TechTalk ep8: Let your videos do the talking

Paramita: Hello welcome to PwC Luxembourg TeckTalk. Today's episode is part two of our exploration into communication techniques. Today we talk “video” with a team to be reckoned with… with Jean-François Lens (Jeff), Ralph Arnold and Luke Hunt.

So, we're going to talk about video and what's the role of video in content marketing and how brands and businesses can use the power of video to lift their images. I have in the studio today my colleagues and part of the fabulous video team at PwC Luxembourg… there is Luke, there's Ralph and then there is Jeff. So who wants to start first. I guess Jeff I'm going to ask you the first question.

Can you please tell our listeners what is the role of video in content marketing and why do you think it's becoming so important?

Jeff: Well I will start by giving you a very concrete example of the power of video. I don't know if you remember some years ago, if you looked at Facebook or LinkedIn, people were mainly posting pictures. If you look at those two social networks nowadays, you can see a total shift. Pictures are still there. But there's a huge amount of videos… personal videos, professional videos on LinkedIn.

I take a look at LinkedIn every morning when I come to work. And I scroll down. And every two new post I see has a video in it. Now, another good example: if you should look at YouTube, which is the major video streaming platform, why do you think it's been bought by Facebook. Well for the obvious reason that video is becoming the main media, in my opinion, for communication.

P: The main media you would say?

Luke: Yes I agree.

Ralph: Same. But I guess it's been bought by Google not Facebook…

Jeff: Anyway, it’s the same. Facebook will eventually get bought by Google as well. So in the end…

P: It’s GAFA...

J: Yeah those people have understood it perfectly.

P: Yes. So Ralph since you started talking finally I'll ask you the second question. Like Jeff said since some years now Facebook and LinkedIn they have been using video quite extensively which is true. But do you think the nature of video has changed or should change so that businesses could use leverage video more? I'm asking you this because at PwC Luxembourg, we do a lot of videos here and we have started doing new kinds of videos very recently, very dynamic with a certain kind of storytelling which is you know which is quite appreciated…

L: Yeah. You are the face of Google Talks.

R: I am the face of Google talks. That's true. That's an internal campaign where it has the appeal of a YouTube show. And we're trying to communicate internally our transition from our previous digital infrastructure to Google tools. And to answer your question I think the nature of video is constantly evolving. It's not a new thing. It's an ongoing process. The nature of video is constantly evolving and due to the widespread adoption of social media to me it seems that the nature of video at the moment has shifted to a bit more like you said dynamic and fast paced videos. It's not like it used to be where you had an interview talk for 20 minutes. It's a bit different now. Everything is more fast paced. Everything is more dynamic… the voice of the videos has turned to something more human I would say. You can see it in basically every corporate communication nowadays. It's more approachable, it's more human. It's less I would say corporate than it used to be.

L: I think also it's more like people's attention span has lessened a lot, has decreased. And I think it's to do with social media and the Internet and how quickly we can get things. You want to see a video and you want to have that information as quick as possible. And I think that's just the way it's going to evolve. But people want to watch something they don't want to flick through endless images of something.

P: And what about this new trend of live streaming? Do you think that in there we have, businesses have any kind of opportunity to dig into?

L: Yeah I think so. I think it's there. I think we have to figure it out, it has to be done properly. I mean you can't just livestream everything from your phone.

P: Why I'm asking about live streaming is that here we have a proper studio, we have equipment and everything but for a live streaming you can just take your phone and start filming.

L: Yeah I mean you could, you can live stream events things like this but I think it has to be picked wisely. I mean I don't think everyone is just watching live streams. They have to obviously be interested in it, it has to have at least some appeal. Maybe they couldn't get to the events… live streaming is the next best thing.

P: I think probably a particular type of message requires live streaming whereas something else requires an interview or a talk or a conversation around the table. And talking about stuff filmed in a studio since Luke you are our motion graphics person I wanted to ask you about motion graphics We hear this all the time and I know that you asked me to change the question a bit but I'll still ask you the silly question. What is motion graphics?

L: It's very simple. It's just a graphic that is created and then motion is put to it. So you just animate that.

P: You just animate an image and that is motion graphics?

L: Yeah basically it can be done in 2D, 3D anything. It's just taking an image and animating it.

J: And building a story around it.

L: Yeah. That's the next level.

P: And so how can businesses and companies benefit from it, benefit from motion graphics within a video?

L: Well I think a lot of business videos are done with motion graphics. I mean you have endless amounts of videos with motion graphics. It's a quicker way to make a video but maybe it's easier to explain something with moving images that are very simplistic to get the message across rather than having to think of a way to film something with footage. I think that's why it appeals. It's used a lot in explainer videos mainly.

