As leaders of companies, it’s becoming more important that CEOs get involved in the conversations that are happening online (through both internal and external channels).
Their voices help shape their brands’ identity and provide a more human connection to their employees, customers, prospects, strategic partners and suppliers.
An important way they share their voice is through video.
In fact, a report from Weber Shandwick found that:
- More than half of public company CEOs (58 percent) appear in video, with private company CEOs (52 percent) not far behind.
- These include repurposed clips of CEO speeches and TV interviews, one-on-one interviews and clips of the CEO speaking directly to the audience. Topics covered in CEO videos include customer insights, company news, market predictions and industry outlook.
CEO's are using video to reach internal and external audiences, because like many marketing and communication teams who work for them they understand that videos humanise executives.
For global organisations with a large geographic footprint, video is an especially easy way for CEO's to help their employees feel more connected to them, aligned to their vision and connected to their message.
So, what’s stopping your marketing and communications team from capturing engaging content of your CEO to share with both internal and external audiences?
Why aren’t you providing a regular platform for your CEO to connect with these audiences?
There are usually just three reasons.
The first and probably the most common reason is that CEO's are busy – in fact, around 80% of them get their day started at 5:30 a.m. Calendars tend to be crammed with phone calls, meetings, speaking engagements and travel.
The second is that the marketing and comms team may have tried video with the CEO before and found that rather than the rockstar performer that their CEO is in meetings, at conferences, in press interviews, social and business engagements and everywhere else - on camera they came across flat, uninspiring, unengaged, perhaps even a little like a deer in headlights and the video just didn't connect with the audience.
The third reason is price and ROI.
When it comes to their overall video strategy CEO videos don't often get the priority they should (they get more priority for internal comms than they do for external but again if the video isn't well executed for internal comm's its still not going to generate ROI for the time and effort it takes to create), many marketers want to (naturally) focus on the candy content and less on the substance content because the candy content more often than not draws eyeballs and the substance content takes time to grow its audience.
Good news is that all three reasons can be easily overcome and if you put in place the right strategy, execute the content with the right approach and team and deliver it effectively to your audience - you CAN turn your CEO into a rockstar CEO for your audience.
Let's break this down one by one...
Getting the appropriate amount of time and maximising its use
As we've already stated time for CEO's is precious, so don't waste it.
With the right planning and the right team of expert video content makers you can effectively capture content to support up to eight videos from a single 60 minute sit down with your CEO.
This is a great way to capture content for the following kinds of videos:
- Thought leadership videos
- Company culture insight videos
- Industry trend videos
- On-boarding introduction videos
- Company vision statement videos
- FAQ videos
- Production introduction videos
- Invite/event promo videos
- End of year wrap up videos
- Key client or prospect video message
- Annual report statement videos
And there are probably at least a half a dozen more...
We know what you are thinking...
"Content for up to eight videos in just sixty minutes? Impossible?"
Well it is...
In fact we do it all the time and the results we get speak for themselves.
How do we do it?
In short: experience, lots of preparation, a clear understanding of the audience, the objectives, the messaging and a razor sharp undistracted focus that comes from understanding our subject's time is important and we need to get the best out of them and get out of their way so they can get on with doing what is most important to them.
There are also a few other key small steps:
- Keep the videos short (60 to 90 seconds max)
- Film early in the day when the CEO has plenty of energy and enthusiasm
- Arrive at least an hour or hour and a half early and set-up so that when the CEO arrives there is no waiting for lighting, sound or make-up... You are on and you are ready to go.
- Don't script too much and keep each of the videos to just three key points
- Shoot with more than one camera so you can make the video more dynamic through a variety of angles and shots that keep the momentum moving and enable cut points more easily.
One of the keys to this working though is to use a team who do this all the time.
When you hire amateurs or rely on doing CEO videos internally yourself through cloud based video solutions or low rent videographers you don't get professional results.
You need a director who understands how to get the right on-screen performance from your CEO by asking leading questions, guiding the CEO through how to condense their answer to get to the secret sauce that they know needs to be in the edit, ensuring that their hair is perfect, the lighting looks good, that they look relaxed, natural, comfortable yet still command respect and present with integrity.
It's actually no small ask.
It's a big deal and you should treat it as such.
