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Video First: An Executive Approach to Brief Yet Impactful Messaging

I’ve had a lot of executives in my circle ask me to explain myself when I refer to Qumu as a “video-first” company. When responding, sometimes I find it easier to begin with what video-first doesn’t mean. For starters, video-first companies do not leverage video for a once-per-year, 90-minute, all hands broadcast—or a studio-produced, canned video that takes weeks to develop. These initiatives of course have their place, but they are typically way too long and far too infrequent for an audience to gain anything significant from them.

Then I ask these same leaders to think about the makeup of their employee bases. If their organizations reflect the global workforce even moderately, half of their employees are in the 20 to 39 age range. And these employees leverage Snapchat, FaceTime, Instagram and Facebook—they live and learn in a short-form video world, and would much rather watch their content than read or listen to it. And they are certainly not going to sit through a 60-minute presentation of the company’s 2021 business strategy with any degree of enthusiasm or engagement.

And make no mistake, I’m not talking about catering to short attention spans—an unfair yet common characterization regularly leveled at younger generations. In this day and age, teams want to hear from their leader both often and organically, regardless of their classified generation. This simple reality, combined with the speed of business, calls for a video-first culture in which EVERY communication should lead with video as the first choice when in-person engagement is not an option.

In my experience, across organizations brief, impactful messaging is not only preferred but also significantly more effective. For example, just last Thursday I used video to deliver my monthly live update to the entire company in 18 minutes—which included a very active Q&A session. And every Friday I send out a recorded video update on the week’s progress towards our strategic plan. I can quite literally launch a short live broadcast or create a brief on demand message from my home office, and deliver it to a global audience of unlimited size, securely and with no technical help. And the better news is, any of you can do the same thing.


So to answer the original question, “video-first” is all about making video the primary method of communication and engagement for ALL leadership messaging—not just the events we as leaders believe are the most important, or the longest. And by keeping the message pointed and relevant, employees will not only watch the entire video but also understand it, remember it and respond to it. And what executive doesn’t appreciate getting some of their time back every day, or better yet giving time back to everyone in the organization?

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you have questions about driving a video-first culture, either complete our Contact Us Form, or you can request a one-on-one meeting with me directly using the new Book Time with TJ functionality on our website. Take care.

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