We have the ostrich to thank for the expression, but ostriches don't actually bury their heads in the sand. It's a phrase derived from the habit of Struthio camelus, or the common ostrich, of burying their eggs in the sand, and several times a day putting their heads into the nest to have a peek.
Businesses on the other hand are busy looking everywhere other than where they should be looking, which is directly into the lens of a camera.
A study by Dr Thomas Webb of the University of Sheffield defined the 'ostrich problem' as 'the idea that there are times when people would rather not know how they're doing. Avoiding monitoring may allow people to escape from negative feelings associated with an accurate appraisal of progress'. Progress in business today means getting a hold of your video content, but the skittishness prevails, and for good reasons.
Here are some reasons that businesses still avoid thinking about video.
1. "Who's going to do it?"
The 'who?' is the primary question for a business that is hoping to take a hold of in-house video production. If video is not your core product, it is difficult to justify taking on new staff to essentially create a mini-broadcast team within the company. It's desirable of course but rarely feasible. The natural home for video in your business is the marketing department. No matter how big or small their numbers, the marketing team need to fly the flag for video. Assigning responsility for video to early adopters on marketing teams and empowering them with some basic skills through training is the most important step in the march forward. At the very least, this will tackle basic output for social media. And when you need third-party content, good training in content structure and genre will allow the team to commission with confidence.
2. "We'll never be able to do it well!"
When video is not your core product, it can seem obscure and inexplicable. It's the stuff of smoke and mirrors. While the consumer is not intimidated by video and producing content themselves, it seems that business is lagging behind, held back by fear of the medium. The stakes are high. A disastrous first attempt at Facebook Live on the company's page is enough to put anyone off and send video back to the whiteboard for another day. But video is learn-able and do-able. The key is proper training. Video is a language with its own lexicon and grammar. And just like a language, it can be learned and practiced. We wouldn't expect anyone to represent the company in a foreign language without a learning period and some kind of aptitude or interest. Video training has become crucial for business, and this kind of investment in personnel will grow confidence, eliminate the fear factor and add value to your company.
3. "Where will we get the time?"
There are only so many hours in the day and most of those are already squeezed tight. The last thing anyone needs is an extra set of tasks to worry about. But video doesn't have to takeover time. If decisions are made in advance and based on realistic expectations, video provision can become as efficient as the photos we snap or the content posts we write. It is hugely time-wasting to approach any task without a time-frame, a structured workflow, an agreed outcome, and a feedback process. It's exactly the same with video. The point is to have a plan which can then be reviewed and improved upon. So if Tom is attending a conference tomorrow, he might commit to say, three video clips of a particular genre (Facebook Live one-plus-one interview) over a particular period of time (six hours, one every two hours). When he has achieved the agreed video objective, he will stop. If he reports back that it was onerous, the workflow can be reviewed and he might do two longer clips next time instead. But regardless of teething problems, video needs to be built into the day as an ongoing task in an achievable way. Abandoning the task altogether is not an option.
4. "How much is this going to cost?"
There is a perception that video is expensive. And high-end video production is just that. But outsourcing video to feed voracious social channels even on a semi-regular basis is going to eat your marketing budget out of house and home. Defining the types of video you actually need will help you to spend in the right place at the right time. Spend money on your signature video content, the big stuff. And for the bread-and-butter social media presence, empower the marketing team. Invest in meaningful training. Make sure there is a team member at your event who has been charged with delivering video. Make sure they have some basic equipment to enhance their output. And quantify the results in relation to the small spend it will cost to keep you relevant.
It's safe to say that ostriches are not too bothered about the future of video marketing. But in business, we can't afford to hide.
As Chris Trimble put it in The Guardian, 'Video is the future of content marketing. Small businesses who ignore it do so at their peril.'
Niamh Guckian is the Director of Go Motion Academy
Providing Training in Video for Social Media & Digital Marketing