TO VIDEO AND BEYOND
Kulveer Ranger, global head of strategy & communications FS&I and SVP of strategy & communications UK&I at Atos, explores the ways video consumption has evolved, and how corporate comms teams can utilise short-form content.
Over the last five years the use of video content has risen, like Godzilla from the sea, to make its way into all areas of communication. Anyone who wants to inform, persuade or inspire an audience should be using video.
Before the YouTube generation picked up their cameras, it’s fair to say that some stagnation had set into the corporate video domain. But while YouTube may have democratised video, it was the emergence of Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Vine et al that shifted the dial in pioneering short-form content. Those platforms set the new rules for successful video – and now we have TikTok. Attention spans may be shorter than ever, but appetite for video seems boundless.
And the corporate world is listening. Quite simply, video is now an integral part of any effective omnichannel campaign. Four years ago, in setting the fundamental criteria for Atos’ new London HQ, video was at the top of my list. That meant not only ensuring the right technology infrastructure, but also looking at the scope, scale and style of our offices to enable both creation and post-production.
For Atos, video is central to our communications and public relations strategies. As a digital services company in a fast-changing market, we must forge new ways to gain the attention of a broad base of busy senior decision-makers and to present our brand. Our Digital Vision series is a good example of this. Each Digital Vision is built around a paper aimed at non-technical stakeholders in business and politics, to provide what we hope are new insights into the possibilities of digital technologies and how they are shaping our world.
From inception, we wanted to challenge the idea of creating a white paper and then issuing it in isolation, as so often happens in the IT industry. Our principle is to focus around 20% of our efforts on creating the content itself and 80% on developing campaign identity, delivery and amplification to maximise value. The evolution of this series, supplemented with events, web and social media content, used video not just to promote each paper’s publication, but also at key touchpoints - from teasers, to launch, to expert talking heads, to feedback shorts.
Through these, we build a tapestry of content that becomes the backbone of the campaign delivered across multiple platforms. Trailers are hugely valuable in generating early traction. Later, there are shorter hooks to navigate back to the thematic content, plus vox pops as a fantastic way to build out messaging and give a curated platform for our audience to share with their peers through short, intimate, original pieces.
Take our most recent Digital Vision for Cyber Security, for instance. Strategic B2B communications about cyber can seem overly dark, impenetrable and specialised - the opposite of what’s needed to support business decision-making about an issue that could threaten an organisation’s bottom line, or even survival. We knew firstly that we needed to differentiate ourselves and change that perception, and secondly that words alone would not be enough. With video at the heart of this interactive campaign, success has been measured both by the high rates of downloads, page/video views and social media activity and, ultimately, by the subsequent growth of our Big Data and Cyber Security business.
Looking to the future, while TikTok users are further advancing video, we are surely still in the foothills when it comes to possibilities across all platforms. Formats such as vox pops have potential that we’ll be exploring further through our programmes. More widely, the coalescence of corporate messaging with organic content will grow richer; it could be around using video that’s crowed-sourced by corporates, for instance, or content produced by independents and individuals that corporates then utilise. This speaks to society’s demand for more open and authentic experiences and interactions.
Fresh challenges to convention are certain to emerge as social platforms catalyse even more inventive video production and consumption. This is an exciting time for video and for those businesses who are ready to be innovative in how they embrace it.