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Successful Internal Video Strategies

How to use internal video

Recently, I chaired a Global Executives Event in Amsterdam. Companies from various parts of Europe converged to discuss how to unleash digital internal communications in enterprise. Experts from Fortune 500 and 1000 companies presented some of the internal video communications challenges that they have been facing, and shared their strategies for overcoming these problems.
As someone who works with both the enterprise and education communities, I was struck by how many of these challenges and solutions are more broadly applicable. Whether for a business or an educational community, internal video communications today is solving problems…and creating new ones. The strategies that successful organizations are using can be provide insight for anyone looking to improve their video communications.
Some of the key questions that were brought up included:

  • How can I make communication improvements effectively and ensure that my message reaches all who need to know?
  • How do I globalize and make it relevant and localized to the constituents in different parts of the world?
  • Should I open content contributions to all?

Some themes quickly emerged.

Keys to Success Through Enterprise Internal Video Communications

Get the right stakeholders involved.

Ensure you leverage the right stakeholders to sponsor, engage, work on, and evangelize your internal video project. You need to establish a sense of pride and teamwork. Then, empower these people to present the work and the improvements to the rest of the organization. Centralize the management of all communications to create a consistent brand and cohesiveness.  Allow a feedback chain to help foster an improving solution over time.
Many spoke of the fact that they didn’t have the buy-in of all stakeholders yet, and were struggling to foster change. They were in good company. Many of the attendees responded with stories of their own, revealing the difficulty of getting everyone on board. Without the help of these key stakeholders, progress can be slow and painful.

It is okay to start small.

One executive from a well-known airline offered a potential solution: starting small is the best way to build consensus over time.
The small steps are the ones that seem so ineffective at the beginning, but actually create waves that ultimately can lead to significant change.  Often times, a simple video posted for all to see may resonate with a viewer. Increasing numbers of viewers will feel compelled to respond with a comment, a video response of their own, or even just an emoji or thumbs up.  As one video succeeds, it makes it easier get traction for another one, and then another. Rather than trying to impose a massive video effort from the start, sometimes it’s easier to let the groundswell build organically, and then ask for more resources and attention once success has been proven.

Don’t just translate, localize.

As to globalization and localization, it isn’t enough to translate information. It’s critical to also consider how the information relates to the individuals in country, the realities of their actual work, and their workplace itself.  Many speakers stressed the importance of making sure communications efforts are adapted for each new audience. But many also confessed the difficulty of executing good localization. One popular solution involves leveraging the in-country staff to adapt the messaging to the local contexts.In the process, this also creates a sense of community.

Trust your contributors.

When it came to the topic of opening content contributions, some have been wary of allowing user-generated content (UGC). They  fear that video networks will be taken over by dubious videos that will embarrass the organization. The consensus, though, was that it was important to trust employees’ contributions. Organizations need to understand that individuals are aware of their name being associated with content. Unlike publicly accessible forums like YouTube, company video portals are within the context of a community.  When organizations started to allow UGC, they discovered that users were conscientious about what was associated with their name in a work setting.

Lessons for Video for Enterprise and Education

Whether an office or a school, many of the same lessons apply. Just as employees need a supportive video environment that has been adapted to their needs, so do students and staff. The more you consider the needs of your users—getting them on board, giving them time to adjust, making sure content is relevant to them, and empowering them to use the platform—the more positive a response you’ll get. The leading businesses of the world are experiencing great success with their internal video communications efforts. Let their success be your guide.

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