Video Messaging: The Right Way and The Wrong Way

September 24, 2014by Alison CliffordInternal CommunicationsVideo

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Nothing engages quite like a video. My 9-year-old would probably spend all day on YouTube if I let him. It’s rare these days that a social gathering doesn’t include at least one person busting out their phone to share the latest and greatest.

We all love to watch videos, and (let’s be honest) we even love to watch videos at work. But while the latest Jon Stewart or Nicki Minaj clip might be a great mini-break during the workday, videos are also a compelling solution to deliver valuable information to your team or call them to action. A recent study shows that 72% of internal communications teams are planning to increase their use of video.

When done well, your employees will retain the message you’ve so carefully planned and produced. It could even create brand awareness by going viral. Done poorly, you could also end up with a viral video… But more on that in a minute.

Let’s look at a few different types of video to see what works, and why

The Tried and True


Here’s an example of a video that. just. works.
Our client, Knowledge Universe was looking for a way to prompt their clients and employees to participate in a survey. What better way to do that than to emotionally connect their mission with their audience? Simple, yet powerful, this video conveys the emotion of dropping your young one off at school. If you are a parent, you know this can be nerve wracking. The video shows a mom happily transporting her child to preschool, and the little moments they share along the way. This video had demonstrable success with the amount of page views, surveys completed, and anecdotally, “We love it more every time we see it!”

The Tried Too Hard

The YouTube title says it all. When Microsoft introduced Service Pack 1 with this Springsteen impersonator, the result missed the target. Rock ’n’ roll isn’t the most likely vector for Microsoft, so this was an iffy concept to begin with, trust us, but go ahead and watch the video.

The Cleverest

Here is a video that you will immediately want to watch again. It starts off like a high-production value corporate video, but somewhere around the 30-second mark you realize what’s really going on. Hijacking the traditional use of stock photography and throwing in some self-awareness is a great showcase for the company’s products. Not only does this poke some good-natured fun at stock footage, it helps employees and contributing artists realize the power of images, words, and editing.  Hopefully, it also makes them think about how they might tell the story of their own brands with video.

So, what have we learned?

  1. Keep your message visible. Use a clear call to action at the beginning and/or the end.
  2. Make it worth watching. Don’t lose your audience by repeating the gag and filling the video with jargon.
  3. Draw your in audience. The Knowledge Universe video does this with emotional connection and great photography, while the Generic Brand video builds irony with fascinating images and a snappy voice over. Make your video share worthy!

What are some of your favorite videos to watch at work, and how are you using video in your internal communications? We’d love to hear from you.

Alison Clifford

As a Producer, Alison manages clients and projects from planning to staffing, conception to deliverable design, and development through implementation.

After graduating from Cal State with a degree in Film Production, and then the University College Dublin Ireland with a degree in Film Studies, Alison was hired as a creative services manager by Planar Systems, a digital signage company, to manage their design department which conceptualized and created custom motion graphics for clients such as Macy’s and Coca-Cola.

Since its inception, Alison’s has played the role of Producer for Vignette and has expertise that spans across budgeting, scheduling, resource management, risk management, video production and post, print design, digital design and instructional design—ensuring on time, on budget, and quality deliveries. And the diverse set of brands Alison’s worked with over the years, such as Ann Taylor/LOFT, Nike, Les Schwab, and Deckers Brands, ensures that any challenge in production is met with a steady hand.

When Alison has a few spare minutes, shen enjoys running in races, baking french macarons, and tackling new recipes. Alison lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two boys.