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Democratize Video so Everyone Can Communicate With a Human Face

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If there’s one comms moment that has stuck in my head from the last few months of upheaval, it was that point when Boris Johnson announced that he had Coronavirus. He broke the news using some very simple video footage filmed on a smartphone. Instinctively the Prime Minister knows, as we all do, that when there’s a difficult announcement to make, showing a human face makes the best of it.

Video provides an opportunity to be transparent, to present the face of the organization, and to communicate with humanity. But it also typically takes a lot of time and money to get a video looking right: two things in short supply for many organizations.

In a survey, we launched last year we found that one in four PR agency and in-house comms leaders still have not found a way of making video work as a marcomms tool.

So what is the issue? One respondent explained that dissatisfaction often arose from “a lack of understanding internally, poor briefing and application of the finished product”; but the main frustration for agencies was cost. 

38% of agencies that have recently used video production companies stated that the experience was more expensive than they would have wanted and one comms expert admitted that even when outsourcing on occasion the costs rack up quickly. 

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It is clear that video is an important and persuasive communication tool, but the costs and timings associated with agencies are prohibitive for many. This is why I believe very strongly that video production should be democratized out of the hands of a few, expensive production agencies, and into the hands of the people that are actually using it.

User-generated content provides an alternative to high budget productions, but it’s one that often falls foul of amateurish output.

But there can be a middle way. The tech in smartphone cameras has improved so radically in recent years that you can now deliver footage of a quality close to that of professional video kit. But with the added opportunity of capturing the moment in a way never previously possible.

By combining those great smartphone cameras with stabilization, better lighting, and professional editing, video production can be put into the hands of the people most suited to creating that content.

That might be a comms team that needs a video to populate their social channels, an internal comms team creating induction videos, or a finance team introducing a new payroll system. Or simply a smaller organization for whom existing solutions are just too expensive and slow.

The paradigm has shifted. In the old days, the video was handled by a Marketing department handing a brief to a production company. But now everyone across the company needs to have the means to make their own video.

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Over the past months, we’ve seen many organizations making difficult announcements, just like Boris Johnson. 

Comms teams have had to bear the brunt of this, and they’ve done it by working to increasingly tight budgets and in isolated situations. User-generated content is one important way that comms teams can handle these issues effectively.

Let’s look at internal comms, for instance. Companies with largely disconnected workforces have a huge challenge on their hands in the wake of the outbreak. Large businesses must be seen to be doing their utmost to ensure the health and wellbeing of their employees, by preparing and communicating policies designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Getting your approach wrong could have massive implications, not only to the health of employees but also to business reputation.

That’s why it is essential to present a human face in your internal comms efforts, to best deal with the difficult subject matter. Again, user-generated video is the best way to approach this, providing an opportunity to present a human face regardless of how far away staff is.

Coming from a production background, my partner Alex Hughes and I know exactly the kind of frustrations both clients and agencies face. We wanted the platform to make everything as streamlined and as transparent as possible. 

When we started talking about Binumi Pro at video events, people would call us turncoats, because we’re effectively handing over the keys to the car to the user. 

We’re proud to be turncoats. Video needs to be democratized so that everyone can quickly and easily create and distribute their own Video content.

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