Few organizations use video in a wider variety of ways than a college or university. Think about it: communicating with alumni… getting on high-school students’ consideration lists… convincing accepted students to commit… keeping parents informed about what’s going on at school… helping faculty members share their research… showcasing their campus to students too far away to visit. Video can do all of these things exceedingly well, but having so many audiences and kinds of video can create serious content management challenges.
Wesleyan University, a prestigious liberal arts university in Middletown, Connecticut, knows all about the power, potential, and pitfalls of connecting with their many constituencies via video. They have been working with Brightcove for eight years, and in that time we have helped them build a video platform that is powerful and versatile enough to handle whatever they need it to do, yet so easy to use that anyone can upload video and deliver it to the correct destination without needing sophisticated IT skills.
When students couldn’t be on campus, video brought the campus to them
As it did for so many organizations, last year posed some special challenges for Wesleyan. According to Manager of Video Services and Lead Video Producer Melissa Rocha, “When we interview students and we ask them, ‘What made you want to come to Wesleyan?’ a lot of [them] say, ‘When I was walking around campus on a campus tour, I just felt something here.… I felt it was the place for me.’ Obviously, during the pandemic, that was not an option. So I think [we] needed to really somehow try to get that on-campus experience across to people, and I think that that's where video can play a really big role: in being able to get that feeling.”
The university relies on the emotional impact of video – its ability to convey the spirit of “Wes,” as it’s affectionately known – in all of its communications. Notes Interim Marketing Director Melissa Datre, “We use it in every aspect. We do highlight videos, small pieces. We do longer format video. We use [it] on our website as part of a marketing campaign. We have video playing, showcasing drone shots, so you can get a real sense of what it’s like to come here. We're a nice, small, residential school – we show that off through video. We tell stories about our students. We have athletics – thirty teams. We have a lot of great features about the value of Wesleyan that we use video to showcase.”
Before choosing to work with Brightcove, the school had been hosting their videos on another platform, but the environment was a bit too unpredictable for an institution like Wesleyan. “I don’t like it when a video plays and at the end of the video a random video pops up to be played next, particularly when our audience consists of prospective students and parents,” observes Datre. “With the Brightcove system, we have total control over our video and video players.” Adds Rocha, “We don’t have to worry about ads popping up; we don’t have to worry about related videos that have nothing to do with Wesleyan popping up. We have a lot of control over it, [and] the process [of getting video] into Brightcove is smooth and easy.”
Brightcove gets an A for ease of use
In fact, having a platform that’s very easy to use is an essential element of its power and versatility. It doesn’t matter what a system can theoretically do if there’s a bottleneck because only a couple of people understand how to upload video into it. That’s where the Brightcove platform shines. “Brightcove makes having a place to deploy our finished video product simple and easy to navigate. It's like a one-stop-shop for the finished video,” explains Rocha. “And if there are changes that need to be made, it’s super smooth to be able to go into the media module and edit a video. If we have to edit the title, description, tags, even upload a new thumbnail, it’s so simple to navigate and to use, and I think that the end result, when it’s actually on a webpage, looks really clean.”
“There’s so much more video to manage,” offers Datre. “Brightcove makes it a lot easier to upload, manage, and access our video content and analytics, which makes our process much more efficient. It’s a time-saver for faculty and other department staff to be able to upload video and place it on their website through a single form. With this self-serve approach, we are able to free up our resources to focus on the content rather than technical support to deploy the videos. If we were using another platform, we could not have this automated process. Brightcove also helps us meet ADA compliance guidelines. Like many universities, Wesleyan requires all public-facing content to have closed captioning. Brightcove’s integration with third-party closed captioning tools streamlines this process and optimizes our resources. Our experience with other platforms’ closed captioning, while free, is that it is not very accurate and requires several extra steps to review, correct and then upload the final video.
A video platform should open up possibilities, not limit them
“It really is amazing the level of sophistication we have with the Brightcove platform. It’s easy to use. It’s intuitive, which, trust me, is hard to find these days. I can remove or change out videos quickly and without changing the Brightcove ID (link to the video). It makes several renditions of a single video file, which is important to us to be able to reach an international audience or places where video playback and bandwidth may be a concern. The analytics and reporting [are] very good. There’s certain filtering I can do, so I can get pretty granular on what I want to analyze, and I have the ability to generate reports on a video or group of videos ad hoc or on a regular schedule. I wish some of the other software platforms we work with had that kind of analytics.”
Wesleyan takes a lot of pride in educating the leaders of tomorrow. And Brightcove takes a lot of pride in supporting their video leadership today.