In the absence of almost all face to face interactions in our working lives, it’s amazing how quickly in isolation we have adapted and gotten used to viewing each other as small, slightly pixelated digital beings, via video platforms like Zoom or Teams.
Videoconferencing tech is nothing new of course, but as the pandemic hit and businesses were thrown into a productivity and process mega maze, many turned away from the previously omnipresent Skype. Suddenly, the two decades old warhorse and enabler of innumerable awkward business conferences, found itself losing ground to new players like Zoom whose relevant features and call quality saw its popularity absolutely skyrocket.
In March 2020, as the pandemic hit, these new fangled business communication apps saw record levels of growth, reaching 62 million downloads during the week of March 14th-21st – the highest number ever seen*.
Whichever video platform your business is using to stay connected, it’s safe to say that when this uninvited hell storm is all over, their continued usage will undoubtedly change our business lives forever.
Their growth unquestionably spells the end for many interminable motorway trudges for two-hour long meetings that could just as easily have been had over the phone, but I personally don’t see this as curtains for face to face, whites-of-the-eye meetings that help cement the valued relationships upon which our business lives are built.
And while video conferencing has without a doubt underpinned and helped shape our shared lockdown, I also don’t see the new normal being one in which more authentic, shot-at-home-look-at-my-gaudy-decor-style video will be sole king.
When lockdown struck, advertisers, sensing an opportunity, were quick to mobilise, creating authentic looking, cutesy, amateur video pieces – often using platforms like Zoom – starring ‘real’ protagonists in their own homes. From building societies to supermarkets, car manufacturers to food brands, everyone was at it, and as a result this type of content has quickly become as ubiquitous as coronavirus itself.
In the absence of crews and lighting, and with literally no other alternative other than curling up into figurative silent, gently rocking foetal balls, brands promoting themselves using this more gentle, scissors and tape style of production struck a chord. They judged it right.
But as with all well intentioned efforts, there comes an inevitable saturation point. Good video content should inspire and help us escape, not be a constant reminder of our current pickle.
So, when this is all over will there still be room for big, disruptive, brash, ballsy branded video content? I certainly hope so. Authenticity is incredibly important in storytelling but once we kick off the slippers and roll back the stone, let’s remember the production values that made beautiful video such a compelling marketing proposition in the first place.
*App Annie 2020