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Engagement and brand promotion with employee video contests

Online video contests are a fantastic tool for brand awareness. They allow companies an effective way to engage with their most loyal customers, and have those customers contribute to their marketing efforts by providing their own unique and engaging entries.

However, video contests should not be reserved only for external customers. In fact, to do so would be to ignore a company’s most valuable asset, their employees!

As companies aim to realign their message, relaunch their brand or release new products it is critical to the success of these initiatives to have the most important people to the organisation, the employees, aligned to and supportive of the mission.

While management and HR plays a role in communicating visions, goals and workplace culture, a recent Oracle study titled Simply Talent has revealed that peer employees are the top drivers of employee engagement. Employees look to their fellow workers to find inspiration at work, particularly millennials.

A great way to create a peer-influencing environment is to establish a company wide video contest that promotes your internal message and seeks to influence peers.

Video competitions (or any type of competition) are also a great way to encourage internal innovation by providing a vehicle for staff to express their ideas and be rewarded for their efforts.

To get you started, here are some tips for holding an effective employee video contest:

(1) Have a legitimate reason

Don’t hold a contest for the sake of holding a contest. Your employees will instinctively know if the contest serves a genuine purpose or not. They are much more likely to want to be involved if the contest is legitimate.

A good scenario is to hold a video contest that coincides with a new product or brand release. Have your employees create videos to internally promote the new product throughout the company.

(2) Set the bar low

You don’t need Kurosawa-level entries. In fact you don’t need entries with any particular technical excellence. All you need are entries that show that employees have made a genuine effort to produce something based on the brief.

To ensure that participants are not scared off, it can be helpful to provide a couple of example videos as a guide – these videos should deliberately not be of too high a standard.

Remember that user generated content is 50% more trusted than the professional equivalent.

(3) Make it easy to enter

Whatever technical solution you use to collect and judge the entries, the emphasis should be on making submissions as easy as possible.

Depending on the type of contest, entrants may be submitting raw video directly from their smartphone, or they may be first spending time editing the video on a computer. Either way, the process of entering and uploading the video needs to be as seamless as possible to ensure that it never gets in the way of someone submitting their entry.

(4) Teams are fun and effective

To really boost engagement and also promote collaboration, require or encourage your employees to enter the contest in teams. By creating a collaborative environment for teams to work together to formulate their combined message, it can not only create a more compelling entry but it can also tap into friendly cross team rivalry providing extra incentive to win.

Bringing a team together gives you a far better chance of finding an effective mix of abilities, and can also provide an opportunity for people in different departments to work together for the first time.

(5) Thoughtful prizes

It might be nice to imagine that employees will participate in a video contest purely out of an ingrained love for the company. Or perhaps staff will all submit entries simply because the boss told them too.

Option 2 is slightly more likely than option 1, but really, both of these are wishful thinking.

To ensure a pool of worthwhile entries, employees need to be motivated with a well-thought out set of prizes. Cash and vouchers are nice, but there are plenty of other interesting non-monetary options that can be effective too. These may include company-wide recognition, annual trophies, lunch with the CEO, or flexible working hours.

There should also be more than one prize available to ensure that entrants have a reasonable chance to win. Consider 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes along with alternate categories such as Funniest Video.

(6) Promote

Ok, so you’ve established a compelling reason, a clear brief for your entrants, positioned some fantastic prizes and are now ready to kick off the contest… Now is the time to promote like crazy!

Publish in the employee newsletters, create an “in your face” announcement on your intranet with a link to the contest, and create your own internal email marketing campaign to get the word out. Perhaps the CEO should even send a company-wide note. The best approach here is to use the same skills and tactics you would use for external promotion and don’t hold back. A catchy slogan to go along with contest is another great addition.

Perhaps most important of all, continually promote the progress of the contest and recognise initial entrant contributions. Promote the ongoing status of the contest whenever possible and encourage everyone to get involved.

(7) Keep going

Once a video contest is run and won, don’t just forget all about it.

Some of the entries will probably be good enough to re-use for company marketing or internal education campaigns. Furthermore, the teams that were formed to create the videos are too valuable to disband completely; look for more opportunities for these teams to work together so that this sort of collaboration stretches beyond just contests.

And finally, the end of a competition is the best possible time to start brainstorming the next employee video contest. Be sure to carry out a thorough review of the contest and make the next one is even more effective.

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