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A new touchpoint is literally in front of our faces

Recently, at an internal Audienz roundtable, we discussed how, as marketing consultants, we can elevate our connection with our clients with a simple trick – turning on our cameras. Turning on your camera personalizes the conversation and creates a memory for your client. No longer is your client sitting in a monotonous meeting after a tedious meeting, staring at the same series of letters or perhaps a static image for hours on end. Turning on your camera not only changes the dynamic of the conversation but also goes a long way towards creating a connection in our new reality of daily Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls. As marketers, we have an incredible opportunity to utilize a new canvas for storytelling: our backgrounds.

When the global pandemic forced many of us into remote working, it became the first time that office workers were utilizing video conferencing software in their daily professional lives. Just recently, Microsoft announced that their Teams daily active users surpassed 115 million, up from the 75 million they hit only six months ago. Google Meet (formerly Hangouts) and Zoom are seeing 100 million and 300 million daily meeting participants. The sheer number of new users opens an unexplored channel, a channel that is not only highly dynamic and customizable but equally personable. The original purpose of the background, to hide a messy room behind you, transformed when Zoom announced that users would be able to upload custom backgrounds. As the feature has become more popular, we are beginning to see creative and talented individuals show off their skills with their new canvas.

While transporting yourself to an alien world, the set of a favorite TV show, or under the sea can help show off your skills and creativity; backgrounds also represent a new opportunity to sell our services to our clients. Backgrounds serve to convey information (imagine sitting in a pitch meeting and seeing past work for other clients floating behind a presenter) but also act as a unique differentiator. Suddenly, between your meeting and the other half-dozen meetings your client is in, your client is now watching the screen intently and forming new memories and hooks.

Your background is a great way to highlight aspects of your business without the formality of creating an entire PowerPoint pitch deck. Agencies can begin to use custom backgrounds to tell stories for clients as an added deliverable to a Bill of Materials (BoM.) Imagine if your clients’ sales force could easily add a custom background, created by your designers, that highlighted the security features, communication features, or how a product can solve business challenges for each marketing persona. Today, we consider a video call to be the same touchpoint as a phone call but it can now be so much more. A touchpoint formal enough to discuss the benefits of a product but informal enough that it doesn’t require a rehearsed presentation.

Moving from working in an office to working from home has forced us to change our understanding of meetings and client presentations. The tech companies, many of whom are going through this cultural shift simultaneously with every other company, are rapidly innovating and iterating their software for this reality. For instance, Teams unveiled a feature that superimposes the presenter’s video in front of their presentation. Like presenting in real life, this new layout always allows for an unobstructed presentation and for the presenter to be visible to their audience.

Whatever our new standard, video calls will become a far more prominent feature in our professional lives. It’s our job as marketers to tell our clients’ stories no matter where they are telling them. Utilizing a custom background can not only show off the creativity of you and your team, but it can be a truly interactive and unique way to tell stories too.

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