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Corporate Video Enhances Your Communication Strategy: “The Ordinary Message in Extraordinary Ways”

I dare you not to communicate. Go ahead, I dare you. Try it. Try not to reach over to your smartphone. Try not to open a new e-mail. Try not to type a quick instant message. Try…

My point is you can’t not communicate. Yes, I realize the blaring double negative, but it’s true! Communication is innate to our being. It’s one of the many fascinating things that make us human. We communicate—all the time, every time, about everything.

This desire to communicate is no more apparent than in the workplace.

Let’s face it, we all have a lot of work to do that requires the minds of many talented people; and so we not only want to communicate, but we need to communicate. Whether you are setting up conference calls for team communication or rolling out a mass e-mail to inform your company of a major development, you have a message to share, you have something to say.

And while war room meetings, telephone conversations, written e-mails and newsletters are tried and true methods for getting your message out there, video proves to be one of the fastest growing communication platforms. In his 2014 recap of CES for The New York Times, Nick Bilton writes, “Ooyala, a mobile research firm that collects data on the viewing habits of 200 million online video watchers, reports video consumption on smartphones and tablets continued to rise rapidly through 2013.”

Even more compelling—100 million Internet users watch an online video every day according to Sarah Mincher’s blog for DigitalSherpa.com. It’s a no brainer—corporate video should be at the forefront of our communication strategy. Why? Because corporate video is efficient, both collaborative and interactive, and most importantly, it’s connective and engaging.

First and foremost, corporate video provides efficiency.

Take for example a major product launch. Let’s pretend you need to share with both customers and your employees new developments in your product offerings. Have a look at how Cisco promoted its latest ACI roll out:

You lock down a conference room large enough to cram a few hundred people inside to recap the key points of your announcement, but how do you get that message to people based in different parts of the world? Do you fly out to each country to deliver the same presentation? Seems costly. Do you schedule multiple sessions to accommodate everyone’s schedule? Seems time consuming. However, recording that session and making it available for your team to watch on their own time allows for a cost effective and efficient solution. The beauty of corporate video communication is its reach. Video knows no limits—whether your audience is small or large, local or international, readily available or challenging to schedule, a video can get your message to its intended target.

Furthermore, corporate video communication is collaborative and interactive.

It takes a lot of talented people to produce and green light a video. Rarely is corporate video the creation of a single visionary. Instead, it requires a team effort to create a unique concept, to plan a realistic execution, and to mold the final piece. Check out how Cisco University Careers highlights the Finance Rotation Program for career seekers:

The collaboration of content experts, producers, directors, editors, and many more improves the chances of getting your message across successfully. Your bases are better covered as multiple people view your video to provide insight and feedback that you may not have considered.

And in the off chance that your corporate video slightly missed the mark? No worries, your audience is going to tell you why it didn’t work and likely explain what they would have wished to see; because video communication is not only collaborative in making, but interactive in its distribution. Often, we share our corporate video communication on interactive platforms—think YouTube or internal websites—sites where people can leave comments, rate content, and provide feedback.

Sounds like a scary invitation for critique? No! Think of it as market research, audience analysis, metrics that will help you to better craft and hone your communication strategy.

Finally, corporate video is connective and engaging.

It connects people to people, to narratives, and to engaging discussions that they wouldn’t necessarily have access to in their ordinary workday. Watch how Cisco CEO John Chambers invites and welcomes thousands of attendees to Cisco Live!:

In fact, 75% of executives watch work related videos at least once per week according to DigitalSherpa.com. This is especially important for those major corporations where thousands of employees dispersed all over the world must find some way to stay connected to the heart of their company’s mission. It’s easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to our work, to focus on what we need to do to be successful as an individual, and to assume that everyone else is aware of our tasks. However, we are one of many, and corporate video helps to keep us accessible to one another.

I once had a client ask me if I’d ever seen our CEO in person. At first I thought she was joking, as I assumed everyone must bump into him at some point in their career. However, she further explained that she’d only seen him in videos, and like a ton of bricks I became hyper aware of the importance of corporate videos. How would some of the employees of a global corporation “see” their international colleagues, their CEO, and their executives without corporate video? I was reminded of the many communication opportunities corporate video provides employees as things like company-wide broadcasts or streamed conventions allow thousands to watch their leaders have discussions, introduce new strategies, celebrate accomplishments, and work through challenges. I began to wonder if a company as large as Cisco could maintain a sense of unity, pride, and success without the connectivity provided by corporate video?

