The Need to Communicate. So why is the Age of Video already dead?

As the various Trade Fairs open their doors this month and next, we look at the best ways for vendors to communicate with their audience, and why do corporates keep making the same mistakes. And what else is there, that can replace it?

I am in my office and I am hit by the promotional email from the one of the many tech trade fairs in London, and there and is an invitation to watch an Interview. It is a topic I want to assess. So far so good – I click on their screen and away we go.  After approx four minutes, my phone goes – I take the call – which generates other immediate calls, and further emails to back up the calls. The video interview is some eleven minutes long. I never reach the end of the interview. And I have no clue what the speaker is really trying to say.

I am walking past some trade stands at a financial services conference and the clearly important person, he is wearing a tie for God’s sake – is being professionally interviewed on video by a cool team of camera people, in black t shirts, cables and microphones strategically placed. It is a Lage Corporate thing, they have a big stand and enough money to use some space for an “interview area”.  Nobody will actually view this interview either. It will be too boring and not say anything that you probably didn’t know already and above all –  will not be engaging, because the important person is unlikely to have the personal skills to get people’s attention and then keep them engaged. 

And yet – the concept of video as a means of communicating, despite being available for several years, has  suddenly has become de rigeur, essential. At a time when we all recognise that PowerPoint no longer cuts it as a communicating device,  and we all “get” that “seeing is believing”- the question is;  why do so many companies get it so wrong? And are we seeing the end of what could have been a golden age, even before it has truly begun?

The answers are that we do not understand what are we trying to achieve by video – and that we are not talking about technology, but human experience and human nature.  So,  here are some essential pointers;

1. Quick and Dirty, actually works. Placing a camera on a table and just recording someone speak their words of wisdom, with minimal after editing, as long as it is short, clear, you say what you mean. 30 seconds is all it takes. It is ideal for Interviews where you are simply making a point. The file size is small enough to email out.

2. The classic CEO Interview does not work. The impression is one of an ego trip and it works against you in this age of saving money and austerity.

3. Use professional actors – even for the shortest project. They are trained to engage with their body language, style of speaking, choice of delivery. You may be a great sales presenter or tech consultant but the National Theatre and Hollywood have not called you. You have other gifts. Leave the delivery of your message, to people who are trained to do it.  This is ideal for the longer Interview, where you want the discussion to retain attention, but never make this more than two minutes. 

4. Use your new found friendly actors, to do the internal communication in your own company. Your biggest problem is more how to keep your own people engaged and motivated – than ever going get new business.  Let the actors use humour and be original in how you do this. 

5. Be clear before you start, what you want to achieve. Spend as much time on round table discussion with all involved, draw up flow charts, shopping lists, – as the time to takes to actually create the video script, shoot it, edit it and so forth. Remember- every battle is won, before it is ever fought.

6. Think about what else can keep people’s attention. In our business, we use Comic Books, to stimulate thought from our readers and visitors. Everyone wants to be a superhero. Make sure your storyline (ie, your message and point you are trying to make) – is compelling, and then let your Designer and Artist do their magic. 

Ultimately – this is all about communication at a human level. Whatever the data or numbers or clever marketing analytics might suggest – the essential of business remains the individual and what they decide to do, as opposed to  ending when you have found out who they are, and  your ability simply to get to them. 

Author: umnitso

Managing Editor at ProfoMedia, and Senior Partner at The CRT Partnership, a a leading specialist in brokering international alliances and partnerships; a published author in own right - as well as accredited media for major trade associations, including HIMSS, Vitalis, and others.

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