When Delta Airlines went live with its Big Thank You video – a 50+ hour live Facebook event where they honoured each and every one of their 80,000 staff members by naming them individually on the world’s longest greeting card – it took public employee praise to a new level.
Working with American marketing agency Moxie, famous business people, celebrities and athletes were enlisted to read a message praising employees’ commitment to the company (the full video is no longer available, but you can watch short replays on the Delta Facebook page).
It’s not the only company to give employees small-screen stardom. From About Us videos to instructional webinars and social media ‘velfies’ (video selfies), many startups are choosing to put their staff in the spotlight to aid recruitment, boost their reputation, and give customers emotional investment in their product. They can appear on the company website, or on their LinkedIn profile for potential applicants to see.
“Customers – millennials especially – want to feel a (real) connection to the personality of a brand before they buy,” says Australian director Reuben Field, founder of Lights, Camera, Business, who has made videos for the likes of Woolworths and Pepsi. “Videos can create an emotional connection with customers: putting a human face on your brand makes you approachable, relatable and authentic.”
According to Reuben, a two-minute video is enough. “You probably can’t include everyone, so be selective and just choose a few strong representatives to be the face of various groups [in the company]”, he advises.
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It’s not really about you
“Even though it’s about you, it’s not really,” says Reuben, “It’s about the audience. You’re making this video because you want them to learn something – and feel something.” He cites iiNet as an example, which calls on staff members to present learning videos on digital topics, such as how to secure your Facebook. “Work out what you want the audience to think and feel before you start, and use that to avoid self-indulgence and irrelevant ideas,” he says.
Do it well, or don’t do it
Shooting a good team video takes some effort. “For example, the Department of Finance’s recruitment video should never have been shot, let alone made public,” says Reuben, who believes it was too jargon-filled and emotionless. “Simply reading your script aloud beforehand will force you to recognise its weaknesses. Your first draft will likely be too long and sound too much like written language. Revise and test repeatedly until it sounds good out loud. Only then should you spend time and money shooting it.”
Real people, expert supervision
Your staff will shine, especially if they have expert guidance. “Most people are capable of giving a decent performance if well directed,” says Reuben. “If possible, hire a director. If you can’t hire a director, just remember most bad acting is overacting. Tell people not to try so hard. Sometimes it even helps to say, ‘act bored’. Don’t pretend to be more eloquent, cool or funny than you really are. The audience will know you’re pretending and they won’t like it.”
Always have fun
Most importantly, don’t take it all too seriously. “Embrace imperfection,” he insists. “If someone stuffs up their lines and starts laughing, consider leaving it in instead of cutting it out. Consider having a blooper reel at the end. Acknowledge flaws, own them, and turn them into assets. If you’re enjoying making the video, that enthusiasm is likely to come through on camera. And if making the video feels painful, take that as a warning sign of potential trouble.”