Text vs. video

– a totally different brain-game

Suddenly, video became nearly as cheap and easy to produce as written text. Technically, that is. Because, regardless of communication tools, today’s accelerating information overload makes it more difficult than ever to actually communicate.

So, what about reading vs. viewing? First and foremost, reading is an act of will, and it takes a certain effort to choose, read and assimilate a written message. A video is way easier to consume; you can virtually do it half-asleep.

The content of this article is partly and freely inspired by a recent article in Entrepreneur by Clicktale web psychologist Liraz Margalist.

Strategic business issues

I am no scientist but, according to those who are, it’s a completely different cognitive process. Video is typically more emotional, seductive, immediately “engaging” and life-like, usually offering sound and language as well as moving pictures. Which is a definite strength in terms of immediate communication. (According to the article in Entrepreneur, the information video is processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than a written text.)

But the very fact that it is immensely faster to consume indicates a double-edged sword. Because it is largely an automated or passive cognitive process, not requiring your focused attention. In contrast, the perception of a written text is a more active, self-controlled and essentially rational process.

Therefore, written text is better than video for conveying more complex messages, and messages regarding more important and issues. Like strategic business decisions, or negotiating major B2B contracts.

No wonder perfume is sold with seductive images and video, and marcom for sophisticated financial services or IT solutions typically require qualified written text.

Different personalities, roles and priorities

Another vital factor is obviously the people at the receiving end – your “target group”. Or, considering the realities of the corporate world, the various individuals affecting the decisions within your target account.

Are there any fundamental differences between the people ending up as CEOs, HR directors or tech specialists? Probably. Their specific interests and driving forces are almost certainly affected by their current responsibilities and aspirations.

To connect favourably with all these people, with their varying rational and emotional relations to your areas of interest, you may well find reasons to use text and video, conveying the same message. Alternatively, you may find reasons to start with a strong emotional impact and move on to rational reasoning and proof as the buying journey proceeds.

Different ways, and one compelling story.

Rolf Andersson
Senior Writer & Strategist at Freya News

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