transparency.
When it comes to corporate communications, the old approach relied on telling just the facts. However, people often get a lot more information out of stories that provide additional context and details. And, does it hurt if they are entertained in the process?
Video opens up many more opportunities for storytelling than written announcements. You can introduce characters, create a plot, and use creative visuals to get your point across. For instance, promoting a new, generous family paid leave policy is a great opportunity to show your company really cares about its employees. It’s also a powerful recruiting and retention tool. Will a press release with bullet-pointed facts get that across?
Since you’re fighting for attention, think of video as your secret weapon to compelling storytelling. You can hook viewers and get your message across, before they even realize they’re watching a marketing video.
No matter the industry, technology has changed our work spaces and the ways we communicate. For many years now, developments like email and texting increased the appeal and expectations of quick work and communications being done. Now, perhaps somewhat in reaction to that, there is a real demand for more personable, human communications (both external and internal) and yet no one seems ready to give up the speed in which we’ve become accustomed to. Fortunately, video grants both: In-real-time communication with a human touch.
Tell us how you are using video to effectively communicate among your employees and share questions you have about how to better do this – We’re listening! Share in the comments below or catch us Twitter @sproutvideo.