When you ask someone for their favourite communication method, what are the answers you get? Face to face, Intranet, Email? More often than not those will probably be the top three. If you have Microsoft Lync (other IM systems are available) then that might pop up as well. However, without prompting, how often do people say video? In my experience it’s very rarely, yet without doubt video is now one of the most common communication methods outside of the workplace and specifically YouTube
If you haven’t heard of YouTube, then how was the cave you’ve been living in for the past seven years? YouTube have 800 million unique users each month, who watch 4 billion hours worth of video. 72 hours of video are uploaded every hour, and in 2011 they had more than 1 trillion views, equal to 140 views for every person on earth…impressive! YouTube is now the way people search for information and catch up, missed X Factor? Catch up on YouTube. Missed an amazing goal over the weekend, it’ll be on YouTube before Match of the Day shows it! Want see the latest South Korean dance craze? You know where to go!
Companies have seen this and started to use YouTube as a way to communicate with potential customers, and maybe even potential employees. But how many use it to communicate with current employees? There are companies out there who will come and sell to you saying that they provide YouTube for the workplace, what’s wrong with using YouTube?
What’s that I hear you say, security? You can’t let certain videos be seen by people external to your business? Ok, first of all…are you sure? Is the content in that video so confidential that it can’t go outside of the ‘firewall’? Or, could it actually be made public and used as an amazing example of how open and transparent you are as a company? If the answer to that question is ‘No, we can’t let people see it’ then just make the video unlisted. Unlisted videos can only been seen by people with the link…so you can add it to your intranet and the only people who can access it are people who can see your intranet…problem solved!
Since I joined KCOM I’ve been eager to shake things up and try something new in all forms of communication. This isn’t always the easiest challenge, people like consistency and tend to shy away from change so changing things for the sake of it can be seen as rocking the boat. I tend to rock the boat a lot, in fact…if you suffer from sea sickness then I might annoy you from time to time.
In the past a lot of communication has been text based and when video has been used they tended to be a talking head against a white background:
While this is a good way to get your point across quickly, it’s not the most creative style and in today’s world where people consume video constantly…it doesn’t always cut it. You have to grab your viewer and keep hold of them…or they’ll just skip forward and then leave.
We’d been looking at ways we could do this with a video for a while and had suggested it a few times, but got told it wasn’t appropriate. Then we finalised our employee recognition champions for the year and decided now was the time to do it and take a risk. We came up with a different and fun idea, checked with the winners that they would do it (thank you!) and went for it:
The feedback we’ve got is that this is one of the best videos people have seen from KCOM in a long time. Buoyed on by that feedback we decided to do something truly risky and create a viral style video with a song specifically written for KCOM. h&h, an agency we work with, suggested the idea and got the boardroom busker to do a quick ‘demo’. We loved it! It was just what we wanted, something very different and lots of fun.
After some negotiations we launched the video below on YouTube (open to everyone) and let it grow from there. We didn’t post on our intranet, we didn’t send an email. We simply mentioned it on Yammer and I tweeted a link.
One of the benefits of using YouTube, is the brilliant analytics. We can see how many people have viewed it, how long, where from, how they accessed it…it’s brilliant. Using this analytics we were able to see that compared with our usual viewing figures of around 60 views per video…we were nearer 400. We could also see that maybe the video was a touch too long as not everyone watched to the end, this is great feedback for our next video which we’ll make sure is shorter and snappier
People were talking about it in the office, I even had people shout at me because they found themselves singing it. Has anyone ever complained because they were reciting an email? If so, then they need to have a holiday! Video is infectious, perfectly designed to be shared and easy for the end user to consume, surely that’s what you want from communication?
Moving forward I’ll be pushing for us to produce more videos, staying on the theme of fun and informative so people want to share it, and we’ll certainly be using YouTube more…if it works for Psy then it can work for us…KCOM Style!!!!!