J: It very much depends on the thing you have to explain. If we take the example of PwC, we deal with an enormous amount of topics which are extremely complex. We are talking about finance regulations, tax regulations, GDPR… And those are topics or concepts which are extremely technical. And if you would have someone in front of a camera talking about it I guess the person who would be explaining that would have as a target audience who are experts. With motion graphics, you can illustrate the concept in a much more understandable way and a fun way as well which makes it accessible for a broader audience.

L: I think the thing with motion graphics is it's probably easier to make something that looks more fun and informative rather than trying to put some emotion into it. If you want to make something quick and understandable I think motion graphics is better.

P: Jeff you were just now talking about having to explain something heavy and we know we struggle sometimes with people explaining certain things in front of the camera and how being a non-professional can be difficult. Do you have any advice to give to people?

J: Yeah I have plenty of advice. I could have a whole list. Well first of all, one has to acknowledge that not everyone is meant to appear in front of a camera.

And that is the base of everything which will come next. Unfortunately, some people are extremely good in front of a physical audience. Because the audience gives you feedback. You know if you’re extremely boring you will see people start playing around with their phones or chatting to each other so that you are going to automatically modify the way you deliver your message. The problem with the camera as our good friend Ralph here would say is that it's a vampire. On top of sucking a huge amount of energy, it doesn't give you any feedback and there's no one watching you. You are watching the camera and you have to address an audience which you don't see. And it makes the whole thing very complex.

So some people are very good in front of a physical audience and they are just totally bad in front of a camera. You have to try it before you know. But even with a lot of exercise, a lot of preparation some people just can't act in a natural way in front of the camera. The intonation of their voice is not going to be there, the body language is not going to be there. The smile is not going to be there. The eyes are going to look everywhere but into the camera and on top of that, they are not prepared. If they assume that because we have a prompter in the studio it's just going to be a reading exercise, then the case is lost. I mean there is nothing you can do. Even the best actors need preparation. They know their text in advance. They've rehearsed, they know where they are going to place their voice, they know how long the pauses are going to last. Because what do we want in the end - and that's crucial in video today - it's not just about delivering a message. It's delivering a message by creating an emotion. And today if you don't have that emotion forget about the message. And that makes it quite difficult especially if you're talking about topics like LIBOR, or FATCA or GDPR…

P: It's not just relevant for us it's relevant for all businesses that want to do these kind of videos… Ralph you wanted to say something.

R: Yeah coming back to what Jeff said, it's not even the fault of the people in front of the camera I would say. We're dealing in a financial company. People aren't used to be that expressive.

That's fundamental to be in front of a camera. So you have to have some sort of acting skills I would say. You have to have some sort of charisma. And yeah that's something crucial you need to have in front of the camera.

L: And practice. Reading the script first helps a lot. You just turn up...

J: And of course to come back on the question you had for Luke about the motion graphics, the advantage with motion graphics is that you don't need to have anyone in front of the camera. You create the character. It’s going to tell the story and create the emotion. Of course you can do motion graphics with just a nice music background. You can do motion graphics with a voiceover on top but then you have to make sure that the voice fits. And that the person who's going to give the speech has this flow in his or her voice to make it in the end… I don't have kids myself but when I'm in front of the camera and whatever the topic is I'm imagining I'm telling a story to my kids. That's a good way to start.

P: If I wanted you guys to give us, our listeners whoever wants to have this adventure with video storytelling... if I asked you to give us some tips what would the tips be?

R: Video is here and video will not go away in the future. Companies need to communicate with video in some case or another and they should in my opinion be entertaining. Because when I watch a video and it's not entertaining it doesn't grab my attention within the first five to 10 seconds then they've lost me. So be entertaining. And coming back again to Jeff… he talked about emotions. Those emotions you want to evoke can be on the whole spectrum of human emotions. They can be laughter. They can be sadness. They can be whatever depending on your message, depending on what you want to communicate. But in my experience it's easiest to start with something lighthearted and something entertaining, something fun. And this is something where motion graphics for example can be a very easy and good way of communicating something in a fun way.

P: Luke any tips from you?

L: I think before all of it you have to to know what’s the end result you want. Because if you just want to make a video for the sole purpose of making a video then I don't think it's going to work.

You have to know what you want to say in the video and who is going to watch it and where it's going to go. And when you know that, then you can start working on your whether it's going to be funny or whatever. It's tricky. I see a lot of people bringing scripts in. But if you're just going to write a script and hand it to us and not maybe ask us for a bit of help… Maybe we could improve it somehow, sit with you, talk about storyboards and where things are going. I think that would help a lot as well.

P: Jeff?

