The A to Z of Business Video

26 ways to use video in your business

Video to change, grow and lead:  with its unique ability to carry a narrative on an emotional level,

video is a vital partner to logic and detail.  In 60 seconds or less, each of the clips below takes a look at a different application for business video to tell your company’s stories, whether they be internally or externally facing.

Watch all the videos here, from A to Z

The A to A of Business Video

Read the A to Z of Business Video

C is for Case Studies

The case study is a device we used in the news to give focus to a wider story.  Similarly, case studies are one of the best ways to show how your business makes a real impact.  The typical case study is a story which involves a challenge, the dragon, your solution to your challenge, the knight, and the positive impact your solution had to the challenge – the happily ever after.

The case study involves characters which your audience can relate to, empathise with, and connect emotionally.  And it’s that emotional connection which carries the day.

A is for Analysis

Analysis can often be pretty heavy going dense intellectual stuff.  But sometimes the people you need to take notice of it might not share your inclination for numbers.  And Powerpoint is definitely not the best way to engage your audience.  Video’s a great way to tell the top lines and the give them the gist, or as I used to do on the news channels, to get an expert to tell what it all means. You can use easily digestible charts and graphics to help you, and in some video platforms you can add links into the video for your viewers to go deeper.

B is for Broadcast

Video can be an extremely efficient means of getting the same message to a large number of people.  You can either broadcast live with a video stream, or make the video available for your audience members to watch on demand in their own time.

Within any business there are several broadcast platforms: the company email, intranet site, the shared file system like Google Docs or Sharepoint, or the messaging service like Slack. Every business has the power to play every employee the same video simultaneously.

D is for Demos

Demos can take many forms.

Demos can show how a product works, or how to do perform a task , or use a tool.  A video demo of you business’ product can tip customers from consideration to purchases.

The most efficient way to get a thousand ITV News journalists using their new digital publishing tool was to make a video which showed them how easy is was to do.

Demos are also a key part of the agile sprint cycle for software development.  They show the progress you’re making.

However you use demos in your business, they’re a valuable part of telling your transformation story.

E is for Email

A video is a great way of enrichening your email newsletter, whether it’s a customer facing communication or an update to staff.  Here’s a pro tip:  give your audience something really useful inside the video, like a coupon code or some sort of staff perk.

By doing that, you will make sure tat your email is not only open, but consumed, and even better, acted upon!

F is for Fun

A little injection of fun goes a long way to getting your message heard and cutting through the monotony of the day to day business as usual.   Make a video with a small team. Share the messaging, and allow your people a little creative license in the process.  Not only will you get a more authentic end product, but your colleagues love to see their workmates in action, and as a result, your video will get a bigger buzz.

G is for Goals

Goals need to be easy to understand and clearly communicated, so that everyone can get behind them.  Video can do wonders for your goals.

The Goal is the destination in a classic quest story – think The Holy Grail, the pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow, the journey to the centre of the Earth or Homer’s Odyssey.

You can explain why your goals are what they are,  put colour and context around them, what it’s going to take to reach them.

H is for Hybrid

The future of events is hybrid:  physical presence for those in the office, and remote for those elsewhere.  Video is what holds these two audiences together. Take for example the PC Gaming Show I produced for three years:  filmed live in front of a theatre audience in Los Angeles and streamed to 2 million viewers on Twitch.  You can put the studio output on screens in the room so the audience can see the closeups, as well as the insert VTs.

You can give the a near equal experience to remote and live audiences, including interaction opportunities through participation apps like social media, Slido or Pigeonhole.

I is for Infographics

So many people think that an infographic is a long thin scrollable picture for a mobile device.  We yes it can be, but it doesn’t have to be that. It could be a story told graphically in video, with a VoiceOver.

It’s the sort of sequence I produced for years in television news. It’s not about text and bullet points, it’s about clear, rich visuals and graphics which tell a clear story.  The opposite of death by powerpoint!

J is for Journal

It’s well known that journalling can good for your mental health, but have you considered maintaining a journal for the health of your team?

