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Jon Honeywill

Leading from the front through video and audio

Getting your message across

The world is being turned upside down by the challenges of COVID-19. Businesses, now more than ever, will need the trust and support of all of their stakeholder groups as they struggle to cope with the new reality. Delivering authentic communications in a relevant and timely way, that reach and engage your disparate and remote audiences, has never been more important.


The value of video

Amid COVID-19 people are looking to digital channels more than ever before to drive human connections. Video is the perfect medium to reach broad audiences as it is accessible and easy to consume.

–     Communicating to a wide range of stakeholders is important in situations of uncertainty where people need access to information and reassurance.

–     In the current situation, a medium that can be created with just one or two people and spread widely on digital channels holds immense value.

–     The rise of mobile video and easy distribution tools means that it can now be produced relatively cheaply and quickly.

–     Video can promote the humanity of CEOs and CFOs - the real people at the top.


How is video being used through the crisis?


There has never been a more important time for leaders to be seen and heard. The authenticity of your CEO delivering a message straight to camera cannot be beaten.

–     These videos deliver company updates, guidance, support and reassurance.

–     Aimed at a specific stakeholder group, or a broader audience.

–     Often these videos are filmed as direct to camera pieces by the senior leadership team.

–     A number of companies have delivered CEO or leadership videos since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.


–     This approach tells a story about how the company is responding to the crisis, such as how it is supporting stakeholders or health and safety issues.

–     These videos aim to provide more insight into a specific aspect of a company’s business, relationships or operations.

–     Often these videos use a mixture of interviews and footage, or animation. Featuring a broad range of employees is a good way to show how a business is effectively managing the crisis – together.


–     We will start to see videos look forward as companies come out of the crisis, that highlight learnings, new goals and the new normal.

–     Opportunity to show how the vision, purpose and culture of the business is resilient and relevant.

–     Creating an ongoing narrative with stakeholders as the business adapts and responds.


Embrace the potential of podcasts

Over the past few years, podcasts have emerged as a new form of distributing audio content to a broad, international audience, with the medium particularly popular among younger audiences and digital natives. In the UK 7.1 million people now listen to podcasts a least once a week, that is 1 in 8 people, with a 24% increase in listeners over the past year.


The benefits of audio

–     Content can be played securely anywhere and at any time – whether you’re multitasking or driving the car.

–     With the rise in remote working and globally distributed teams, organisations are seeing private podcasts as valuable tools in helping employees feel connected and aligned with their leadership.

–     People are more likely to engage cognitively and emotionally with stories transmitted in a purely audio format compared to by video or text.

–     Podcasting platforms enable you to track who listened to your podcast – giving you greater insight into the quality and value of your content and messaging.


Top tips for creating a podcast

Podcasts are becoming mainstream for long-form content, and a podcast ‘campaign’ is a great way to communicate a more in-depth story and start building a community around a specific topic.

–     Utilise the skills, experience and personalities from around the business – internal experts can hold compelling interviews.

–     Build an ongoing campaign and a creative identity for your ongoing audio communications and use social channels to inform the audience.

–     Share more than just updates – share stories. Take the time to share good news stories and positive developments.

If you would like help with bringing your story to life through the power of film and audio, contact Naomi Hawkins at nhawkins@blacksunplc.com


Black Sun is a stakeholder communications agency. We help businesses to communicate authentically how they deliver value to inspire, engage and influence their important stakeholders. We believe that inspiring strategic communications can spark positive change and drive long-term, sustainable performance. We want to work with companies who want to build better businesses through better communications.