Luckily, corporate video will continue to grow as employees and customers look for collaborative, interactive, engaging and efficient ways to connect people to their messages.

Ah, but at what cost you ask. We’ll tackle that issue in a future blog.

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Social Media and Valentine’s Day: 5 Things They Have in Common

February 14, 2014 at 10:44 am PST

It’s February 14, and Valentine’s Day is already trending on Twitter. It’s estimated that more than 60% of adults will take time today to honor the important relationships in their lives. According to History.com, approximately 150 million cards and gifts will be sent. Couples will go on dates, friends will celebrate, and millions of people will exchange loving sentiments. Social media sites will light up with Valentine’s Day comments and pictures of happy couples, gifts, candy, and flower arrangements. It will dominate your newsfeeds and social streams, but what else do social media and Valentine’s Day have in common? Here are 5 things they share (and what you can learn from it).

1. A celebration of relationships.

When I was a child, I couldn’t wait for the Valentine’s Day gift exchange at school. It was a bright spot in the middle of a dreary winter season. I would carefully select a Valentine’s Day card for each of my classmates and drop it into a decorated box. I’d quickly run back to my own box, empty it out, and sort through all of the cards. I felt special. Important. Believe it or not, a similar scenario occurs daily on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Think about it. These sites offer the digital equivalent of the Valentine’s Day card exchange. We create an online “box” and decorate it with pictures, profile information, and branding. We then encourage people to visit our boxes and “like” or “follow” them. When someone likes a social page, a relationship begins. With any blossoming relationship, what you do next is very im Read More »

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Measuring (and Improving!) Digital Experience

February 10, 2014 at 10:13 am PST

There’s an adage that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” and all of us that are in the business of managing or running things pretty much live by that.

But, how to do you measure something as squishy and ephemeral as an “experience”? And, what experiences are worth managing? At Cisco, we’ve taken a very focused approach to managing the online experience you have in web, mobile and our social media: We focus on customers’ and partners’ top tasks and missions with us, and then we measure relentlessly the success, failure and satisfaction on those. This allows us to reduce complex experiences to a set of trackable numbers that we can manage. We take this approach on big things, like the experience of getting support answers online. In fact, usability guru Gerry McGovern explains this approach to “Top Task Management” in a recent article featuring Cisco’s Bill Skeet. And we also take the “manage the experience approach” on little things — those simple but important tasks that people do with us every day. Read More »

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Digital Technology and the Olympics: When Is it Cheating?

February 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm PST

We all know how close we are to our mobile devices and digital technology, and how much we rely on these new tools – 87% of us use our mobile device while on the go and 81% of users read email on their mobile – and all of us use some combination of the web, mobile, video, social media, computing power, collaboration tools, and digital networks in our daily business lives.

We take advantage of advanced digital technologies for efficiency, effectiveness, and loftier performance in business, so why wouldn’t an athlete use these technologies to their advantage while in training or on the field of athletic competition?

  • football helmetNFL quarterbacks have in-helmet speakers and microphones to get plays called-in from the coaches on the sidelines (as noted by the green sticker on the back of the helmet).
  • The America’s Cup racing teams go to elaborate measures and spend incredible sums of money to hone their boat hull technologies for competitive advantage.
  • Better strength-training machines (and outlawed performance-enhancing drug cocktails) optimize the human body for maximum performance.
  • Special fabric technologies reduce wind- and water-drag for a few hundredths-of-a-second advantage in skiing and swimming competitions.

The examples are all around us, in virtually every sport or game, including the university-level, professional, and the Olympics. Read More »

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Continuing to Connect The Previously Unconnected…

The Cisco Sports & Entertainment Solutions Group is the worldwide leader in “Connecting the Unconnected” fans around the world. It’s not just something we say, it’s something we do day in, day out with our customers and partners in more than 200 stadiums across the world and also during Global Mega Events worldwide. Cisco is known for pushing the envelope and changing the way we work, live, PLAY and learn. We continue to bring the most innovative solutions to the industry, and since 2005 our goal to connect millions of fans with the action has come true across more than 30 countries, with teams, venues and leagues who are successfully using our Portfolio of Technology Solutions.

To name a few examples of world-class venues -- the amazing MetLife Stadium (New York), the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans), Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis), AT&T Stadium (Dallas), and Sun Life Stadium (Miami). The demand for a proven technology solution is growing leaps and bounds.

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