video in strategy
video in strategy

Make your strategy personal with video

We bet you have seen a good film about people. But have you seen a good film about strategy? This is where you need your employees to keep it real and personal.

By: Anna Porko, Communication Advisor, & Lars Wittrock, Senior Creative Advisor & Video Specialist (April 10, 2018)

An organizational strategy is often an advanced document with facts, figures, buzzwords and high-level business jargon. And it needs to be: It is the realm of net profit margins and compound annual growth rates, of five-year goals, efficiency optimization and market shares. A good strategy gives direction for the journey to come, and it acts like an umbrella under which every employee has their place.

In turn, employees want to know where they are, and where they are going to – personally. They want to have an answer to the question: What does that mean to me? This means that for rolling out and communicating the strategy, the main goals are to answer that question and to make people feel like: ‘I want to be a part of that journey’. Even when it is hard.

This is not easy to do. People relate to people, to authenticity, to struggle, to humanity. That is not the language of strategy.

Make it personal with video
We bet you have seen a good film about people. But have you seen a good film about strategy?

This is where video comes in. It is a language of its own. With video you can build soundscapes and landscapes, tell stories, connect. You can make it count for somebody. You can use film to evoke emotion in people and through emotion you can create commitment and engagement.

The classical strategy video is an explainer, going into details on what is to come and how it affects the organization. Instead, make sure to answer the why. Leaning on your vision and mission, this video is all about why you are on the journey of your new strategy. It is close to branding, and the aim is to make your people feel like they want to be a part of that journey.

Make time for the process – it is essential
It takes time and countless brainstorming sessions to write a good manuscript for a video that personalizes something as unemotional as strategy. Writing a story that is honest, personal and relatable based on a strategy document is hard, but worth it. At its best it creates trust, it can comfort, give a sense of belonging, and evoke pride.

The jump to a more personal, storytelling style on strategy can be big and difficult to make for most organizations.

So, one thing to reflect on: How would you feel if your strategy video made your people proud enough to want to show it at home too, saying: ‘This is what I am a part of’.


Five tips of the trade

The strategy might change over time, but the longer journey remains. If you remember this in your communication production – in your strategy film – it is easier to be true to the larger organizational context and keeping it relatable. These five tips can help you along the way:

  1. Keep it real and personal
    Experiment with first person telling and use real people and let them use their voice. Remember that people relate to people.
  2. Know your people
    Research and use storytelling methods.
  3. Be honest, authentic and believable
    Avoid jargon and nonsensical phrases.
  4. Include adversity, difficulty or challenge
    Overt positivism is easily perceived as false.
  5. Speak to the hearts
    Make it count.