MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Don't Forget Rich Media!

Peggy Dau - Monday, August 31, 2009

MAD Perspectives focuses on digital media strategies. Of course, the plethora of digital media solutions available is constantly evolving.  As a result there are ongoing challenges within companies to determine which solutions are the best fit to overcome recognized challenges or to achieve stated goals.

Thanks to the rise of the Internet, advanced  (and always improving) networking solutions and a myriad of devices, employees are connected 24X7 in the office, at home, on the soccer field or at the airport.  There is much written about employee productivity.  Much of this productivity is due to the use of digital media solutions which are usually categorized as either rich media solutions or social media solutions.  Companies have been deploying rich media solutions for the past 10 years or so.  These video-centric solutions facilitate executive communication, distance learning, remote meetings, product training and more.  With the introduction of social media into the enterprise, one may wonder if it will displace rich media.  In fact, they are complementary solutions that round out a complete communication and collaboration strategy.  They will drive greater productivity and create stronger employee relationships regardless of distance.

A valid question arises about where or why to use rich media versus social media or both.  Today, let's focus on rich media.

When do I use rich media?  Isn’t it more expensive?

These are questions you may ask yourself as you consider alternatives for your corporate communications strategy.  Rich media solutions are optimal when:

a) Visual communication can provide intrinsic value to the message being delivered. 
If there are graphical presentations that emphasize key points, webcast provide a simple forum to share that information.  They are also available after the event for on-demand consumption.  This is helpful to road warriors who are not always online when webcast events occur.

b) It is important for executives to be seen and heard by their workforce.
When any level of executive is delivering a message regarding company policy, performance or process, it is meaning for these managers to enable their teams to "see" how important the information is to them.  It reinforces their commitment to the message and often rallies the troops to understand or adopt message content.

Solutions such as web conferences, video conferences or telepresence are viable solutions.  Selection of the appropriate rich media solutions is dependent on the size, geographic location of employees and type of message being delivered.

c) Virtual face to face collaboration enhances interaction.
The ability to see your teammates greatly enhances any kind of collaborative session.  It is important to build a personalized business relationship.  Reading their facial expressions and body language can highlight issues or concerns that may not be raised verbally.  On the other hand, participants can see the excitement when they come to agreement and are moving a project forward.

Video conferencing at the desktop level or in telepresence scenarios provide great value for these meetings.  Factors such as number of participants, goal of meeting, capability of solutions should be considered when planning for or utilizing video conferencing solutions.

The bottom line is to think about what we are communicating and why.  This drives the selection of the appropriate digital media solution.  In some cases, traditional solutions such as email and the phone are still the best way to connect.  Think about what you are communicating (budgets, project updates, strategy, product announcements, financials, etc.) and the confidentiality or regulatory concerns associated with it.  Then consider who needs to consume the content.  With these questions addressed, the appropriate solution will become clear.