Much quicker than typing out a few sentences, why not record a quick journal entry on video:  It’s on the fly, not over thought, and it gives you an opportunity to be authentically you.  And that’s what your team crave from you as their leader.

K is for Knowledge Base

It often happens in businesses that people neglect the housekeeping tasks of maintaining the knowledge base – the day to day work gets in the way.

When it comes to teaching someone how to use an application, recording a video is often far easier than writing down every step.

Applications like Loom or Screencastify make it easy to record your screen and yourself at the same time with or without your camera.  Both have free versions and both are available as Chrome browser extensions.

Short videos are also great for training distributed teams, or skilling up a workforces in a new location, like a second manufacturing plant for example.

L is for Live

Live video used to be the stuff of TV magicians, smoke and mirrors, and satellite trucks.

Not any more. The democratisation of video means it’s easier than ever to go live.  Just choose the platform which is right for your audience.  You could stream from your mobile on Instagram, or you can hire a studio and a crew and create your own show broadcast to a password protected page on your site.  So that means that you can go live as often as you like, and as formally or informally as you like.

M is for Managing Up

Managing up to your boss or a programme sponsor is as important as managing your team.

If you’re running a course, a programme or a project, you can guarantee you’ll be asked how it’s going.  And you should consider making a video to answer the question.  A video with some simple graphic slides, and some soundbites from key players on the team, is not just a progress report, but it can also give your sponsor a sense of the project and team health, giving her the confidence in you, and giving you the support and backing your project needs to be a success.

N is for Narratives

Business is full of narratives, and video eats narratives for breakfast.

From the sales stories through case studies, change stories, leadership stories to explaining the very reason for your business’s very existence, video can communicate those narratives in a way that a text or slides can’t – video’s added super power over the other two is emotional connection.

When you can connect with the audience on both a logical rational level AND an emotional level – that’s when you really connect with them.

O is for Orientation

One of the ways good companies to work for distinguish themselves is with a world class orientation or on-boarding process.

A good orientation series tells new employees the history of the business and explains what it stands for.  It’s also a chance for joiners to see key figures in the company, and to show some of the core ways of working.

Doing all this in a video series is an efficient way of communicating a consistent message time after time, but perhaps what’s more interesting is the way you make these videos because it’s an opportunity to show the personality, the soul of your business.

P is for Prototyping

As agile methodologies gain traction in areas beyond software development, prototyping is becoming an ever bigger part of business process.  A Prototype is a way to bring a product or process to Iife before you actually build it, to make sure that you build the right thing.  Prototypes can take many forms, from sketches, working software, Lego and guess what?!  Video!!

In fact, the type of prototype you create can affect the type of response you get.  A polished video will illicit an emotional response, while something more rough & ready like this can actually invite your viewers to suggest features and functions.

Q is for Q&As

Answering your teams’ questions is a key part of building trust, and video can be a quick, efficient and authentic way to do it:  everyone in the business can see the answer, and the fact you’re prepared to record it in a video shows your willingness to be transparent.

It doesn’t have to be hyper polished – in fact in this context I’d argue it’s better not to be – polish can be interpreted as a veneer.

Some tips from me: don’t get hung up about people wanting to ask their questions anonymously – sometimes it can be the difference between asking it and not.  And also don’t take it personally if the tone of the questions seems a bit spikey.  In my experience, the crowd moderates itself. You earn respect from colleagues who see you’re willing to treat your employees with respect, even if they might not afford the same to you.

R is for Reports

Annual Reports, Quarterly Reports, Programme Reports, any other report you need to produce in your business.  Yes there’s a place for a paper, rich in detail, and some carefully curated tables and graphics, but I argue that there isn’t a place for Powerpoint slides.  That place is for video.

The paper can give you the detail.  The video gives you the vibe, the macroscopic take, the skinny – call it what you like.  Whatever descriptor you go for, you’re talking about the essence of your message, which was is what a video of your report can communicate.

