Lights, camera, communicate!: why you should be using video in your internal communications

It was an ordinary day in Paris, on the 28th of December 1895. Crowds of curious theatregoers had gathered at the Grand Café at 14 Boulevard Les Capucines for a screening of one of the first films ever made: the Lumière Brothers’ landmark 50-second documentary L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de la Ciotat.

In one unbroken, unassuming shot, a train pulls into a station platform, and passengers disembark while travellers take their place. The Lumière Brothers had captured a brief, seemingly ordinary ‘slice of life’ for one of the first times ever on film – but little did they know that it would send those curious theatregoers panicked and screaming from the café, as though the train would plough straight through the screen and flatten every single one of them.

Okay, so that story may not be entirely true. There’s no evidence to suggest that the film made audiences dash and dart for cover. However, the film undoubtedly surprised them, and the story has become one of the fundamental myths of cinema’s origins – demonstrating the persuasive power of visual storytelling.

Visual storytelling has very quickly become ‘the next big thing’ in communications. 240 million hours every month are spent watching online videos[i], and social media royals Snapchat and Facebook see a whopping combined total of 18 billion video views every day[ii]. And if that wasn’t enough to get comms professionals’ hearts racing, 54% of employees expect to see video used in workplace communications[iii]. If there was ever a time for video to break into the internal comms world, this is it.

But what makes video so special?

  1. It grabs our attention

Our attention spans are shrinking. In 1998, the average Joe could spend 12 minutes concentrating without being distracted. Now, they could only manage a mere eight seconds[iv]. There’s so much physically and digitally going on around us that we just don’t know where to look. And videos – complete with moving images, bright, bold visuals and enticing audio – catch our eye miles more effectively than the repetitive black-and-white scroll of text. Still with us?

  1. It’s more engaging

Although we’ve communicated primarily through writing since we first invented language, video is by-and-large better at engaging us. We view the world through images, not words. Our brains process visual information more quickly than they do written. And let’s not forget that an image speaks a thousand words. Our earliest ancestors didn’t communicate using words and letters – they drew pictures on cave walls. Video is simply a more efficient and easy way to get messages across – and they engage more of our senses too.

  1. It keeps us hooked

If you had to choose between reading a long, complicated article or watching a 5-minute video conveying the same information, which would you choose? Most of us would go with the video. In fact, 55% of us will watch an entire video, while only a lowly 29% will read to the bottom of a blog post[v]. In the modern world of soundbites, 180-character tweets and 6-second Vine videos, we like short, snappy communication – and videos can visually convey in 5 minutes what might take multiple paragraphs to say in writing.

  1. It’s big outside the workplace

Ever since the first films, we’ve been obsessed with moving images. And it’s no different on social media. Having quickly become one of the most visual mediums in existence, the social media world is swarming with videos – which we spend, on average, 1 hour 20 minutes a day exposed to[vi]. And since social media is becoming increasingly beneficial in the world of internal comms, there’s nothing to stop video catching up. It’s an incredibly popular medium – so why don’t we take advantage?

  1. It can be accessed anywhere

One thing riding in video’s favour is its accessibility. Today we have more devices than you can shake a stick at – smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and there’ll undoubtedly be many more in the future. And whereas other forms of communication can be temperamental, video is easily compatible with all of them. With their ever-busy lives, employees don’t want to spend forever trying to access and absorb information – and video’s ease and universal compatibility could scratch that itch perfectly.

There’s no doubt that video is taking the digital world by storm, and will continue to do so for some time. And while we might not want to make our employees run screaming in terror, it can be an incredibly useful tool for getting our messages across, and making communication easy and open for all.

PRINT® can help you enhance your workplace communications by identifying the preferred communication methods of each employee – ensuring effective, tailored communications that suit everyone, and really hit the mark.


If you’d like to discover your Unconscious Motivators® or find out more about how PRINT® could engage your employees, email, visit our website and social media (Facebook: @discoveryourprint, Twitter: @Discover_Print, LinkedIn: Print Profile Ltd) or sign up to our mailing list. If you’d like to bring PRINT’s benefits to organisations and businesses, we offer Accreditation courses enabling in-house coaches and learning & development professionals to become certified PRINT® coaches.