Is it possible to turn employees into your very own film crew? The short answer is yes.

Rolls-Royce has and Iain Lumsden (pictured), Business Partner – Cascade Channels, Internal Communications, is here to tell us what they’ve been up to, what we can learn and why it’s worked.

I’ll hand you over to him…

Iain LumsdenHi I’m Iain from the Rolls-Royce internal communications team.

First off, no I don’t get a Rolls-Royce company car. I wish I did!

In fact, we’re not the car brand at all. We make the engines, turbines and power systems.

As a result, a large bunch of our 50,000 global workforce is on the engineering and manufacturing ‘shop floor’ – historically a challenging audience to engage with, and a key part of our communications strategy.

Working in various comms roles over the last 10 years has taught me how powerful user-generated video content can be (when done well) to share stories.

It’s raw. It’s authentic. It’s engaging.

(Couldn’t agree more, I call it #wonkycomms – see my blog post from earlier this year, Rachel)

So, late last year we started looking at video making services and came across Seenit.

They make it super-easy to shoot video on your smartphone via their app, which uploads the content to an online edit studio for you to stitch together.

rollsroyceAnd at around the same time, we switched from our corporate BlackBerrys to iPhones, which meant we now had the tools to create a global film crew.

Since then we’ve used Seenit for a number of different global video projects and campaigns – from International Women’s Day to various air shows and even ‘day in the life’ style pieces featuring interns job-shadowing senior leaders.

We’ve also used it to get employees, particularly on the front line, to share their stories about how they’re supporting our business strategy.

The response has been staggering.

For one of our first projects we received over 400 videos from colleagues in the UK, Germany, Singapore and the States, all within a week. Something that just wouldn’t be possible without enabling colleagues to roll up their sleeves and do it themselves.

Here’s a short snippet of a video we made from the Berlin Air Show, where a bunch of colleagues all filmed clips from the day.

Things I’ve learned along the way

  1. Not everyone is a natural when it comes to shooting video on a smartphone 
    You’ll need to give a lot of guidance and support to get the best results. These hints and tips  have been really useful to show what ‘good’ looks like.
  2. Pick your projects wisely
    Once you get going, there’s a tendency for people to want to make user-generated videos for absolutely everything. I’d suggest focusing on the big ticket stuff that you know will have the greatest impact in the business.
  3. Don’t forget governance
    A lot of companies, including ours, have policies on where you can film on site, and the kind of stuff you should avoid capturing on camera. It’s really important to remind people of these policies when filming in order to stay safe and have fun.

Through user-generated content we’ve created a real step-change in our communications.

Sure, sometimes it looks a bit rough around the edges, but the majority of people in the business don’t mind.

In fact, they think it makes it look more authentic.

As comms professionals, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we get our message to our audiences.  Sometimes, it’s about helping them get their message to you.

You’ll often be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Post author: Iain Lumsden @iainlumsden.

First published on the All Things IC blog 10 October 2016.

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