Best practice in CEO storytelling.
Since video content has become an integral part of corporate communication nowadays, companies use this medium on their websites to engage visitors and bolster the message reach and effectiveness. Although the omnipresence of video content is becoming more and more evident also in digital reports, there is still only a handful of companies that create high-quality CEO videos. Some of them, however, like the Vienna Insurance Group, have got this discipline down to a fine art!
Videos are a perfect means of drawing attention in the web predominantly flooded with text. Not only do they drive traffic to your website but also increase the reach of your message that can be delivered much more quickly and does not require as much effort in perception as reading long and often complex texts.
Before we move to some of the most impressive CEO videos spotted in recent digital reports, what are the benefits of producing them in the first place?
- Creating CEO image: CEO videos contribute to the overall CEO communication and help shape a desired CEO image. Showing the person being in the lead gives your company an authentic personality, which is very often simply identified with the personality of your CEO.
- Influencing investors: Although the production costs of a CEO video are sometimes higher than a simple Board photo shooting, the digital distribution options are much bigger. Whatever the cost, it is worth it: according to studies, the image of the CEO has a direct impact on investment decisions.
- Strengthening the bond with your stakeholders: No photograph or board letter, even with a handwritten signature, can address the stakeholders in a similarly direct and personal way as a CEO video. The CEO shows respect and appreciation to the users of the report by taking the time to deliver a personal custom message.
- Standing out from your competition. A well-made CEO video is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition. Not many companies have the vision and the creativity to make a living, breathing representation of their mission, goals, and values visible in the digital report, embodied by the CEO. Remember: although oftentimes ignored, digital reports can serve as a powerful communication platform.
Outstanding CEO videos in digital reports.
VIG: interview with a personal touch
The CEO video created by nexxar for the 2020 online annual report of the Vienna Insurance Group is a fine example of how to best convey the CEO personality. Instead of featuring a typical frontal footage, the video with Prof. Elisabeth Stadler was inspired by the reportage style and thrives on its authenticity and genuineness. Although the video content focuses to a large extent on the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges of the financial year, the CEO is also simply presented as a person in her usual work environment. Various takes by the camera accompanying Prof. Elisabeth Stadler in the Vienna Ringturm interchange with classic interview footage. Numerous close-ups support the personality and give the sense of “closeness”. The concept draws on some typical characteristics of a reportage – from incorporating the “moving camera” to creating a very natural lighting ambience.
DSM: walk and talk
The Dutch company DSM was able to achieve a very authentic and natural effect with their Co-CEOs message prepared for the company’s 2020 digital report. The concept refers to the current COVID-19 circumstances and shows the Co-CEOs taking an easy walk in nature in a wintry atmosphere at -7 degrees, while at the same time reflecting on the company’s 2020 performance and looking ahead to 2021. The video aptly draws on the fact that the coronavirus pandemic made many of us slow down. Even though the Co-CEOs are the two most important people in the company, they can only do what everyone else does during a pandemic – stick to the rules and take some fresh air. Choosing exactly this kind of scenery and storyline evokes a sense of solidarity and trust, both being crucial for a health and nutrition company like DSM.
adidas: running with champions
The adidas CEO video produced for the company’s 2018 online annual report is still a showcase of great creativity in terms of concept. The first scene starts at dawn in adidas’ new headquarters in Herzogenaurach, which was still under construction at the time. There is a single runner jogging on the company’s new premises. He “leads” the audience through the video as a main protagonist, while at the same time he remains unidentified – you never see his face. Sequences of emotional sports and brand highlights as well as key figures for the financial year are faded in. Not until the end of the video does the runner turn around and turns out to be adidas CEO, Kaspar Rorsted. Thanks to the imaginative storyline and the overall dynamic, the video suits ideally to convey the spirit of the sports company.
Helsana: team video with CEO statement
Helsana, a major Swiss health insurance company, presents the user with a slightly different approach to the CEO statement. In the company’s 2020 digital annual report, we will find a CEO and Chairman message along with another video that has been particularly highlighted on the landing page – a team video. Under the motto “Gathering opinions”, Helsana lets its employees talk about the 2020 performance, enabling the audience to learn from the team themselves how the company coped with the challenges of this demanding year. We see several employees reviewing 2020 in a typical interview situation. The last opinion that concludes the video is stated by the most crucial team member – the company’s CEO, Roman Sonderegger. This concept evokes the impression that the CEO is communicating “through” his employees and conveys a great sense of team spirit.
Bosch: classic approach
The CEO video by Bosch created for the company’s 2020 digital annual report can be seen as a best practice but also “classic” example of combining a video interview with animated highlights. The video not only transports the charisma of the CEO, Volkmar Denner, but is also a perfect embodiment of the report motto itself “Shifting paradigms: Creativity. Technology. Trust.” Short and dynamic takes show the CEO recapping the top events of the year 2020, interlaced with footage on the topics discussed, when the CEO is mentioning them. The expressive and convincing way, in which Volkmar Denner communicates, is additionally highlighted by animated phrases and keywords appearing on the screen. Video content focused on technological advances and creativity along with the sense of trust constitute a perfect fit for a company like Bosch.
pbost: 7 questions for the CEO
The biggest Belgian mail company presents the user with quite an unconventional CEO interview that literally stands out. The CEO is confronted with seven questions concerning the company’s strategy, mission and vision written on… postcards that are waiting for him in seven different bpost vehicles. Dynamic takes show the CEO trying out each of the vehicles and answering the questions. The concept is based on the reportage style and creates the impression that the CEO takes part in an experiment, all this staged in an incredibly witty way. Videos like this one resonate long after report publication and will certainly be remembered.