Feature: Helping internal comms professionals think like broadcasters

Helping internal comms professionals think like broadcasters

December 6, 2013

Fifty leading communications professionals joined Lorraine Hambleton, corporate video consultant, and the ITN Productions team on the set of ITV1’s The Agenda.

Produced by ITN, it is the first panel show of its kind featuring top politicians sitting alongside celebrities and opens up politics to audiences in new ways. Lorraine gives Headlines the inside track….

If you’ve not heard of them, ITN Productions is the creative hub of ITN. As well as producing TV programming and commercials for brands, broadcasters and agencies, they have a corporate video production team who are keen to open up broadcast techniques to internal comms teams.

Working with Simon Baker, Head of Corporate Production, we’ve been on a mission to inspire individuals and teams that using familiar TV formats should be seen as a strength for internal communication videos.

In the broadcast world, TV formats are commonly reused because they are tried and tested at achieving ratings. It makes audiences comfortable too. However in the corporate communications arena we don’t really see these formats used as much.

Employees are similar to external broadcast audiences and yearn the familiar. By applying the stuff they see on telly to internal videos:

• audiences get straight to the point of the programme and look forward to it
• communicators can think like broadcasters so that viewers no longer have to re-learn a format every time they hit Play
• messages and calls to action have more impact because unnecessary distractions have been removed

As part of the workshop, we explained the key elements make up a panel debate show like The Agenda. We could have covered other formats from magazine shows, reporter lead films or documentaries. But we couldn’t ignore our fantastic location. The elements included:

• Stories – topics that audiences care about
• Characters – real people who resonate with viewers and are credible
• Videos – to bring stories alive and set a tone for the debate


Bringing these together in a debate show means variety and pace, keeping audiences hooked to the end. It also overcomes the challenge of handling multiple messages, enabling presenters to move quickly through serious and lighter issues.

To help prove the concept, participants had the chance to film their own show, thanks to the help of The Agenda production team. You can see both episodes here http://www.itnproductions.co.uk/work/shape-the-agenda/

The debate topic centred around the use of social media thanks to an infographic recently shared by the Headlines team

Sifting through the feedback, it’s clear that our attendees found the experience valuable. But I did too. ITN Productions prides itself on having easy access to extensive resources and experienced directors to make compelling content for the corporate sector. They make things happen.

When I approached John Keyes, Production Manager for The Agenda I asked, “We’d like to invite communications professionals to ITN and prove how broadcast formats work for internal audiences. Please can we use your set?”

“Of course, we’re One ITN,” he replied.

If that’s ITN’s approach for helping to run a 90 minute comms session, which quite frankly may not rock everyone’s boat, imagine how great it is working alongside them on a corporate video.

The workshops attracted professionals across a range of industries who provided their thoughts on using TV formats and the future of internal video.

The findings will be released as a white paper along with highlights of the debates we had. To sign-up for your free copy, visit http://www.itnproductions.co.uk/work/shape-the-agenda/

Or join the conversation on twitter @ITNproductions using #shapetheagenda