Here in the United States, there has been 15-year trend to so-called business casual clothing in the workplace.
My first job, in New York in the 1980s, required me to wear a suit and tie with polished shoes every day. At that time, "casual" (for men) meant that after 5:00 you could loosen your tie. When I lived in Japan in the late 80s and early 90s things were even more formal (you could only loosen your tie while drinking beer late night).
Casual Fridays started as a parallel to the dot-com boom on both coasts in the 1990s, quickly became casual every day and spread to the rest of the U.S. partly led by Dockers, a clothing company.
Business Casual Video
My friend Cliff Pollan, CEO of VisibleGains has started talking about what he calls business casual video. I love this description! I’ve shared the idea at meetings recently and the idea really resonates with people.
The concept is simple. For decades, corporate videos have been stiff and formal. They cost tens of thousands of dollars and take months to produce.
Some classics of the formal video genre include:
- Slickly produced corporate overview video example
- In-studio lights and makeup “customer testimonial” video example
- Product manager explaining her amazing new offering example
When the subject of video is discussed at companies, people immediately think EXPENSIVE and DIFFICULT because they are thinking formal.
But if you think business casual video, all of a sudden videos can be low or no cost and can be completed in a day or even in an hour.
I am a big fan of something you can film yourself with an easy-to-use Flip or a Kodak camera. Anyone can post to a video sharing site and then embed the resulting video into your site.
As easy as putting on a pair of khakis.
Here are a few styles of business casual video:
Interview. When you're on the road, you can film an interview with someone interesting such as this one I conducted with Allan Schoenberg, Director of Corporate Communications for the CME Group about the use of Twitter, real-time news and how he works with the media. Yes, Allan is wearing a coat and tie. What makes this a "business casual video" is that I filmed it myself (for free) in HD quality using a camera that costs less than $200.
Answer a question. Film a bunch of short interviews at a conference and have them professionally edited like What makes you a true geek? from Dice.com, a job search site for technology professionals.
Mini-documentary. I filmed about two hours of video over about a week during my recent book tour. I then developed an idea for a story I wanted to tell with the video and had an editor put it together for me.
Video doesn't have to cost tens of thousands of dollars. You can do something yourself for free or for very low cost. But like that transition from wearing formal clothes to work to putting on a polo shirt, it might feel sort of "not professional" at first.
This Shirt is Business Casual by Attaboy Designs on café press.
Disclosure: I am on the advisory board of VisibleGains