S is for Scaling

Digital video, not just any old video, but DIGITAL video, has a unique power to scale, and scaling is critical to growth.  The power of digital to make a near infinite number of connections simultaneously, combined with the power of video to make those EMOTIONAL connection, means digital video is the power to make emotional connections at scale.

And until businesses no longer need people, the power of emotional connection at scale, with video,  will be a critical superpower for your business.

T is for Town Halls

Communication is such an important part of running a team, and comms needs to take many forms: informal, formal, individual, squad, team, group, whole group.  Town Halls are on the mass end of this range of communications.  They should be at least every quarter, and definitely live.  With video, you can do two things:  the first is stream them live to the other locations, including remote individuals,  which is an important act of inclusivity.  Especially when you also give everyone the same ability to ask questions, whether they’re in the same location as the speakers or not – cue the interactivity tools.  The second thing you can do is distribute replays of the recordings for those that couldn’t make the scheduled time, either because they were dong something else or because they were in another timezone.  Another way to make sure everyone is as included as possible.

U is for Upselling

For a relatively small extra effort, you can make a video to capture the journey and outcomes of a particular phase of work, and use it to help you upsell to the next phase.

In the digital product consultancy where I was CEO we made videos as a matter of course.  Taking a leaf out of the news playbook (my other former life), these videos don’t need to be a Hollywood blockbuster to have a wow factor which wraps the team spirit and the programme benefits so far into a package which connects on an emotional level to secure support for the next phase. 

V is for Vacancies

The job market is running hot at the moment.  Demand is high, and it’s a seeker’s market.  Taking the effort to make the right hire not only saves time and money in the long run, but can actually supercharge your businesses growth.  So surely it’s worth supercharging the job listing too, with a video.  It’s an opportunity for the team leader to outline what she is looking for in the role, and for prospective applicants to see what sort of environment and culture she might be entering.  Mind you, a poorly written job listing full of hackneyed phrases and spelling mistakes tells you a lot about the hiring organisation too, doesn’t it!

W is for Workshops

Video can increase the effectiveness of your workshops in a couple of ways.  It’s a technique I’ve employed in transformation programmes in-house at businesses like ITV, and at digital consultancy Made By Many where I was CEO.

The first is to make a short video summary at the end of each workshop which serves as a powerful playback to two audiences – both the participants, capturing the energy of the session for them to carry into the next, and to the sponsors, showing them how much progress the participants have made.

If you’re running a course which you’d like to repeat to a new cohort next year, then a video at the end of the course showing the journey the participants have been on, as described by them, is a great way to attract the next year’s cohort and the investment to make it happen.

X is for eXplainers (!)

Yeah I know it’s a bit of cheat, but all the xylophones were taken.

We’re going with Explainers – I’ve produced hundreds of these in tv news.  These are videos which, yep you guessed it, explain a concept or a technique.

In order to do that in a 90 second video, showing and telling, you have to make it easy to understand and digest. So the act of producing the video in itself is actually a way to reduce confusion.  And the video then becomes a  re-useable, scalable and repeatable way to impart constant information in a clear way.

Y is for Year in Review

The Year in Review is a favourite on the news channels, and you can do the same in your business.  Mark the progress you have made against your stated goals, and recognise the people that made it happen.  You can interview colleagues for testimonials, and you can even turn it into an Awards ceremony!

Whatever you do, a video has more soul and impact than a round-robin email.

Z is for Zoom Fatigue

There’s no doubt that Zoom, and all the other video conferencing apps are here to stay.  In many ways, that’s a good thing – we’re cutting down on unnecessary travel and making more flexible working a reality, with Zoom comes Zoom Fatigue.  And goodness knows we need an antidote to that.

With some simple tips from the world of live TV News, you can take your Zooms to the next level:  better framing, good lighting; keep your audience engaged by mentioning them by name, activating their pre-frontal cortexes, and using voting and interaction tools like Slido and Pigeonhole.

When you want to make a real impact, you can create video titles, and run insert VTs.

All it takes is a little production sparkle from the work of TV.

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