How Essendant uses video to connect leadership with the front line

Video is now part of everyday life at Essendant, helping leaders communicate quickly and effectively with employees

Learn how a major distributor, responsible for wholesale and fulfillment services nationwide, found an impactful way to connect front-line warehouse workers with leadership.

“Because of the things I can do in Biteable, I have the freedom to make a video in less than an hour and get the message out to associates.”

Molly Whatley, Senior Business Support Specialist at Essendant

The situation

Essendant seeks visibility for its most important messages

Molly Whatley knows that if you want to make a message stick, you need to think beyond text-based communications. In her world, relying solely on traditional, static messages doesn’t cut it.

She knows that to truly make an impact, sometimes you need video.

Molly is a Senior Business Support Specialist at Essendant, a distributor of office and janitorial products with 32 distribution centers located throughout the US. In her role, she supports the President and CEO, helping him connect with associates about important company messaging.

A tough task at any organization. But at Essendant, this is even more difficult because the majority of associates are warehouse workers with no access to company email.

“We send out a lot of communications,” says Molly. “But we were worried most of it wasn’t getting through to all of our associates.”

This problem isn’t just limited to Molly’s role; it’s something all functions struggle with. Molly and her colleagues worried there was a disconnect between the decisions made by leadership and how associates at all levels absorbed that information.

Could they find an impactful way to get important messages in front of associates? And could they do it while still keeping pace with day-to-day life at the company?

“To have the whole company see the President & CEO talking about the company values and guiding principles and why they matter…That would’ve been hard to capture in a PDF or a PowerPoint.”
Molly Senior Business Support Specialist @ Essendant

The problem

How to create a video in less time than it takes to write an email

The messages Molly distributes are often timely.

She needs a more impactful way to reach associates with important information, but she also has to be able to act quickly. The solution has to be something she can accomplish in the same amount of time — or less — than it takes to write an email.

Bulletin boards and PowerPoint vs. video

Because warehouse workers don’t have email, Molly relies on onsite partners to distribute information. In the past, this involved PowerPoint presentations, printouts posted on warehouse bulletin boards, and messages relayed verbally.

But PowerPoint and bulletin boards are impersonal — it’s easy to misinterpret the tone and intent of a message. A message relayed verbally is better, but it’s time-consuming for onsite partners and a lot can still get lost in translation.

Molly knows video is an impactful option, one that personalizes important messages and helps leadership connect more directly with front-line associates.

Can she make the switch from text-based communications to video?

“We could sit in a room and go over a PowerPoint, or we could play a three-minute video that covers everything. I could read something and forget it, but if I watch a video with that same messaging, it is more likely to stick with me."
Molly Senior Business Support Specialist

Bulletin boards, PowerPoint, and verbal messages

• PowerPoint: Not engaging. Easy to misinterpret the tone and intent.

• Verbal messages: Important points get lost in translation.

• Printouts on bulletin boards: No way to track if people read them.

Video

• Dynamic and eye-catching. A welcome change of pace from text-based comms.

• Personal. Front-line associates hear directly from leadership.

• Engaging. A memorable way to reinforce messages.

• Trackable and measurable.

Video has the potential to help front-line associates connect with leadership messages. But do Molly and her colleagues have the time and resources to make videos for everyday communication?

The solution

Remove the learning curve, make videos quickly with Biteable

Molly doesn’t have a video-making background, and she doesn’t have much time to spend learning a new tool.

She needs a solution that is:

Quick. No more than 30-60 minutes to make a video.

Easy. Minimal learning curve.

Accessible. Available to multiple roles within the company.

When she heard human resources was exploring Biteable, she decided to see what it was all about. She soon discovered Biteable checked all the boxes.

According to Molly, everyone realized pretty quickly that Biteable is a tool they can learn easily and use effectively without taking up extra time in their day.

“We try to use Biteable as much as possible…Videos are appreciated more than static messages.”
Molly Senior Business Support Specialist @ Essendant

Create videos that drive action

Activate your audience with impactful, on-brand videos. Create them simply and collaboratively with Biteable.

Dozens of impactful videos made this year

Since starting with Biteable earlier this year, Molly and her team have made dozens of videos.

They’ve received good feedback, too. She says people appreciate the videos as a new way to reach associates.

Because anyone can now create a video in a short amount of time, video is no longer reserved for Essendant’s major campaigns. When a message needs to get out quickly, Molly and her colleagues have the flexibility to jump on their computers and make it happen.

Favorite features

• Analytics

• Auto branding

• Templates

The results

How Molly uses Biteable

Molly uses templates like this one to make videos quickly and easily.

Molly shared the details of a recent video series she made using Biteable.

Personalizing company values

The creative team made a highly-produced video announcing the company’s new set of values and guiding principles, but leadership wanted to reinforce these throughout the year. They also wanted to personalize the values and guiding principles, as a way to connect with associates.

A low-barrier way to reach front-line associates

Using Biteable, Molly made a series of short videos. Each video featured a different member of leadership talking about why a specific value or guiding principle matters to them.

Looking for a low-barrier way to reach associates in the warehouse, Molly created a QR code for each video. Associates scanned the code and watched it on their phones. With Biteable analytics, Molly tracked how many people watched and from which warehouse locations.

Minimum work time, maximum reach

• 11 videos

• Created in 3 hours (total for all 11 videos)

• Reaching Essendant’s 5,000 employees

• Molly’s work time was <4 seconds per employee

Video tips from Molly

We asked Molly for tips to share with other Biteable video creators. Here’s what she said:

1. Lean on video templates

“Biteable has a lot of templates you can use. I also look at videos I’ve done in the past to see if I can repurpose one of them in a similar fashion.”

2. Don’t be afraid to get creative

“You can make a video that’s still ‘corporate’ but more fun and upbeat. Be open to trying something new.”

3. Use Biteable’s auto-branding feature

“This helps a lot for users at our company who aren’t as familiar with the brand. They don’t have to be like, ‘What are our colors again?’ It’s all in there, ready to go.”

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