What's Fleabag got to do with employee engagement?
Watching a recent BBC documentary on mental health I was surprised by the connection that I felt to the contributors, and how accessible they came across in their stories. Not that unusual perhaps, but in this case a bit of a surprise because I don’t have that much in common with a handful of successful footballers and Prince William!
However, that is precisely what is so brilliant about documentaries like this one. That engagement was also present in the hugely popular, Fleabag series. From my own anecdotal research, it is clear that it managed to appeal to a really broad spectrum of viewers, from thirty-something women to middle aged men to millennials and teenagers. What is more, it had cross cultural appeal, so much so that in France they are making an entirely new production, as they didn’t want to rely on a dubbed version.
Appealing to, and communicating with, a broad spectrum of viewers while also coming across as authentic is a considerable challenge. It’s one that we think about quite a bit in our employee engagement campaigns. A company’s workforce is usually a pretty diverse bunch, and while the subjects may not always be as enticing or entertaining as flirting with the local catholic priest, you still have to try and connect with each individual.
One way of doing this is by producing communications that is honest, genuine and speaks directly to people (and treats them respectfully). In Fleabag, this element is actually built into the style of the filming, as the lead character shares her thoughts directly to the viewer – bringing each of us into her life and thereby making us feel even more connected to her stories– the good, the bad, the messy and the ugly.
Films and choosing the right style of film making can be really impactful in employee campaigns for this reason. It can help employees feel personally much more connected - to a strategy, a leadership announcement, a change in HR policy- in a way that other forms of communicating cannot. It leverages the power of storytelling, which is always amplified by people who audiences can connect with. Real people. Just like them.