MASTER CLASS: DECEMBER, 2009 ISSUE
Wilson Cleveland, SVP and director of digital media, CJP
Corporate marketers should use online video to punctuate or extend core messages beyond what traditional media relations can.
Don't just repurpose existing press materials in your videos; if your story isn't resonating, the delivery mechanism likely isn't the problem. Web-savvy consumers tend to gravitate toward video that is entertaining, utilitarian, or both, and devoid of intrusive PR messaging. Their opinion of your brand and acceptance of your messages will be made or broken by the degree to which you've either made their lives easier or entertained them. So before development or production, be clear on what you want to accomplish with the video.
Companies can provide a utility to key audiences by producing videos specifically focused on demonstrating or explaining their products and services, or regularly sharing advice and information that will somehow improve the viewer's professional or personal life. The edict of the modern consumer is "prove it." Utilitarian videos will allow them to see what makes you the leader in your field.
Some corporate communicators may be hard-pressed to glean the entertainment value their employer could provide the public and eschew alternatives like branded digital entertainment for exactly that reason. But if your current storytelling efforts are missing the mark, it may be time to tell it a different way. CJP develops and produces original online entertainment properties as communications vehicles for its clients across industries like recruiting, finance, publishing, and consumer products. Company messages go down a lot smoother with fickle audiences when they are strewn subtly throughout what amounts to be a short-form TV show on the Web.
Examine your methods. Always assume some elements of your storyline are not be-ing properly communicated either by the press or your own materials. Provide alternative methods to reach the "message averse." Boilerplates are the enemy of nuance. Online video is ideal because it fills the deeper gaps and brings your company story to life.