Here come the videos

June 4, 2007

One phenomenon I’ve been watching with interest is the growth of video as means of mass/individual communication. I’ve commented frequently on how effectively the Coast Guard uses video as part of their public affairs operation and other companies, such as Starbucks and JetBlue have used video effectively as key part of a crisis management response.

My thoughts on this this morning were further spurred by watching yet another political video. I won’t provide a link to it because that would make this blog more political than I want. It showed a mock ad on a Fox news program promoting a drug that will help you get over your symptoms of ambivalence over one prominent candidate.

The point is not the particular ad–it is video and its increasingly pervasive, creative, powerful and ubiquitous use in today’s communication. Video production has become democratized. New easy to use video capture, editing and publishing tools are emerging rapidly. (To prove this point, I just made a quick video on my Mac laptop, uploaded it and here is the link to the Quicktime version.)Video conferencing via web is being built into all laptops and is part of the increasingly popular meeting applications. YouTube and other video publishing sites are spurring on the use of video with surprising rapidity.

This political season is being driven to a remarkable degree by online videos. Some candidates like John Edwards are leading the way in terms of use of YouTube as well as videos on their websites. And since politics is mostly driven by those who detest particular candidates, the opponents of specific candidates are filling the Internet with all kinds of videos–like the one referenced above–demonstrating their animosity as well as creativity.

Politics once again provides leadership in adapting to and innovating new means of communication. Those in business or organizational communication ought to be paying close attention to what is happening in these campaigns. Because what candidates face today particularly related to those who hate them or oppose them, is what you will face tomorrow from your activists and opponents. Business competition may look like this. Activist action will undoubtedly look like this as it increasingly does today. And just plain old every day communication between boss and employees, between CEO and the leadership team, between a company and its customers and an organization and its stakeholders will look like this.

If you aren’t ready for video, look out. It is ready for you.

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