– Jason Sprenger – President, Game Changer Communications

Imagine for a moment you’re back in the year 1963…the time of Mad Men, the beginning of Beatlemania, the year of the “I Have a Dream” speech.  Who’s the most trusted man in America?  You might be surprised that it wasn’t Martin Luther King Jr., or even the remarkably popular President John F. Kennedy.  It was Walter Cronkite, the legendary CBS news anchor.  And since Cronkite, who are the others deemed to be the most synonymous with trust among Americans?  None other than Tom Brokaw and Jon Stewart.

A while later, in my final semester of college, I did a honors capstone project on levels of trust in various media over time.  I tried to determine whether or not certain world events such as 9/11 could cause spikes in trust/favor among media, and whether those trends were unique to certain kinds of media.  My research produced results suggesting a strong correlation between higher levels of trust and visual media – specifically television.  It also indicated massive spikes of trust in broadcast media in times of national and global crisis – times when people were emotional and vulnerable, and needed reassurance and leadership.

These are just a couple of examples that suggest video has always had an incredible impact on individuals, and on our collective society.  We place a high level of trust in the people who talk to us and tell us how it really is on screen.  We celebrate the people who entertain and educate us through the movies, television and other visual arts and disciplines.  We remember vividly the experiences we’ve had and shared through visual media.  We treasure video memories of our families, because nothing quite takes you back in time like seeing and hearing scenes from the past.

Lately, through content marketing, organizations everywhere have begun to harness and leverage the power of video.  Consider these statistics (source: Hubspot and www.insivia.com):

  • When video is included in email, click-through rates increase 200-300%
  • Simply having video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%
  • YouTube reports mobile video consumption increases 100% every year
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online
  • Real estate listing using video receive 403% more inquiries than those without
  • One minute of video has been estimated to be equivalent to 1.8 million words
  • Enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%

Clearly, video works.  So what do we do about it?  First, we find ways to integrate it into our operations at all levels.  Everyone from rank and file employees to executives to outside stakeholders is using and responding to video, so why not use the medium to our advantage?  Second, we get smart about the laws around ownership of video, the nuances of using and borrowing video and other items.  Lack of knowledge and certainty in these areas will hold us back from using video in the ways we could.  Third, we encourage open and frank discussions about visual communication in business and in society.  We owe it to ourselves to make sure that we’re continuing to use this still-evolving medium in the most efficient, ethical way we can.

With the changes in technology, media channels, concepts like virtual and augmented reality, etc., video will surely grow and evolve in the years to come.  It will only become a more central component of our lives, and our organizations.  It’s up to us to embrace this trend, because those of us who figure it out and do it well are bound to come out ahead.