The Medium is Not the Message

Move over, Marshall McLuhan. If you’re creating corporate videos, the medium is not the message… it’s just the mechanism. But how you use this medium can make your message tangible, accessible and inspirational to your target audience. (Though it can just as easily make it opaque, The_Medium_is_Notconfusing and dull without the right execution.)

Some believe the advent of HD video recording on mobile phones has turned corporate video-making upside-down. True—anybody can now make a video. But will “any” video help you grow your enterprise?

After all, this is your business we’re talking about—not a birthday party.

So the technology, however simple or complex, shouldn’t be the message either. Making a video has never been about the technology. It’s about creatively using the appropriate tools to deliver a result for your business. It’s about combining the right concept, writing, lighting, direction, footage, sound, music and visual effects so that all of these things become invisible and the audience is drawn into the story you are telling — without thinking about how it’s being told.

So how do we determine which technology is appropriate for your business video? As you might expect, it depends on your purpose:

  • If your CEO is delivering a message of austerity, create a clean, simple and straightforward look. Use professional equipment and film-like lighting to project professionalism and crediblity (to build trust and confidence), and steer clear of complicated camera moves or effects (which might look frivolous).
  • If you’re trying to persuade customers that your new product is something they can’t live without, it’s time to make some noise. Punctuate bold claims with eye-catching shots and effects. Support your case with provocative copy presented in an unexpected fashion. Use production design to envelop the viewer in your brand. Grab their attention from the start and set a pace that leaves them breathless (and ready to find out more).
  • If it’s important for your prospects to see how the new facility in Alaska operates, send an experienced crew to document what goes on there. Have them take the camera places your eye would rarely go, for a unique perspective on your capabilities.
  • And yes—if you need to break through to a skeptical audience—you might consider sending the V.P. of Sales out with his iPhone, asking customers to speak their minds for a gritty, real-world, man-on-the-street experience. Then select carefully from the resulting video, using minimal editing and effects. (Side note: To ensure you come back from the field, with usable audio—which is often a problem on cell phone videos—bring along an experienced sound tech with the necessary tricks and tools to capture audio through professional microphones and patch it into a mobile phone.)

The good news is, communication technology continues to change, becoming ever more accessible and affordable. What remains the same is the need to always know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And that means thinking through your objective and choosing the right technology to achieve it.


Rick Cornish creates communications that inform, influence and inspire… helping organizations increase sales, promote unity and persuade their people to embrace change. Working in video, corporate meetings, event marketing and more; Rick delivers purposeful creative that drives business results and builds stronger brands.

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