I have a 5 year old son and 1 year old daughter. I’m cautious about letting them get their hands on my phone and ipad for too long. Why? I’m afraid they’ll disappear into a world I’ll never fully understand. It has occurred to me that the internet of today is very much like Alice in Wonderland. One click and you’re down the rabbit hole. Sometimes we feel really really big and important and sometimes we shrink to near oblivion. Meanwhile we’re surrounded constantly by weird and wonderful characters and strange goings on that it’s difficult to to avoid.
When it comes to businesses, much like children, the reality is that closing our eyes and pretending that the world around us isn’t changing is unwise. Once upon a time a website was the thing. You created it, encourage customers to look at it and that was that. Today the conversation is two way. Stop communicating and you disappear.
How should we as businesses manage this need for content and a constant flow of information. Blogging, tweeting, facebooking, Vining, YouTubing, the list goes on and quite frankly do we really have the time for it all? If I’ve learnt anything from working in a fast paced news envoironment, its be selective. I want to clearly clarify what is valuable and what is not when it comes to the place of film and video in this ever evolving world. As a journalist, I have always produced content for clearly defined audiences. That should be the starting point.
Who do you want to talk to? What is the message? Who would you like to receive it? What’s the best way of communicating? Then act. We frequently hear that audiences are changing. No they’re not but the way that we reach them is. And film is a crucial and inevitable part of that.
Sometimes words are powerful but seeing people, places and events pulls on all of our human reactions. Once my children finally get their hands on my ipad, they’re straight to the videos. Even my 1 year old girl can find the play button.
For many businesses and marketeers, understanding where to start with film can be daunting. How do you decide on the content, the messaging, the look. Can I do it myself or do I need expert help? Does an amateur looking film represent an amateur looking company? Perhaps.
Anyone can make a film, just pick up your phone and press record. However making a film that tells a story, conveys a message and keeps people watching is another matter. For businesses finding someone who simply owns a camera and can film a bit is easy but shooting valuable content that can be crafted into a persuasive narrative is a skill. Certainly a film that actually influences a customer is unlikely to be something that you can buy off the shelf.
As businesses we want to be clear in our messaging. In other words we want some sort of editorial control but this must be combined with creativity and purpose. A list of dull corporate messages isn’t going to get someone past the first few seconds. Who are you? Why do you do what you do? How can you engage clients beyond bland brand messages that they no longer believe or want to hear? Storytelling is key and film can do that so beautifully.
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the words ‘social media’ once yet. That’s deliberate. Whoever heard of ‘unsocial media’? It’s all about communication. The difference is now its two way. After more than 70 years of watching TV, we all understand film and video. Its grammar is universal and its power to persuade is undeniable. So what has changed. Ever increasing bandwiths have opened up new channels and opportunities for broadcasting, while cheaper technology means anyone can make a video.
Today any business can also be its own broadcaster. This is an incredible opportunity. Tell your story, convey your messages and sell your products and services to anyone anywhere in the world. If you’re in any doubt whether its worth it, just think of that 5 year old and 1 year old and they already expect nothing less than to be able to press play. If the power of social media is to be truly harnessed by businesses, we need to return to a more personal, intuitive and lets face it ‘human’ way of communicating. The answer to all of this, film. Just make sure that it’s a good one.