User Generated Video Content (UGVC): ‘Home video’ or powerful peer-to-peer engagement?



drp’s Head of PR and Marketing Ryan Curtis-Johnson has been speaking to Director of drpvideo, Dagmar Mackett about the significance of User Generated Video Content in corporate film making;

Ryan: Dagmar, “User Generated Video Content” is still very much on people’s agenda, isn’t it?

Dagmar: Yes, that’s true, and with the easy accessibility of digital devices that can produce half decent moving images, and of course platforms to distribute it, it’s not going to go away. In the corporate context, it means that it’s increasingly used to disseminate information and messaging.

Ryan: Your team’s business is corporate film production – are you worried about this?

Dagmar: No, not worried. Technology has made it possible, economic circumstances have made it inevitable, and it’s up to us to embrace it. It also demonstrates advocacy: the fact that companies use more and more User Generated Video Content shows they understand how powerful video is. Video communication in whatever form is something they want to do, and they know they need to do to communicate effectively with internal and external audiences.

Ryan: So do you think UGVC should play a role in helping businesses tell their corporate stories more effectively?

Dagmar: Absolutely, although you have to carefully think about its application. You need to ask whether it’s the appropriate approach for the intended audience or circumstance to get a particular message across. Our role in this is to keep a view of the bigger picture and advise clients as objectively as possible.  Not every piece of communication lends itself to UGVC, but in some instances it’s the right approach. As the experts, we can advise on this and also suggest ways of integrating UGVC into the comms mix.

Ryan: So do our clients ask us for advice?

Dagmar: Absolutely. A client came to us recently asking about whether getting some of their employees to do some filming was a good or bad idea. At first, they were actually a bit nervous to ask us for advice, thinking we might feel offended. But I was really pleased that they did ask, as it showed that our relationship is built on trust. We discussed the project and their rationale behind the user generated content was absolutely right; for this purpose of simple yet effective and credible peer-to-peer communication about an urgent topic that applied to only a certain group of employees, it was spot on. We even worked up a little instructions sheet with the essential dos and don’ts of filming to give them a little help. And we also edited the footage into a little package, which was then quickly distributed internally.

Ryan: We produce regular internal programmes for a number of clients. Do they use UGVC, i.e. footage produced by employees?

Dagmar: We have had a few instances where for certain elements of regular programmes employees had been asked to send in their contributions. And that can work really well provided it’s properly thought through and built into the overall flow of the programme. Generally, our experience with regular internal programming is that the employees are looking for a professional production that’ll make them come back for more next time. But some UGVC can add a bit of credibility to it – and fun!

Ryan: Do you see a standalone application for UGVC in the corporate comms mix at all?

Dagmar: I think that UGVC in its purest form, i.e. you film something and upload it straight to a digital platform, has only very limited application within the corporate comms mix. As a corporate communicator, you need some sort of control over what’s said on behalf of your company. So you need to apply guidelines that people adhere to before they start pressing the record button.

Ryan: Are there any particular issues to consider with UGVC?

Dagmar: Image quality, obviously. However, more often than not we find that sound is the biggest problem. People often forget in the heat of the moment that the sound matters hugely.

Ryan: It all sounds like UGVC is not necessarily as easy or cheap as some might think.

Dagmar: It can be inexpensive but sometimes the assumption turns out to be a false economy. If you do decide to incorporate UGVC, you need to think it through and ensure it fits into your overall comms mix. Guiding and controlling the content is the first (inexpensive) step, but it’s collating it, editing etc. that takes time, and it most instances, money.

Ryan: So perhaps not quite as simple as it sounds. So why do companies encourage their employees to produce and submit user generated video content?

Dagmar: I think in this day, where everything is fast paced and transient, and companies are expecting a lot form their employees, UGVC can give a sense of participation, making your voice heard, no matter what level you work at.

Ryan Curtis-Johnson and Dagmar Mackett

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