Video: The Preferred Medium of Communication, Learning, and Engagement

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The emergence of video as a primary medium of communication is one of those trends whose impact we may only begin to comprehend after it has already transformed the way we perceive, learn, engage, and transact.

Marshall McLuhan in the 1960’s introduced the ideas that the “medium is the message” and that everyone was going to be a publisher and producer, rather than just a consumer of commercially packaged, professionally produced media.

Previous generations, who understood reality through the printed word, was transcended by the Baby Boomer generation which understood reality through television, mass distributed entertainment in records, film, and the electronic printed word.

Now we have several new generations who have transcended the Baby Boomers to primarily understand reality through the visual language of images and video—they both produce and consume—bringing McLuhan’s prophecy to fruition.

Internet video is redefining all aspects of human endeavors: businesses communicate with customers to co-create experiences and improve customer intimacy; non-profits find new donors and acquiring donations from a much broader community; leaders and managers engage with employees to motivate, train, and interact in real and asynchronous time; new educational organizations train and certify highly skilled workforces to increase their individual market value; Talent sourcing and personal brand building can become more effective to bridge the gap between job requirements and career seekers.

Ubiquitous video production, accessibility, interactivity and consumption have grown as broadband capability has exponentially increased. Since 1997, consumer-purchased broadband connection speeds have doubled roughly every four years.[1]

Business Customer Engagement and non-Profit Opportunity

Video is valuable as an engagement tool, and offers some limited analytics. Businesses can measure the number of views, length of view, and compare the appeal of one video with another. But until recently it has been a challenge to link these top-of-the-funnel engagement metrics with transactions that are further down the sales funnel. How does video affect sales revenues, repeat and loyalty, for example?

We are beginning to see some new video apps that address this challenge. Total-Apps, an advanced payment processing solutions company in California, has introduced Video Fundraise ( and Video Checkout (“stoppable video”).

Each application enables customers to view a video and take action on the same screen without leaving the video. Non-profits, for example, can post a video on their Facebook page and then the donor can, as the Total-Apps website explains, “Click. Watch. Donate. All without leaving Facebook”. Monitoring performance and testing metrics are built-in.

Similarly, Elm Innovations in San Francisco is developing a shared marketing platform for non-profits whereby donors round up their credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to the non-profit of their choice. To develop relationships, the non-profit can send video content back to the donor’s mobile device and tailor and personalize the content to the donor’s preferences.

In each case, new analytics streams are opened up. Non-profits can measure donation levels, frequency, preferred content, most effective content, and donor sentiment – and develop new ROI metrics for their marketing activities.

Leadership and Management Engagement

With more telecommuters and geographically dispersed work teams as the new normal, Corporate management is increasingly using video messaging to engage employees in both real and asynchronous time.

Project teams in many companies are also becoming more accustomed to using platforms such as WebEx, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and other platforms that enable real time video conferencing with enhanced capabilities to conduct webinars, seminars, presentations, meetings and to record, archive and disseminate.

Radical Transformation of Professional Education and Employment Recruitment

Video, embedded in online interactive learning systems, is transforming the market for professional education. The great challenge is to upgrade worker skills sets to match the new requirements in the era of Cloud, Analytics, Social and the Smart Machines that will displace up to half of the current job functions in a the near future. Lifelong training is essential to market relevance.

New companies such as Jobna, founded in 2013, initiated a platform with Video Resume, as a time-saving tool that is catering to HR professionals in an easy and efficient manner. Video resumes will increasingly become the norm, supplanting the paper CV as the go to media for talent sourcing.

Linked-In has enabled scale for video resumes and e portfolios. As the largest professional networking platform on the planet, Linked-In will be able to enhance the marketability of millions of professionals with video becoming an integral tool for personal branding.

As the Web exponentially increases bandwidth, and mobile devices evolve to download more sophisticated and complex graphics, video, and applications to a greater number of people worldwide, the promise of video, combined with interactivity, is just beginning.

Related Stories:

THINK Blog: A Revolution in Streaming Video
Thoughts on Cloud: Video, Media and Their Rapid Evolution in the Cloud


[1] FCC Broadband Performance, OBI Technical Paper #4

Global Program Manager, Cloud Communications; Managing Editor, IBM THINK Blog

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