Welcome to another action-packed, information-filled webinar with Jason Hoenich and Chad Loder. In this installment, the Habitu8 founders talk all things video and why it works for security awareness training, just in time for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Before diving in, however, Chad takes a few seconds to remind everyone to get their flu shots (and to vote), while Jason suggests you should probably spay and neuter your pets.

According to Chad, what many people who haven’t produced videos don’t realize is that you have to be selective about what goes into your videos. When you’re an expert in something, you want to throw it all out there in one breath. However, with security awareness training videos, less is more, and keeping it short is one of the hardest things to do.

In his adventures researching for this webinar, Jason came across a few things he thinks everyone should stop and listen to now:

  • Nir and Far: Jason said this podcast by Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked, a book about human behavior, is short and sweet, but packed full of digestible info.
  • This is your brain on communication”: This TED Talk by Uri Hasson, a neuroscientist, is all about the psychology of storytelling—and it changed Jason’s appreciation for storytelling and video.

Also, Jason and Chad have some awesome announcements for October and NCSAM:

  • Guest star: Jason and Chad are stoked to have a guest appearance by privacy strategy and public policy expert Debra Farber (@privacyguru) for the next webinar, which will be on privacy awareness.
  • Free videos: Yes, Habitu8 is dishing out some of its most awesome videos for absolutely nothing. Download “GDPR in 4 Minutes,” “CEO Scams,” “Acceptable Use Policies,” and “Wrong Email Recipients” at The best part of free videos? You can share them with your team and the C-suite to get buy-in ... at last.

If you want to know what Amish carpenters, interpretative dance, manatees, and Cardi B have in common, then you’re going to enjoy this deep dive into the psychology of storytelling and how video is where it all happens.

Stories Sync Our Brains

We’re social creatures, and we love stories, and video was made for storytelling. Jason really did his homework on the psychology and benefits of storytelling, including:

  • Stories activate multiple areas of the brain
  • We can relate to the characters on an emotional level
  • Stories motivate and encourage behavioral change

On the other hand, simply dishing out facts activates just two parts of the brain, and facts don’t really elicit emotion- or motivation-based responses. As Uri Hasson describes in his TED Talk, brain scans have actually shown that when a storyteller is sharing a story, the listener’s brain is reacting in the same way as the storyteller’s, creating a crazy powerful brain connection between the two people.

Video is where emotional content meets informational content and magic happens. Think about what happens when you’re in a movie theater with a crowd of people, Jason says. “Everyone’s brain is in sync.” Everyone is on the same journey at the same time, and video lets that happen so much faster. “You can get into a good book,” Chad says, “whereas a video grabs you right away.”

The Uniqueness of Video

When you’re engaged in a story, you’re not thinking about other things, which turns down the dial on mental meandering too. With boring CBT training, you’re going to pop open another window and multitask like it’s going out of style. Video is just an easy medium, Jason says. You don’t have to overthink it—people just like video; it’s everywhere all the time. And when it comes to security awareness training, you need to grab attention quickly and offer training in a likable way, and video is incredibly effective at this.

According to Jason, video is the new weather. Instead of chatting about how humid it is, again, at the water cooler or the printer, people are talking about the newest viral video they just watched. Not only does it create connection, but it creates conversations. We just want to feel something, Jason says.

Build Trust (and Earn Fans)

Delivering just one good, funny video can change the way your coworkers look at you and the security team and can turn you into a trusted resource. The result? The next time you send out an email or need buy-in for a security awareness training program, you’re more likely to get it because people will trust you. Chad brings up the fact that, in truth, security awareness training is about more than education—it’s about marketing. You really have to market and sell yourself and the security team to the rest of the company to get buy-in and be effective.

Types of Video

With so many types of video out there, Jason arranges them into these categories:

  • Factual, preachy, traditional CBT
  • Event-specific (speakers, demonstrations)
  • Animated infographic (explanatory)
  • Short, funny, narrative-based

Chad mentions that studies have shown that taking the positive, success-based approach of “do this and awesome things will happen” versus the “don’t do this or bad things will happen” approach is more effective with behavior change. Shocked? We didn’t think so.

Storytelling Is Hard

Jason likes to make people uncomfortable in video sometimes, and Chad points out that when video is done right, you can have it on mute and still experience the emotion of what’s happening through body language. In fact, Jason talks about how the “CEO Scams” video could have just been someone explaining what a CEO scam is, but by shooting a single-shot video that slowly expands outward, you start to see what’s going on (a middle-aged cybercriminal working the phone from his mom’s kitchen), and it’s so much more powerful. The goal, Jason says, is to plant an image in the viewer’s mind so the next time you get a scam call you can recall that video and start to question things and change your behavior.

Pro Tips

Here are some takeaways and tips from the webinar to get you moving on video for NCSAM:

How do we use video for NCSAM?

For NCSAM, try focusing on a weekly email topic, such as the risks on social media or phishing scams. In the email, include a link to a video (“Hey, we're offering four free videos, so use one of ours each week”) to get people involved right away. Or, if you’re having any staff meetings or updates and everyone is gathering in one place, instead of starting with an icebreaker or diving into sales numbers, why not show one of our short videos to get people laughing and engaged with the security awareness story?

Do we need to use captions?

Not only are captions and on-screen text important for making sure you’re accessible to people of all abilities, but they also just create a better user experience. People have gotten used to on-screen text and captions on Facebook and YouTube, so they’re almost an expectation. Think about people who work in open-office floor plans or who are watching in an elevator. Give them subtitles and the option to not annoy everyone around them.

Are there analytics for video views?

Most people don’t realize that video is one of the most trackable mediums out there. In fact, some video platforms let you track who watched what down to the second that they stopped watching. The great thing about this is that if you have a five-minute video and everyone stops watching by the three-minute mark, you know that you need to change the video, the content, something, to get people to the end. Video boosts conversion rates on your goals by something like 200 percent, Jason says, so tracking the data to make sure your videos are getting watched is pretty important.

How do we drive home the video message?

Chad lays it out: Keep the video short, make sure there are only two to three takeaways, and put something quick and actionable at the end of the video. In other words, make your video a little morsel of learning, an amuse-bouche, if you will.

Watch the webinar here, and don’t forget to download the video notes too. Also, it’s a secret, but now is the time to sign up for October’s webinar with special guest and privacy expert Debra Farber. Don’t tell anyone. But do tell everyone. And then register here.


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