J: What Luke and Ralph said is totally true. I would on my side talk more about the importance of defining the target group to whom the message delivered in the video is addressed to. This is the first thing. Who are those potential viewers, customers or wherever that are going to watch that video. Is the way this video is done appropriate to the platform which is going to be used to broadcast it? If we are we talking about Twitter, then you have to think about a special format. Are we talking about LinkedIn? Now you can embed directly videos onto LinkedIn but they can't be longer than 10 minutes. Are we talking about YouTube or Instagram? Are we talking about Vimeo or whatever…

You first have to clearly identify your target audience, tailor the message which is delivered into the video for that target audience, then wisely choose the broadcasting platforms.

And then you have to monitor because you don't just do a video for the sake of doing a video like Luke said. And basically the only one of the KPIs… because if we are talking about a B2C model or C2C… if someone sells I don't know a car and does a video and suddenly sells 200 cars more than the previous month, that's a serious return on investment because the video was worth making. For us, making a video and seeing concrete results is quite tough. And because we don't sell… we sell intellectual services you know we don't actually sell goods. We don't sell a can of Coke or a pen or whatever forks and knives. So it's difficult, it's very difficult to quantify the return. And one of the main indicators is the number of views. But then it's also important to translate the number of views into… If we make a video of 10 minutes for example and you have 55000 views, you say OK cool you might be extremely happy to reach such a great number of views. But in the end, if you go into the analytics and you see that people who view your video stay like five seconds on it you realize that it's not worth doing something which lasts for 10 minutes. So that is the preparation, the targeting, the definition of where this video is going to be. And then the analytics which go after.

P: You're talking about KPI which is very interesting I didn't think about it. Thank you. It's like in PR where you you send a press release and it's not like direct marketing… when you send a press release to journalists and then you don't really know what the end result is on your business. So why should a business have videos?

R: It all comes down to branding. If you have a brand, you want to strengthen your brand. People are used to see videos everywhere nowadays. And for every company it's a crucial, fundamental part of corporate communication of branding. And you can't measure it immediately but you can measure it in the long run. So you can measure the value of your brand. And you can't directly measure it at the spot except for those obvious KPIs like views or seconds watched of a video. It's more important to see it as a long term part of a branding strategy, I would say.

P: And the last but not least… because I've been listening to you talking about storyboard, creating a storyboard, having storytelling and…

J: When you have time to do that's another advice I would give companies who want to embrace videos. Build up a strong storyboard, know every step of what you are going to film or every sequence of the motion graphics you are going to create. Unfortunately, this takes extremely skilled people to do it. You have to think everything in advance and you need a lot of time to do a proper storyboard.

P: My question was do you think that -- I can understand probably small medium companies won't have the budget - but do you think that it's time now for a company to have a proper video team?

R: That can come to us.

J: Yeah. They can definitely come to us and we can find solutions for all their needs and we can be creative. We can help them in defining not only the video itself because video in my opinion should be seen as one particular part of a broader communication campaign.

You can of course do videos on plenty of topics but then you have to think of broader... Again we always come to this aspect of doing a video for the sake of doing a video. It's not the way things should be done. When you do a video, it needs to be integrated in a broader communication strategy and campaign and you have to think of all the previous things we've been discussing before. You can't expect...

We are somehow into art but art, as someone used to say, does not need to work... design does. Because art is art and you like it or you don't like it. Even filmmakers… we can consider films as being fantastic pieces of art which is the case for plenty of movies. But those movies they need to bring in people to the theater to watch them. If they don't what's the purpose of doing a movie. Coming to the purpose of the video, you can have plenty of purposes but you need to have one which is clearly defined. Either it's to increase your sales, either it needs to increase your brand awareness. Or it's to recruit people. You can find plenty of purposes but you don't do a video without clear purpose which you have to identify first.

L: Yeah but I will say that if there are companies who are not thinking of going into video or being very cautious about it I think they absolutely should. Because it is the way that people are going to be taking in brands in the future. It's just inevitable. And if they don't have videos or they don't have any kind of video material online then they should seriously think about doing something.

R: I have a question as well for you Paramita. What was the last impactful video you've seen? What video made the biggest impact on you recently?

P: Thank you for the question. It's the latest Nike advertisement.

R: Why?

P: Because it was on women. Not just because it was on women but how it was filmed and thank you so much for the question because it brings back the point of emotion that all of you talked about you know. The emotion that a video needs to create in the person who's watching it. And I don't know if you watched it... the latest Nike video show these great women athletes you know achieving something, doing something great and it just uplifts you, it gives you hope, it gives you positivity and you know it has… it brings all those emotions in the person who's watching it. So I guess you guys were spot on when you talked about the message that's delivered through the video needs to create a certain kind of an emotion in the audience. Thank you for asking.

So gentlemen I think that we had quite a nice conversation. Thank you so much…

P: So that was the video team of PwC Luxemburg. I hope you enjoyed the show. Please leave us comments using the #PwCTechTalk. I'll catch you next time.


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