Why Do We Do The (Video) Things We Do?

My team makes a lot of content – up to 150-200 videos a year: internal and external focused; across all business areas; and digging into all parts of ‘who we are.’ Sometimes, people ask me variations on these themes:

Just what is it you do again?!


Why did you tell that story / pick that person?

It got me to thinking, perhaps I could encapsulate the types of content we create, with the purpose and process. Perhaps.


Fundamental to our work is an invitation. People and teams have to be willing (even eager?) to share their stories. We find certain groups much more willing to step forward. Some teams, especially those in corporate offices, can over think things and worry that others will talk about them behind their backs because they are suddenly out from the shadows. I cannot tell if these fears are justified. We should probably all take a deep breath and relax a little…

Also important, opportunity; and being opportunistic. Capturing content in Vancouver is just easier (and way cheaper) because we are there all the time. Being invited to another office opens the door to do more global content.

My genius digital producer, Solomon, and I were in Manila recently for a seafarer conference (an invitation!). The CEO happened to be in Singapore around the same time, so we tagged along with his trip to visit some of our ships there.

Suddenly, we have interviews with 12-15 people; a whole bunch of shipyard / vessel content, including a test of 360 degree video; as well as content from the new Singapore office. In Manila, aside from the conference video (see below); we interviewed 17 people. The post-production work is immense, but we can get 30+ videos from one trip, so return on investment is very high.

In 2017, we have some plans to further develop our service offering and service the global business by telling and sharing their stories.

Below, in no particular order, 12 content types that flesh out the Teekay story for our stakeholders.

Seafarer conference video.

Always a pleasure to capture the energy and collective power of the ship (and shore) teams, making visible our vessel colleagues. It is tough to get on board, so this is often the closest we get to 80% of the Teekay team. Seeing the faces of the front line workers is cultural gunpowder. It works really well on social media, as friends, colleagues and family can see each other. It is an excellent showcase of what it is to work at Teekay.


Showcase the smarts.

We work with very smart people, who know a lot about a lot. How do we showcase that without giving away the IP? Well, Christian and his team share their market knowledge in a really neat way that the market laps up. Of course, they need to keep a little bit of info / data in reserve, but mostly, this kind of video shows that we know what is going on. Our customers and partners appreciate that. These videos can get a few thousand views.


Safety first. No compromises.

At the shipyard in Singapore, I sat through a 20 minute safety briefing with the HSEQ team on the operations of the yard. I really appreciated the thoroughness of the team to ensure everyone was acting safely and responsibly. Safety is our first and most foundational core value. I am sure our customers are also first and foremost looking for our focus on this.

How to showcase it? Well, it is easy to be trite about safety – showing the processes; videos of leaders assuring everyone how seriously we take it. There is a fine line to tread. Recently, we have tried a couple of more direct video approaches to it (nothing launched yet) – talking about the failures, and the wins.

Our offshore team has done some very in-depth, high production value videos talking with people who have suffered injuries. This turns safety on its head – let’s acknowledge the problems to show we are self-aware. Very powerful (and disturbing content therein!)

Content is for internal use only, for now, but we want to share this commitment more transparently as we go…


Generally, we let the celebration take centre stage – our lost-time injury-free photos from the vessels have wow factor, and get incredible engagement online. It is the vessel team that deliver the results, so let them take the acclaim. The Goonyellar Trader went 19 years without a lost-time injury. Imagine the millions of man-hours of high intensity, safety-first work therein.


We are all important.

Companies too often rely on the CEO / executive to explain everything. We want to show that the ‘Behind the scenes’ teams are equally important. This is where the work gets done. It shows the depth of the skillsets in the organizations.

A good example is the series of videos we made about the Accounting team. Because we were sitting around the corner of the office from them, we saw every day their intensity and commitment, and how important their work is to the quarterly financial rhythm of the company, so we tried to unlock that narrative. It was so interesting that we ended up making 6 videos!


Hero series

An “employee” has twice the believability of a “senior executive” when they speak their truth. One of the joys of being able to meet our seafarers is we can share their authentic, direct stories. We have a lot these in post-production currently. There is no great strategic messaging in the work – our belief is that this content is easy to say “Yes!” to.

The content is memorable – it is not just another corporate video. We also find the content is much more shareable – people want to watch more of them because they are “real” stories. Similar to Humans of New York, the authenticity of the person is enough – and it is therefore a great representation of the brand.

If you wanted to know about our learning mentality, wouldn’t you want Frankie to tell you about it?


Hello goodbye.

When we last transitioned CEOs, we decided to produce a very up tempo video series of the new CEO and the old CEO on their world tour of customers, offices and other stakeholders. We gave them a hand held HD camera, and they did most of the work themselves. The content was behind-the-scenes, unvarnished and authentic. It was Peter’s great gift to us that we could try more off the cuff work.



We now need to determine what we are going as we transition again from Peter to Kenneth Hvid.


One Tanker Team

This series of videos is a great way to highlight the shared leadership and One Team philosophy inside the Tankers team. There was strategic intent behind the process and so the content matches that. Also, the participants were willing to be videoed in various locations over time – thanks for the commitment!



I remember my first video project 9 years ago – at a Manila seafarer conference. I was asked to interview some seafarers about an operational training program roll-out. It was difficult, one because of language, but also because it was difficult to conceptualise something like that and explain it simply. We ended up with a single sentence answer.

In the Gas business, their “motto” for want of a better word, is FAMILY. This speaks to the global shared cultural themese of TOGETHER, and a commitment to Teekay SPIRIT. It is very strong; everyone implicitly understands it. So when we interviewed many seafarers on the topic, all of them had a great story to tell.

Family is so simple and natural and true. Inside corporations, however, we try really hard to over complicate things, we aim for sophistication but create our own difficulties. We need to strip things back to basics.


Simple head shot

We still a fair share of the typical corporate video – head shot, person to camera. Works well for sharing data. Why use video when you can share data in written form? Well, looking at someone in the eye is an important requirement for believability.

Also, from a production execution perspective, it is easy to make the requisite commitment to regularity and transparency. So, the quarterly CFO video fits this kind of format quite well.




We do so many things here, we are very action oriented. Videos that capture that energy and action should generally be uptempo. Time lapse works really well for this. (How) Is this a good place to work? Show, don’t tell.


Ah, she’s a beauty

Vessel timelapse / drone content is always well received here. We create very little of this because it requires a lot of travel and / or coordination with the shipyards. So, we just ask nicely if someone will give us the raw content, and we go from there.

A sense of the scale, the cost, and the majesty of the vessels – to give them their due prominence. This is the goal, and it requires very little commentary. Our ‘steel’ stories get incredible traction – people like big ships!


What’s new?

We are always experimenting. There is always something else that can be done. Currently, 360 video looks promising. We just completed our first filming test – content released soon! We bought some VR goggles to see how we can engage with the customer / stakeholder journey. 

And that is the creative journey we are on.

←This Much We Know.→



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