Think for a moment about a memorable commercial. What made it stick in your head? What did it teach you about the product? And why does every car insurance company have an amazing advertising team?
The commercial may have introduced a new character or showed a recurring one. Maybe it engaged you visually. (I always fall for pizza commercials.) The combination of a commercial’s images, sound, and text makes visual media a powerful promotional and educational tool. It’s also a versatile way to communicate benefits information.
Videos are great for telling stories and connecting emotionally with viewers. People unconsciously place themselves in the position of the on-screen characters or react to upbeat music. It’s also an easy way for viewers to consume information, especially in the benefits world. Reading a 20-page handbook is a chore. Watching a 60-second video? Easy. And that’s because audiences are impatient. Unless you keep your video short and sweet, audience attention will drift or disappear. So, we recommend that you keep your videos brief.
Also, you don’t need to buy a prime-time ad slot or have a big budget to make a benefits video. The best news for HR teams is that videos can be as complex or simple as needed. We’ve created entire video libraries on benefits, covering every detail of health, financial, and work-life benefits—all of them about a minute long. We’ve also created a 45-second video clip as part of a campaign. The video option you choose should always be part of a comprehensive communication strategy. If you don’t have supporting materials or a resource that provides more information, a video may seem out of place and won’t be as valuable.
One of the most frequent questions we get is about the different types of approaches used in videos. The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do with video. Here are the types of videos we use most frequently—and when you should consider them.
Slideshow. A slideshow is a simple video that can be used to promote an event, show program results, or convey straightforward information. They make great digital displays in spaces where you don’t have available sound.
List. If you want to communicate multiple messages about the same subject, a list can help you tie them together. Think of it as an animated slideshow on one topic.
Sample of a commercial video
Commercial. Good commercials show us why a product is attractive. If you want to increase participation in an underutilized benefits program or drive up attendance at an event, consider promoting it with a snappy and fun commercial on your website. Commercials are also great for social media ads and other places where you want to capture attention. Make sure to focus on only one message per commercial. Competing messages will dilute its effectiveness.
Sample of an animated video
Animated video. Our clients often need to explain unfamiliar benefits concepts in a way that laymen can understand. The subjects are often convoluted and always sensitive. Animated videos are great for breaking down confusing concepts into digestible pieces of information. When done properly, these videos can simulate the feeling of having a conversation with an expert. The style can be anything from simple graphics to sophisticated, custom animation.
Sample of a whiteboard animated video
Whiteboard animated video. This is a popular style of animated video that is used a lot for benefits and HR. Just like any type of animated video, it can be very effective at breaking down complex information. A caution with the whiteboard animated video, though: Because of the nature of this style (where things are sketched and written on screen), it can take longer to get through a concept than with other styles. Not all audiences will have the patience for that approach.
Live action. If you want to establish an especially close human connection, substitute animated people for real people. We love live action videos to promote success stories and build a more emotional connection. We’ve produced them for launching new programs, explaining detailed leave benefits, and celebrating the success of big initiatives. Live action can be combined with animation and other styles. Creating your own video footage takes time and effort, but the results are well worth the investment.
Not sure where or how to get started? Always think about video in the context of what you’re trying to accomplish with your communication strategy and how the video help your people take action.
Chris Fielder, Staff Writer, has been with Segal Benz since 2019, working with private sector employers, public sector entities, and multiemployer trust funds.