Video as a communication tool

Have you been on the web lately? There is rarely a site that enjoys significant traffic which does not use video. From news to music, and from commercial products to 'how to' presentations. In our interactions we are starting to expect richer experiences, even Twitter in its simple text based form thrives because it links easily to richer media.

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Who hasn’t had an email with a funny video attached which they then forwarded?  Do you have any home video of holidays or children growing up?  What makes them different from writing a book about your experiences?  We would suggest they each have their value but they each make sense at different times.

There is a growing body of evidence which suggests most of us are becoming daily consumers of multiple media, from newspapers and TV, to printed reports and websites. What is also apparent is that online is a growing share of that media time. Users access online data through a multitude of electronic devices and thus companies are easily exposed and compared, whether from the companies own website, financial information companies like Reuters, or the social media sphere.

Looking more closely at this growing segment, video is becoming a more popular tool for corporate communications so it’s worth some thought. As Don Tapscott said, “every company is becoming naked, and if you’re going to be naked, you’d better be buff.”

IR is the process of promoting a company’s investment opportunity, and as with all sales you need to capture the imagination of the audience. Short videos have been used for decades to grab attention and advertisers will pay dearly for prime TV schedule slots. It was never practical or cost justified for niche offers to be presented in broadcast media. But the web has changed that, ‘narrowcasting’ as it has become known is where rich media can be produced and watched by those interested parties who seek them out, or indeed those who have been directed there by an IR Department. Video, like all media is no panacea, but it has its place.

You’re unlikely to buy a car simply from watching a TV commercial, but you might be prepared to investigate further. Promoting your investment offer is the same, in just a few seconds you have the ability to capture the attention of investors, submerge them in a rich multi-sensory experience and communicate complex concepts rapidly. So what are the pros and cons?

Pros for the potential investor:

  • It’s easy - you don’t feel obliged to do anything further if you’re not interested.
  • Small time commitment - usually within a couple of minutes you know the essence of the message, and can enquire further or move on.
  • Rich communication - through video, animated sequences and voiceovers, huge amounts of information can be quickly conveyed.
  • Structured - the essence of the message will have been carefully crafted to be a quick and comprehensive overview.
  • Compelling - a multi-sensory message can be more engaging and persuasive.

Pros for the issuer:

  • Cost effective - the reducing cost of video technology and internet streaming is reducing the overall cost of video.
  • Quick - videos can be rolled out to market in a matter of days.
  • You can be conceptual - for products and services not yet in existence, video and animation can fire the imagination about the potential of new ideas.
  • Consistent - consistent brand usage adds credence to the message and reduces perceived investment risk.
  • Trust - personal video presentations have been seen to help build or maintain trust when used as part of open and transparent communications www.irwebreport.com.

The cons:

  • It’s not comprehensive - it’s not designed to be comprehensive, but to efficiently convey messages and the essence of an offer. Video can direct the viewer to where more comprehensive answers lie.
  • It’s not flexible - generally speaking users can’t navigate so have to watch start to finish.
  • It’s relatively tricky to change once complete - whilst some things can easily be edited, a video which integrates multiple streams of media can require some time to revise.
  • It needs sound and a good connection - videos almost always need you to have the ability to watch and listen at the same time, with a good internet connection, whilst these needs are usually met by your average smart phone these days, some corporate computers still don’t have sound capability.

Summary

Video is powerful, but no panacea. As with any well structured communication it allows users who are only potentially interested in an offer to rapidly dip in and get a comprehensive feel for where the value is. It is by its nature, a finely controlled linear presentation, and is easily accessible in our connected world. All of this is now financially accessible given that new technology makes it low cost to produce and deliver.

As the front end introduction, TV commercials have been the staple brand builders for many FMCG companies, now this type of technology is accessible to everyone.

Jones and Palmer have been building a broad range of skills in new media technology and have some great examples of how management teams can get complex and sensitive messages across effectively, talk to us for an idea of cost and timescale in moving your communications forward.