How Traditional Online Video Fails as a Corporate Communication Tool


This article about Interactive Video as a corporate communication tool was originally published on Wired’s Innovation Insights blog on February 18, 2014. 

All businesses struggle with communication. Getting the right messages across to customers is a constant challenge, but finding a way to communicate between departments, with external stakeholders, and with investors is a whole other issue – and one that we all deal with. And more and more companies see online video solutions as a cost-effective, time-efficient way to tackle these challenges.

But the reality is most companies are leveraging only a fraction of the efficiencies afforded by video technologies, leaving billions of dollars on the table.

Let’s take Technology Trailblazer “Tom,” CEO of Company Market Leader. Being a good CEO, Tom wants to connect with his employees, but he has 10,000 of them located on various points on the map. A conscientious steward of productivity and capital, he decides the most efficient way to connect with his team is to create video webcasts and release them three or four times a year. With all the great news and strategic initiatives coming out of CML, the presentations are about two to three hours in length.

Producing the videos costs a couple hundred thousand dollars each year, which eats through budget. But for Tom, who knows exactly how much each hour of employee productivity generates in revenue, a far greater concern is extracting maximum efficacy.

Tom needs bang for his buck, but unless Tom’s webcast involves car chases, scantily clad men or women, or slapstick comedy, he’s not going to hold the attention of his 10,000 employees who are taking two hours out of their day to watch his presentation at their desk. Instead, as his video plays in the background, his employees check Facebook or play Candy Crush on their phones. That’s time and money down the tubes.

The problem here isn’t Tom. The problem is his video technology, which still behaves much like a VCR playing a tape. It plays and it pauses – that’s it. The online video player is an isolated, non-communicative black box that doesn’t tap into the power of the web. Metrics are excruciatingly limited. Engagement tools are non-existent. Those new compliance documents Tom references in the presentation? His employees are going to have to jot down a note to go look them up in the company wiki after the video, and how many do you think will remember to do that?

Communicating an expansive topic with a large group is not easy. And video needs to rise to the challenge. As it stands, no other online solution is so disconnected and non-interactive as online video. And this creates a major handicap.

We saw this first-hand working with Learning Care Group – a company that has approximately 16,500 employees in nearly 1,000 locations – as they grappled with training their employees on Health Care Reform.

But the Learning Care Group got smart about it, and rather than providing employees with information that didn’t apply to them, they used advanced video technology to allow viewers to select questions and branch the video, delivering only material relevant to the individual based upon their personal information. With that, they were able to condense an extraordinary amount of information into a very short and meaningful presentation specific to the user.

Such interactive videos allow companies to communicate more efficiently, while also unlocking tremendous insight and analytics. Are employees completing the full HR tutorial? Did they click off of the video 30 seconds into the mandatory presentation? And using tools like our recently released Site Pairing technology – companies can even integrate videos with internal learning management systems or HR admin systems to track for compliance or to obtain additional analytics.

With Site Pairing technology, they can easily transform online video communications into viewer-driven experiences that dramatically improve communication while also collecting user-click and view data through their existing LMS, analytics platform, CRM, or MAS.

With the rise of marketing automation systems like Marketo, Eloqua, and HubSpot, it’s clear that enterprise marketers are looking for more data from the content they put out. They’re passionate about the value that data can bring to the decision-making process. They’re right. And they should extend that thinking to video as well. They are foolish not to.

Tom should not be tied to the monotonous webcasts of yore. He is too innovative and value-savvy. CML is too productive. By demanding more from his video solution, Tom can improve information retention and efficiency of communication, while also generating actionable insight through analytics, ultimately driving greater returns across his organization.

This article was originally published on Wired’s Innovation Insights blog on February 18, 2014. 

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