How to Succeed in Corporate Video

I first met Ron Ploof when I was working with Johnson & Johnson with their new media internal communications strategy. Ron is the new media evangelist at Synopsys, a job title he says he owes to this podcast.

Apparently, after playing this episode for his boss, which demonstrated that even bigger companies than his, and in this case, one of his customers, had someone with the same title, he was anointed.

I actually never really liked the word evangelist, because it invokes a reliance on blind faith, and while I do consider myself a spiritual man, what excites me most about new media is the ability to transform attention into measurable transactions, an activity requiring little or no surrender.

I invited Ron to present at this year’s PRSA Digital Impact Conference because he launched a very successful new media internal communications program called Synopsys TV, which leverages do it yourself video to encourages interdepartmental collaboration and sharing among the company’s 5000 employees.

I learned about Synopsys TV when I briefed with Ron while prepping for a J&J digital strategy session I led and his practical experience defining and launching this online video initiative at Synopsys was really interesting, so when I accepted the offer to chair the first annual PRSA Digital Impact Conference, I invited Ron to lead a session on online video at the conference.

Ron talked about how social media has turned the economics of influence upside down.

Lessons learned:

* New media deserve new content.

* People’s reaction to new media is typical one of these three:

1. Traditionalists, who don’t want to get it.
2. People who get it.
3. And the running with scissors people who are excited about new media’s potential, but don’t necessarily get it from a strateguc standpoint.

* Tell them you’re just taking a picture, a take video instead. That way, people will act natural. Remember, camera orders environment.

* Make sure your IT department can support your online video communications initiatives before you launch them.

* Rethink the tiny layout of video online. You’ve only got 320 x 240 pixels to work with. You’re creating video content for a much smaller screen.

* DV video and HD video are different aspect ratios so you’re going to need to either letterhead or stretch the image to fit to a 320 x 240 aspect ratio.

* If you want total control of how the video is displayed on your website, you need to pay for that service. If’ you’re okay with a screen coming up after the video plays that could direct visitors elsewhere, YouTube may be fine.

* Have a purpose. Have a clear cut objective you want you online video communications to achieve.

* Figure out how to produce video without putting people under hot lights and making them sweat.

* Don’t wear stripes or patterns that create video noise when they’re shot.

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