This guest blog was provided by Mikael Hellman, Visual Communication Manager at the City of Malmö, Sweden.
Like most communities world-wide, it's vitally important for municipalities to communicate with citizens and employees. As the Visual Communication Manager for the City of Malmö in Sweden, a large part of my work is to ensure that communication happens through online video. All citizens have the right to know what is going on in the city and all employees should have the right information to perform their jobs as efficiently as possible. Video is key in this process and supports The City of Malmö’s goal of open and transparent communication.
In Sweden, a large part of the population uses the internet and around 90% have access to broadband. According to ”The Swedes and the Internet,” an annual Swedish publication, around 84% of Internet users aged 12-20 years , 78% aged 21-35 years, and 46% aged 36-65 years old watch online video content.
As a tool for communication, video is becoming more and more important. Today users expect video content across all branded websites; whether organisations are operating in the private or public sector. We already know that video can be used to improve marketing efforts for consumer brands - there is plenty of documentation to support this - but video can also be used to support the communication efforts of major public sector organizations or cities.
Video speaks to society
Malmö has gone from being an industrial city to a young, modern city of knowledge. Today, Malmö stands as Sweden’s third largest city with a population of around 310,000. In 2013 Malmö was ranked the fourth most innovative city on the planet by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, with 6.85 patent applications made per ten thousand people. As a municipality, Malmö is responsible for a large part of public sector services, and for us, the most important task is to ensure preschools, schools, social services, and vulnerable citizens are easily able to access all the information they need about the city.
Across all these stakeholder groups, video has helped us clarify the services we offer, what projects we are working on, and how they are progressing. Video now sits at the forefront of our new transparent approach to communication with citizens of Malmö. To maximise the impact of our video content, we operate two separate video archives, one for internal content and another for external. By ensuring that we tailor content dependent on the audience, The City of Malmö is at the forefront for utilising video platforms for both corporate communications and citizen and tourist information.
Building consistent communication with video
All 22,000 employees of the City of Malmö's organisation need to have access to consistent information to do their jobs effectively. Working with Brightcove we now use video content to inform and communicate with employees across the entire organisation. The internal Malmö network now has access to videos that describe the various active projects as well as inform staff of the latest business updates from the organisation.
All seventeen of our departments can now produce and control their internal videos in a way that they previously couldn’t - whether a newsletter from managers, management information, training videos, or video seminars. Our experience has shown that by using video content across the organisation, we have improved the consistency of our message and fostered greater understanding amongst staff.
Building a showreel
To showcase all of our video content, we created a video archive that is a mosaic of different kinds of videos with different qualities, lengths and content. A big part of the positive outcome of the mosaic is that we have created a video-friendly climate and our communication officers now want to communicate through video.
Video is an extremely effective tool in driving awareness and revenue, so it made sense for us to use that power in our external and internal communications. The most important thing to us is that we provide videos that create added value for our citizens and videos that help us as employees in our daily work.
Evolving the video collection
Over the years, we have learnt by doing and, as our video presence has increased gradually, we have become better at making the right videos and not just using video for the sake of it. In fact, since 2009 we have added more than 1,100 videos to our video archive.
As a city we have many areas where we can utilise video, for instance; democracy issues, labour market, employer branding, economy, eGovernment, healthcare, integration, equalities, culture, environment, political governance, city planning, schools, social care, care for the elderly and much more. By taking the success we’ve already seen and continuing to implement videos in these areas, video will continue to be a powerful partner for Malmö now and in years to come.
Recording our success
Based on our successful implementation of video archives and increasing the amount of video content we create, we’ve learnt so much about the value of the medium for communicating both internally and externally. The most important lesson learnt is that if you give people video, they will watch it!
The end-goal is not to accumulate the most views, but to have the content seen by the people who need it. If we have 10 managers that need to watch a particular video, we can send it to them and they will watch it. Video allows us to get specific messages heard by the right people.
Video: a shareable tool in the public sector
In contemporary society, with an increasing amount of media consumed via online platforms, video represents a familiar tool which is also inherently shareable. This allows us to draw a significant return on investment as we can simply update videos with new information accordingly, rather than ‘reinventing the wheel’ with new communication. We are also able to directly measure the impact of a video with analytical tools, this informs us of how well content is resonating with its target audience.
Based on the city of Malmö’s experience, I strongly recommend the use of video for communications to other public offices. We actively encourage our employees to get involved in the video process and make it a part of their day-to-day communication. We’re constantly taking on board the feedback we receive – from our employees and external stakeholders - to ensure that the videos we create add value to our core audience.
This video is an example of the content Malmö leverages and is about Alayna Spratley who moved to Malmö to be with her boyfriend. The video is part of a series called "I live in Malmö," which includes various portraits of people who live in Malmö.