A key tip if you are looking to produce longer format content with your CEO such as a strategy video or a key note address video is that you should look for a date in the calendar well in advance where you can secure the CEO for a longer block of time.
You may even want to book some time in the CEO's calendar for some short rehearsals for such content so that again they can look their best and present their best image on camera.
Avoiding having your CEO look awkward & unapproachable and getting them to connect to their audience
Through our 27+ years of experience, we’ve seen people of every level struggle the first time they get in front of the camera.
From CEOs and Prime Ministers to graduates and tradespeople, we’ve seen people of every level of experience jam up and struggle the first time they need to record a video.
This is totally okay.
No one is alone if they are struggling or scared of the video camera and how to connect with it the same way they do with people.
Trust us – it gets much easier with a little bit of time and practice and there are techniques and tools which skilled film makers use to make it easier for them.
Below are just a few of our tips:
- If you want the CEO to look down the camera for an interview video use an eye direct kit (or the interrortron as Errol Morris calls it) this device enables the CEO not to look at the faceless lens of a camera but instead to see the face of the interviewer (if they are skilled and talented) as they ask questions and react appropriately to the CEO's response and engage them in a natural conversation.
2. If you don't want the message to be direct to the audience and you want it to feel like an interview... Shoot it like an interview and have the CEO look off-camera. People inherently understand the language of filmic interviews now and they don't need to see an interviewer to know that the person on camera is talking too or engaging with someone who is driving the conversation.
3. If it needs to be a concise statement where the wording has specific implications (particularly if those implications are of a legal nature) use a Teleprompter and have the statement scripted. You can still make this feel like an interview by positioning the Teleprompter off-camera (in the same position where the interviewer would sit) and again with an experienced director you can use cinematic tropes and tricks to make the statement feel more unscripted and genuine.
4. If you want your CEO to feel connected to your internal audience... Don't film them in their office or boardroom... Take them to a common area in your building or even an outside or public space that makes them feel accessible and real.
5. Make the interview conversational. CEO's are great in conversation. It's one of the ways they get to be CEO. You can use this to your advantage by making the interview more conversational in nature - this can include unscripted questions that naturally flow off what the CEO is saying, this in turn allows the CEO to engage in the conversation and pretty soon they forget the cameras are even there.
6. Take quick breaks to quickly analyse responses to questions and remind yourselves of what's most important. This works well when you feel an answer isn't clear enough or could be sharper, more pointed and focused for the audience - it is always quicker and easier to do this on set that to manufacture it in the edit suite.
7. Make sure that the CEO looks great at all times. You don't have to constantly fuss over them but making sure their hair looks good, their tie is straight, they aren't sweating or their make-up isn't running is crucial to making them look great on camera... Also keep water close by so that if they dry up they can have a sip of water before continuing.
Making more cost effective CEO videos that deliver ROI
Many marketing and communications team think the answer to making CEO videos more cost effectively is to make them internally or to use the lowest cost supplier to create the content.
As we've already outlined in the first two points above this is rarely true in reality and if you look at the view counts, shares, comments, likes and value chain created by such approach you will see the ROI in it is practically non-existent.
The most cost effective way to create CEO videos that deliver ROI is still to hire people who understand implicitly how to get the most out of your CEO so that their message ties in with a particular audiences want and need and resonates and communicates a specific business objective.
If you are looking for quantity find a supplier who can work with you to create up to eight pieces of relevant content that can be captured in an hour and then polished in an edit for release and distribution.
If you want a quality message designed to reach an external audience (and don't forget CEO's are great brand ambassadors they can be good for brand orientated content) stick to our main rule for this content:
- Hire a team who can execute your plan flawlessly
If you want an indication of costing for something like what we have proposed reach out to us, the team at APV.
Executive interviews bring a great deal of power and expertise to a company’s overall marketing strategy. Videos that feature the CEO can be used internally for all types of communications and messaging and all along the customer journey, from building awareness to helping differentiate your company from others. The CEO can outline the company’s vision, highlight new products, enhance recruiting efforts, provide thought leadership and so much more.
At the end of the day, you can build a small quarterly library of videos that can reach your employees, prospects and customers… Just by conducting a well structured, well planned, well executed one-hour interview session with your CEO.
November 28, 2018