Corporate videos online – seven of the best, two of the worst

Here, Jason Sumner provides a round-up of some of the best videos on the corporate web, and two that stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Imaginative. Memorable. Watchable. These are words not usually associated with corporate videos.

That is why it is a surprise and a delight (for those of us who spend our days evaluating the quality of online corporate communications) to find corporate videos that are genuinely engaging. The best corporate videos also have what we call editorial impact – putting across a key strategic message – whether it’s about innovation, nurturing employees or the company’s commitment to the environment.

Here are seven of the best online corporate videos that our consultants have seen recently, and two that are firmly in the ‘what not to do’ category.

Ørsted – ‘Home. It’s not what we think it is’

Currently available on the Danish energy company’s global home page (www.orsted.com), the 3-minute video has a clear purpose – to introduce the company’s name change and new business strategy, which focuses on renewables. It is also moving at times (for this viewer at least) – a rarity for corporate videos.

IBM – ‘First AI Companion in Space’

Filmed from a unique perspective, this imaginative video strongly puts across the message that IBM is at the forefront of innovation, and is a commercial for IBM’s artificial intelligence product, ‘Watson’. The absence of narration across just over a minute of video works well when the ‘AI point of view’ is so well realised.

Nabors – ‘Meet Dave, Floorhand, Big Piney’

Nabors is an US-based oil services company that has a range of global office-based positions, as well as a number of jobs on its fleet of land-based drilling rigs. In the corporate world, employee profile videos rarely venture outside the office environment, which makes this 2-minute video so refreshing. Dave is remarkably open about the benefits and drawbacks of life on a rig, but ultimately concludes – ‘I could never see myself doing an office job now’. It provides authentic insight for people considering the same work. Dave also manages to include an endorsement of Nabors’ commitment to employee safety.

Lilly – ‘Sweethearts in Science’

A clever and fun take on ‘The Newlywed Game’, where couples who also work together at the US-base pharmaceutical giant talk about their ‘worst date’, ‘best trait’, ‘irritating habit’ etc. The tone shifts halfway through, with the couples discussing why Lilly is a great employer.

LVMH – ‘In Situ’ videos

An oldie which we have written about before, but still a goodie. The luxury goods maker invites users to ‘take a glimpse at the daily lives of our employees’ with short, fly-on-the-wall films following a range of activities across the company’s brands. They range from a press team meeting at Paris department store Le Bon Marché to a morning briefing at cosmetics brand Sephora in New York.

BAT – ‘This is the man’

A 5-minute film that has been on the British American Tobacco site for some time, but which is not any less memorable for that. It is the only corporate video that we know of with a murder in it. (And a bomb going off, and an age-appropriate warning).

PBS – ‘Value PBS’ films

PBS, a public television network, is loved and hated in the US, but they are tapping into the love for fundraising. These short films come from outside the conventional corporate world but are worth looking at for ideas about subject matter and keeping to a consistent theme. 

Two of the worst corporate videos we’ve recently seen come from Danaher, the US-based industrial equipment and healthcare conglomerate, and Softbank, the Japanese telecoms giant.

Danaher – ‘Our shared purpose’

At first this 3-minute video appears to be a fairly conventional (and mediocre) effort. However, if you watch it all the way through (which we do not recommend) it takes all of the weaknesses of conventional company films to new lows. It is full of visual and editorial clichés: ‘Our shared purpose is in everything we are, and everything we do’; ‘It’s why we view every challenge as an opportunity’. It also lapses into jargon – ‘(our shared purpose) is operationalised through DBS’; and over-statement – ‘For us, (our shared purpose) is our greatest reason for being’.

Softbank – ‘Softbank’s Next 30-Year Vision’

This 2 hours plus film must be seen to be believed, and we confess to only having watched parts of it. Technically this is a webcast, not a film, but it continues to be promoted on the company’s online ‘Vision' pages, despite being 9 years old. Although there may be cultural differences at work, to Western eyes it is odd, rambling and offputtingly long.

First published 23 January, 2019
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