By Vern Oakley
We live in a visual society, and increasingly a video society. The corporate world knows this, and is leveraging video for uses other than just branding or marketing. Video is now often used to communicate important messages for moving people to action: for example, to invite investors to take a stake in your company, to encourage employees to rally around a strategy or initiative, or to recruit prospective employees.
As a filmmaker and creative director, I’m constantly looking for the next technology or trend to make my own work stronger and understand the context that corporations are coming to the table with. Here are some trends I’ve noticed lately.
1) Welcome to the video tsunami. Video is by far the way more and more people want to receive messages and information. We’re at the crest of the wave, and the surf is up. By 2020, 84% of all Internet traffic will be video. That’s an astounding number.
2) Video continues to move in-house. Many of the Global 1000 corporations have in-house video departments. The middle market is looking to outsource the whole video operation and avoid staff and space allocations. More to come on that.
3) There’s a lot of terrible video out there. The barrier to entry is so low in terms of costs, and business is so thirsty for content, which means that there is a perfusion of mediocre video. A great percentage of it is simply ignored.
4) Smart businesses demand ROI and ROI demands context. To understand and create effective video content is a skill unto itself. What distinguishes the merely acceptable from the truly great is an advanced level of strategic and creative thinking, a firm grip on the business challenges, and the societal context your audience is experiencing.
5) Virtual Reality is a contender. We’ve barely scratched the surface of VR’s massive potential for corporate and institutional applications. While VR is currently in the “trough of uncertainty” stage of its development, there’s no doubt more immersive and interactive video experiences are here to stay.
6) Culture beats strategy. Cultural differentiators are the most surefire (some might say only) way to stand out in a crowded global business environment. It starts at the top – no secret there. A lot of the most compelling work solves a specific communication challenge around building and improving a company’s culture, for example, human resources (recruiting, on–boarding retention), investor relations, CEO or executive messaging, values, purpose, and corporate communications.
7) Business has two speeds: faster and faster. Every project has tight time constraints. This is a result of the speed of business and the reality of the lives of corporate leaders. As service providers, we need to understand their pressure and work with it to assemble pop-up teams at a moment’s notice, and how to do great creative work under duress.
Video is here to stay. The future is filled with potential and opportunity. In the end, understanding your audience, making work that begs to be viewed and shared, and having clarity around the business problems you’re using video to solve add up to the successful use of video in a noisy world.
Veteran filmmaker, teacher, speaker, and industry thought leader Vern Oakley is CEO and creative director of Tribe Pictures, which he founded in 1986. Oakley has created films for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, universities, and their leaders, including American Express, AT&T, Pfizer, Princeton, and NYU Law. His mission is to help humanize the world’s most successful leaders and institutions, helping them to craft their stories and to create meaningful human connections. To this end, he has studied with a variety of experts and institutions, from Arthur Penn and the Actor’s Studio to Harvard Business School.
Oakley directed the major motion picture, A Modern Affair, as well as the Emmy-winning children’s TV program, Reading Rainbow. His work has won over 500 international awards, including the Cannes Golden Dolphin, and he is currently an Adjunct Professor in Baruch College’s Communications Graduate Program. To learn more, visit www.vernoakley.com.