For decades, corporate video has been considered a marketing and communications tool.  A medium leveraged to educate, engage or sell.

And although, we’re all aware of today’s changing business landscape and the impact of social media, something that is rarely addressed by marketers and business leaders is the shift that’s taking place around how video should be considered.

The Challenge

Marketing.  Communications. Reputation management.  Public relations.  These are all different silos of the same effort: to communicate a message with purpose.

In my day to day, I’m in the boardrooms of dynamic businesses speaking with really smart people. We’re having conversations about developing marketing videos. Communications videos. Videos for public relations. We’re having conversations around focused needs.  That is, until we talk about distribution strategies. It’s at that point that every conversation heads in the same predictable direction.

For most organizations, distribution falls into the following categories:

  • Corporate websites, campaign microsites or intranets
  • Display advertising
  • Social media channels or social marketing campaigns
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Live events

Sure, this may be an oversimplification, and there most certainly are other distribution methods. But for the most part, distribution efforts for corporate video fall into one of the categories above.

How Video Should Be Considered

On the one hand, we find ourselves developing video with a set of extremely focused needs based on the particular company department we are working with. On the other, these videos are being pushed out through standardized distribution channels that are common to all departments.

What’s the common thread? People. Target audiences.  Managing how the message will be perceived.

I argue that in this rapidly changing business-landscape, where the lines between marketing, communications and PR are so blurred that they’re almost non-existent, each and every video you produce is in itself an act of PR.

So What Can We Do?

The first step, like so many things we face in life, is admitting we may at some point run into problems.  If you’ve overlooked the fact that each and every touch-point has the ability to turn into a PR nightmare, then you need to face facts and ensure you have a plan to address and overcome it.

I suppose the real question comes down to whether your approach to PR will be reactive or proactive.

I for one, believe that when producing content for an organization (especially video content), it should be done proactively. This means we need to evaluate the risks as well as the opportunities in advance, while at the same time considering:

  • Not only how the video will be perceived by your target audience, but all possible touch points including media or hostile customers.
  • When the video is released, how could it be twisted or used against you in the future?
  • That a video is never shown in a vacuum.  Consider how the context in which your video is shown changes how your video is perceived (either for the better or the worse).
  • Whether it’s more important to have a slick, polished look (which provides professionalism) or a more authentic approach (which provides approachability) on the technical side.
  • The unintended consequences of the messaging, creative, technical delivery and distribution of the video itself. This is where a 3rd party adds tremendous value as this is often a huge challenge for internal marketing professionals.

So when planning your next video project, consider the same strategies and implications you would for any high profile event or PR campaign.

But remember, you’re not creating video for yourself. You’re creating it for an audience that can either support you or turn against you. So be sure to proactively do your homework in advance to ensure your next video’s success.

Has social media changed the way you use corporate video? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

Mark Drager is the Founder of the Toronto-area Video Production Firm Phanta Media. In his daily role at Phanta, he leads clients through the strategy and creative development processes, which leads to kick-ass, extraordinary video projects. Mark’s been known to be a bit blunt with his no-nonsense, direct approach and he abhors mediocrity. Connect with Mark: @PhantaMedia on Twitter, on Facebook and at by email.