It was the next logical step for business video but, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really anticipate it growing as quickly as it has. Perhaps I thought companies weren’t going to invest the time, money, or resources on it? Or maybe I figured a well-crafted letter, like one Jeff Bezos writes each quarter, would typically be the preferred methodology for a lot of companies? Or, most likely, it’s because I work at a smaller video agency so it’s not a video type we would use in-house?
What matters is that internal communications videos are quickly becoming a must-have for large organizations. There are multiple reasons that it became a trend. Those include an increase in remote work policies in the U.S. over the past few years, a general increase in corporate video production demand, a growing economy, and the launch of many internal communication software tools and platforms.
A quick definition before we get too in-depth here. Demo Duck considers Internal Communications Videos as any video project that’s specifically created for employees, contractors, or members of an organization. These aren’t customer-focused nor are they being produced for the general public. They’re videos made by your organization for “your people,” whoever that may be.
For those considering internal communication videos, we wanted to share our experiences in producing them these past few years. More specifically, what makes the production process and experience different as compared to outward-facing videos like animated product demos or explainer videos.
A captive, invested audience awaits
Unlike an explainer video where you’re trying to speak to people at the top of the sales funnel or even customer testimonials when they’re further along their sales journey, internal comms videos are for people who aren’t anywhere near the funnel. You’re not looking to convert them into customers but since information in the video will directly impact them or answer a hyper-specific question they have, chances are they’ll be more invested in watching.
This means you can forgo some of the typical hooks used in marketing videos and get right into the content. A captive audience also means you can go a little longer in duration than your typical explainer video, to provide a full, clear picture behind what you’re saying and why you’re saying it.
Jargon, acronyms, and shorthand—oh my!
Demo Duck is usually pretty rigid about avoiding marketing speak, using uncommon verbiage, or getting too insular with our video scripts but that mentality goes out the window with internal communications videos. Does the entire company know what it means when you say “DDQCG”? Throw it in! I don’t know what a “Beam Column” is (I just googled “engineering phrases” to find it for this blog) but if your whole audience will understand it then, sure, include it in the video.
You’re able to drop some personality in there too. Inside jokes, office references, or fun internal software shorthand, are all fair game when everyone has the same level of content competency. This also helps you avoid coming across too rigid and lets you cover more varied topics in a short period of time.
Bend on the branding
Unless you choose to publish them publicly, people won’t be stumbling across your internal communications while surfing the web. They won’t be scrutinizing every graphic to their Twitter followers. Your people live and breathe the brand every day, so don’t be beholden to it. It’s okay to have things that feel on brand while slightly straying from your brand guidelines slightly.
Heck, you could even test potentially new brand colors, logos or icons in these internal communications videos to get a sense of how your employees react to them. So, break out of the mold and stretch those creative wings. If you can’t have some fun making these, then when can you?
Look good but not flashy
This is a tricky one. Time and time again we’ve written on this blog and preached to clients the importance of quality for your explainer videos. And that’s still the case with these internal projects. However “too expensive looking” is a legit consideration when it comes to internal communications videos.
I couldn’t find this stat online anywhere, but I’d estimate 99% of your audience thinks that they deserve more money or, if you’re a membership organization, think their annual dues are too high. So if it looks like you’ve spent a million dollars on a complex, ready for prime-time looking internal video people may start whispering about how the organization mismanages their finances. So be careful with the creative. Besides that, if you’re looking to produce these videos out on a recurring basis, they should be scalable and cost-effective video series anyways.
Reviews (should) go quicker
As with external video projects, you should have the compliance team review everything you’re saying to make sure you’ve legally covered with the content of the piece (and the creative if needed). We’ve seen some sensitive and high impact information included in these projects, so it’s always best to be certain. But, again, there shouldn’t be as much scrutiny with these videos as the typical legal concerns aren’t quite as prominent. If the internal video is training focused or more educational-based, compliance probably doesn’t even need to weigh-in.
It’s not just Legal that should review what you’re putting together. If multiple departments are associated with the content included in the internal communications video, then get their buy-in before sending it company-wide. It’s very difficult to take back something after you’ve said it in front of the entire organization.
A single, specific use
Often times, when we ask clients how they’re going to use the explainer videos the answer is, “Everywhere online! Our website, social media, YouTube…you name it!” We understand why this is the case, you want to get as many eyes on it as possible. But this broad approach sometimes makes it tough to tell a strong story across so many channels and formats.
Not the case here. The internal video will live in one or two places. It’s much simpler to craft a story when we know exactly how, why, and when people will see this video. They’ll be getting it in the monthly newsletter on November 14. It’ll live on an internal wiki and will automatically go fullscreen when one of our marketing folks clicks it. Very few people will view it on their cell phone. Clear direction provides us the parameters to play with so we can best optimize the content and creative. This also gives you the ability to easily track the metrics and see how many people are tuning in and for how long.
I may not have been able to spot that internal communications videos would become such a hot trend but Demo Duck always enjoys working on these projects and the above points are a big reason why. So start simple! Try to shoot a quick talking head video to include in your next company newsletter and compare the metrics against the non-video newsletters of the past? If video in email increases click-through rates by 200-300%, imagine how video could affect your people’s productivity.