Crisis communications is part of life in any business and unfortunately, the financial market is not immune. It's simply a matter of, not if, but when. In the wake of the 2008 crash, financial institutions shored up risk and crisis management processes in order to be better prepared. As a result, Chief Risk Officer roles began moving beyond compliance to risk function leadership, and financial companies were making strategic technology investments to drive improved crisis response.
Most, if not all, of you in the financial industry have labored through emergency communications scenarios using standard information dissemination tools: emails, conference calls, FAQs. They are static, not interactive, difficult to update with new information, and impossible to securely contain within a set group of people. Not only that, the very nature of finance has us deluged with information while we run to keep pace with the market. No one has the time, or the inclination, to stop and read a wall of text on a screen.
The Case for Video's Powerful Benefits in Critical Communications
Video has proven itself as a transformative tool to communicate – Skype, Facetime, Vine and YouTube are just a few applications people are using routinely in their daily lives – and it is changing the consumption model in the financial market. In fact, according to a study sponsored by 3M and conducted at the University of Minnesota by Douglas R. Vogel, one minute of video equates to 1.8 million words. This is because visuals transmitted to the brain are processed exponentially faster than text, making video one of the single most powerful communications tools available.
The financial industry is already embracing video for standard communications because it is high impact, instant, personal, authentic and easy to access from a variety of computers and devices. Why then aren't businesses, and specifically financial institutions, relying on video as their primary communication tool in a crisis? Barriers that used to hinder the industry's acceptance of video -- production and editing skill requirements, burdened legacy networks unable to support video services, security and reliability concerns restricting its use – are no longer worries thanks to the latest developments in video technology.
This same new video technology provides a ready platform for crisis communications management. Video technology today provides security far beyond that of a Word document, email or conference call, and with greater impact, understanding and retention. The richness of a thirty-second video can replace multiple pages of memo, and it can't be stolen or reproduced.
If financial institutions embrace video for standard internal communications, such as daily 'Morning Calls,' it will be second nature for everyone to turn to video as the 'de facto' emergency broadcast system handling a crisis.
Video can be used to train management teams on crisis communications protocol, with an archived copy that can be searched for quick reference. In dealing with a natural disaster, a video is an impactful and searchable training tool to demonstrate rescue and recovery tactics. And video can be made available in a variety of ways, such as via an employee portal, published to users on mobile devices, or accessible from employees' home computers. Security is handled through your employee LDAP system and is totally seamless to viewers.
During the Crisis:
The unthinkable has happened: the bank that was 'too big to fail' is failing, or a data breach puts your customers' sensitive information at risk.
A quick video from a company leader lets everyone know what's going on with short-term instructions. Executive staff assemble to discuss strategy with the risk management team, recording a video with instructions on handling media inquiries, customer inquiries and staying on message. Talking points are shared and instructions on accessing email scripts to respond to outside inquiries are demonstrated, more quickly, and with much higher impact and retention, than a written document describing the same.
Or perhaps an environmental situation occurs that puts disaster recovery in motion. A video for updates and instructions for a variety of locations can be recorded and pushed out, and the information will be more impactful and more easily retained than long written documents. If the disaster has impacted online connectivity, employees can still access the video via a smartphone or tablet. They can rewind to review specific content, or search for a keyword to, for instance, quickly get to a specific instruction or information for just their location.
As a crisis situation evolves, a video blog can be quickly recorded and inserted into a blog post, or can be captured 'on the fly' within a blog post. Or you can prepare and share a slide deck on the situation, and record a video to go through each slide thoroughly, leaving nothing to chance or misinterpretation. Today's video platform technology even allows you to pre-set the video to be automatically deleted after viewing, so there are zero worries that anyone is viewing an out-of-date version or allowing it to fall into the wrong hands. You can also track who has viewed it, and who hasn't, so you know exactly who is up-to-date and who still needs to be informed.
What to Look For
Crisis communications requires careful management and rapid distribution, and video technology supports those needs while providing communications that are more effective and impactful than a static email, a tired FAQ, a slide deck trying to stand on its own, or a group huddled around a speakerphone in a conference room.
To leverage today's video technology for your crisis communications, choose a video platform that can deliver video inside and outside the firewall, with on-premise and cloud capabilities so it's available anywhere, anytime, on any device. It should be highly secure so only the right people view the videos. And it should be searchable so individual nuggets of information can be easily found, referenced or updated as needed. Far beyond written documents, video delivers secure communications flowing both ways, so misunderstandings are minimized and even obsolete.
Financial crises not only arise with little to no warning, the risk of impact from negative incidents is greater than ever. Whether it's a data breach, a compliance snafu, a regulatory crisis, an environmental disaster, a rogue trader or a cloud outage, you're managing a crisis. It's important to be prepared, organized and to have your communications plan and tools on standby. If you wait until a crisis hits to put a plan together, you're too late.
--Vern Hanzlik is EVP and general manager of Qumu, a provider of tools businesses need to create, manage, secure, distribute and measure the success of their videos. Vern has spent the last 20 years building and growing enterprise software and service companies such as TEAM Informatics, Stellent and Sajan Software before joining Qumu in 2012. Vern holds a BS degree in Business Administration from University of Wisconsin-Stout.