By nature, humans are visual creatures: 90 per cent of information transmitted to the brain is pictorial and processed 60,000 faster than text. So it’s not altogether surprising that moving image is hitting the sweet spot for internal and external audiences alike. Here we look at some recent examples…


Engaging with digital signage

 

I popped in to my local NatWest (Hitchin) at lunchtime today and discovered that it’s had a complete makeover. But it wasn’t the décor that grabbed my attention – my eyes were immediately drawn to two massive new video screens at either end of the banking hall. A great example of digital signage in action.

I’m happy to admit that learning about banking products isn’t usually high in my list of priorities and that banking ads on TV leave me cold. Strangely, though, I was quite happy to watch the on-screen videos while I waited to be served. I even picked up a couple of money-saving tips.

I was quite happy to watch the on-screen videos while I waited to be served. I even picked up a couple of money-saving tips.

Now if that encounter had taken place in an internal comms scenario, it would have scored a big tick in the box next to both ‘engagement’ and ‘inspired to take action’. Digital signage – static or animated – positioned on screens in a busy area can provide a great way to catch people’s attention and promote very important messages.

The key to success lies in keeping it brief – usually no more than 15 seconds. People are too busy to stand around watching a three-minute corporate video, but they’ll happily take on board a couple of bite-sized message as they walk past.


High-impact video and animation

 

But digital signage isn’t the only moving image option available; there’s a whole smorgasbord of channels to choose from.

Take Sequel client Nationwide, for example. Nationwide excels at customer service but wants to make sure that it stays ahead of the competition. So it launched the ‘Customer First’ campaign, which – as well as two videos – has featured large cardboard cut-outs of employees, print and digital posters, and manager briefing packs.

The first video was a teaser, heralding the campaign and introducing a call to action. The second video was a longer mix of illustrative animation and live action of people at work. Following the journey of a new product development, the video brings together the teams working on different elements of the process and shows how they collaborate throughout to deliver the best for the customer.

Released in March, the video has gone down really well with Nationwide employees. It has been designed to work effectively with broad audiences across the business, delivered via a variety of channels, and for a long time period.

And that’s not all. Nationwide’s monthly digital employee magazine (Live!) includes moving image in every issue, because it’s such a good way to grab attention and convey messages quickly and simply.

 

The December 2015 issue of Live! used an interactive animated infographic to tell the story of how funding from the Society’s charitable arm, the Nationwide Foundation, helped transform five derelict, empty properties in the same street in Liverpool into beautiful, affordable homes.

April’s issue features an animated character who’s having a really bad day, with calamities including losing his car keys, filling up with the wrong type of petrol and having a collision. Presented in an entertaining and interactive way, each incident provides an opportunity for staff to learn more about a different car insurance product – knowledge which they can then pass on to customers. Simple, yet effective.

Earlier this year, Sequel helped Bupa use animation to launch a global campaign encouraging employees to take action and speak up if they see anything in the organisation that’s not quite right. We produced a short animated film that takes viewers along the decision-making journey using ‘yes/no’ answers; from spotting something untoward, to deciding to do something about it.

Bupa uploaded the animation to its global jive platform, as well as promoting it through other online and offline channels. Senior Internal Communications Manager Nardine Sleeman says: “Initial feedback shows that the campaign has been very well received by colleagues around the world. We’re now looking at what else we need to do to reinforce key messages and embed behaviour change in the next phase of the campaign.”

These are just a few examples of the variety of video and animation that works effectively with both internal and external audiences. Each produced to capture attention and share the messages the audience needed, and wanted, to know – to raise awareness, change behaviour and inspire action.


Up Periscope…

 

And then, of course, there’s Periscope, the live-streaming video app that Twitter acquired at the start of 2015. It’s fast becoming a must-have: in August 2015, Periscope said that users were watching 41 years’ worth of video every day; by March this year, that figure had soared to 110 years.

Periscope users broadcast live feeds shot on their smartphone or tablet, for viewers to consume on their smartphone, laptop or desktop, or on the Twitter site. Back in March, TV celebrity and comedian Eddie Izzard took on the challenge of completing 27 marathons in 27 days across South Africa, to raise money for Sport Relief.

He used Periscope to talk shoot live footage of his progress during his run, which he immediately posted on Twitter. On 4 March he Periscoped: “Hello world, I’m back… I just thought I’d show you what it’s like from my point of view.” The viewer could see that it was blisteringly hot and that Eddie was jogging at quite a pace, and from his voice it was clear that it was physically very demanding.

Facebook Live let’s anyone broadcast live from any device

Facebook Live let’s anyone broadcast live from any device

Eddie’s live videos told a story that had a huge impact on supporters and helped him raise more than £1 million for Sport Relief. It’s another example of engagement leading to action. It’s perhaps a little early for Periscope to gain a foothold in the world of internal communications, but there’s no doubt that this type of user-generated content is the way of things to come.

And watch out, Periscope – you may have beaten Meerkat but Facebook’s out to get you! The Facebook Live video platform rolled out some important new features on 6 April 2016: users can now provide video instantly and add doodles and filters while shooting; viewers’ reactions appear while the video plays; and there’s a map showing locations around the world currently broadcasting live video.

Again, this new technology could eventually play a role in an IC strategy, but not quite yet…