What concert photography can teach us about benefits communication
As a concert photographer, it’s my job to capture the energy and emotion of a band’s live performance.
I once had the opportunity to photograph a prominent band in its triumphant and highly-anticipated return to our state.
After the dust had settled from an exciting evening, I sat down to review the more than 500 pictures I had taken. As I was sorting out the winners from the duds, I thought I had found the perfect shot.
Envision this: The lead singer stretches over the edge of the stage towards an adoring crowd. He’s perfectly in-focus, the words almost visible in his mouth, and his outstretched hand thrusting the microphone into the frenzied space is completely cut out of the frame.
I’ll spare you the technical details of photography, but in shooting music I try to focus on three important elements – composition, angle and camera settings.
My picture with the missing hand was fine in terms of camera settings and angle, but because the composition was off, the whole image was a bust.
So how does this apply to benefits communication (compensation and benefits discussion)?
Just like that nearly perfect shot ruined by the rock star’s missing hand, I’ve learned that a single element of an otherwise perfectly crafted benefits communication campaign can cause a company’s message to completely miss its mark.
You might not realise it at first, but rock concert photography and benefits communication have a lot in common. It’s true!
Of course, benefits communication is far more glamorous, but the two disciplines work best when the elements of composition, angle and settings come together to form a cohesive and engaging result.
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Pictures are all about what you capture in the frame. In certain situations, you want a tight shot of someone’s face, while other times a wide-angle that pulls all the action in from the stage is the only way to go.
In benefits communication, composition amounts to how much information an employer is putting out there at a given time.
Too much information can induce a chart-and-graph coma, but too little can send employees on wild goose chases as they frantically try to track down the information they feel they need.
Knowing how to deliver content in a manner that is digestible yet useful is vital.
There’s more than one way to capture an epic guitar solo. Different angles speak differently to people, and not everyone will feel the same emotion when looking at an image.
The one-size-fits-all approach is bad for both photography and benefits communication. The angle of your benefits communication should hit an employee right in the gut, just like a breathtaking photograph that gets a viewer right where it counts.
If you want to ensure your benefits communication will truly have an impact, craft your content to appeal to what matters to employees as individuals.
3. Camera settings
No element is more important in taking a photo than the camera’s settings. Shutter speed, ISO (international standards organisation) and aperture dictate what information is recorded by the camera’s sensor.
This is the language of the camera, and without this information a photograph is simply not possible. The language used in benefits communication is no different.
A camera that’s not properly set will still record an image, just like benefits communication that uses the same old boring, jargon-filled language will still present benefits information. You can do better.
Get ready to rock
The goal of concert photography is to capture the energy and emotion of a live performance.
In benefits communication, the goal is to deliver the information that helps employees understand and appreciate their benefits options.
By carefully considering the elements of your benefits communication, you can deliver the kind of content that portrays your company’s benefits as the genuine rock stars they are.
Mike Sosin was a former employee benefits and HR technologist who helped organisations empower employees through the use of innovative tools and techniques. Mike is currently a publicist for a record label. For feedback, email us at email@example.com
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.