Monday, 6 February 2012

The Cringe-Factor

Today’s news story in the Sydney Morning Herald is remarkable.

The 10-minute video — entitled "Opportunities to be Awesome" (classy) encourages staff to tell customers about new online self-service facilities in a bid to get more Telstra (Aussie telco) customers using online facilities rather than call centres and shop fronts. This isn’t the actual story though – they’re writing about how embarrassing the video is. 

Fantastic. I wish more journalists would do this.

Remarkable not because of its content or style (which, sadly, is all too common), but because there are so little opportunities to experience any company's internal video culture. They aren’t usually online anywhere you can access easily, and companies seem to keep them hidden.  So when it makes the news, it teaches us all a few significant lessons. 

One reason the standard of programme-making is so poor is that there’s not eough of an  online community tearing down the rubbish stuff and providing an ecosystem that would raise the standards.

Here are three theories of mine – possible reasons that this happens so much in corporate culture:

1.              Everyone thinks they can make TV.  I mean, how hard can it be? We’re creative comms people (really?) and I watch a lot of TV
2.              Low budget means low quality.  Corporate comms departments are being cut. So how come hundreds of independent film makers win awards on one fraction of the budget? With incredible storytelling, passion and execution, too.
3.             Internal communications managers treat employees like idiots. They stoop to the lowest common denominator, and try to hit a massive cross section of a globalised company population. Up your game and the audience will up theirs.

Telstra's response was no surprise.

“While employees have told BusinessDay they found the training video "embarrassing" and "demeaning to staff", Mr Schenkel, who appears in a red hooded jumper, said he was given positive feedback from the first sessions.”

Yeah. I’ll bet. I mean, who is going to tell a senior executive that his video was crap. That’s a career move…

The real shame is that this kind of story puts companies off from trying exciting approaches and creativity, the very things they need to be effective.

My advice:
Choose carefully from agencies that have experience in the approach you are considering...and get out of the way!


Do you have any great examples of patronising internal videos? Let me know! 
I'll start a gallery. That way we can stop some of this happening in future.

No comments:

Post a Comment