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3 min read

How to Use Gifs in Corporate Communication

corporate gif

Using GIFS in corporate communication can help you to engage your employees in a light-hearted way. When you’re competing for your employees’ attention, any method that is likely to increase this outcome is often going to be a winning strategy.

Table of contents

What is a GIF?

Why should you use GIFs in corporate communications?

Ways to use GIFs in your internal communications

What to avoid when using GIFs in corporate comms

What is a GIF?

The term GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format – basically, it is a file format that features a soundless moving image. They’ve been around for more than 30 years, and are very popular on the internet, particularly on social media where people use them to illustrate a point in online conversations.  As a communications tool, GIFs are effective, yet very simple and easy to use.

Why should you use GIFs in corporate communications?

There are different schools of thought on this. Some people think that they are too informal and should never be used in corporate communication. I’m firmly in the camp that GIFs, emojis, memes and other aspects of internet culture are mainstream, and employees generally understand them and are likely to respond to them… so why not use them?

Of course, there is a time and place for everything. Some communications need to remain formal – it would be ill-advised, for example, to use a funny GIF in an announcement about staff lay-offs. But when it is appropriate to take a light-hearted approach to internal communications, GIFs can be a great addition to your messaging. They can help to break down misunderstandings in communication. Visual content is often more memorable for people and helps them to better retain information.

Many people think of GIFs as just being the types of images you see on social media featuring images from movies and TV. In addition to this, you can actually create your own communication GIFs that are consistent with your internal branding and can help to illustrate your communications campaigns.

The benefits of using GIFs include:

  • Helping to create an emotional response in the person who is viewing it
  • Being more memorable and engaging than a static image
  • A cheaper, easier and faster alternative to video
  • Is a mobile-friendly solution that works across different platforms including websites, social media, messenger apps and email.

Ways to use GIFs in your internal communications

new employee gif

There are lots of different ways you can incorporate GIFs in your internal comms. Some examples include:

  • Adding them to presentations
  • Including them on invites to corporate events
  • Using them in your email out-of-office reply
  • Using them on email signature files
  • Embedding them in pop-up notifications
  • Send a new employee GIF images to welcome them onboard and establish a fun and relaxed company culture
  • Using them on corporate blog posts
  • Using them in employee collaboration platforms such as Teams to help illustrate ideas
  • Using them in conversations in messaging apps
  • Including them in onboarding materials
  • Including them in training materials
  • Create a workplace safety GIF that helps to illustrate particular issues relevant to your company
  • Custom created corporate GIFs that are animated charts to help illustrate data
  • Custom created corporate GIFs that can help you to display map data.

What to avoid when using GIFs in corporate comms

There are a few things to be aware of when you use GIFs in your internal communications.

One is that you should try to ensure that you are not going to breach any copyright or intellectual property by using GIFs. This could end up costing the company a lot of money and bad publicity! 

You should also ensure there are parameters around the appropriate use of GIFs as an internal communications tool. Misogynistic, crass, racist, homophobic and other questionable content can surface in GIFs. The rule of thumb should be if it wouldn’t be appropriate to say to someone at work, don’t do it in GIF form! Make sure you have a policy about the appropriate use of work-related GIFs, memes and workplace emojis.

GIFs can also be problematic for accessibility. If you’ve got employees who are blind or have low vision who rely on screen-readers and other visual aids to determine what is on their screens, GIFs are going to pose a problem that you may not be able to work around. 

If you’re looking for new ways to overhaul your internal communications to make it more interesting and engaging for your staff, consider adding GIFs to the mix to capture their attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do businesses use GIFs?

GIFs can be used by businesses for both internal and external communications and marketing campaigns. Simply choose a high-quality GIF and add it to corporate social media, instant messenger communications, blog posts, internet pages, pop-up notifications and more.

Are GIFs appropriate for work?

GIFs can add a compelling and visually interesting look to your communications and most certainly can be appropriate for the workplace. But it comes down to knowing when you should use them (less formal communications, for example) and you should always ensure that the graphics in the gifs are appropriate for the workplace – no crude humor, for example.

What is communication GIF?

GIFs are a fun and engaging way to captivate an audience and help to reinforce the messages that you are sending to them. This is a light-hearted way of communicating that can make your content more engaging and help people to retain the information that you’re sending to them.

How have GIFs changed the way we communicate?

GIFs have helped to change the way we communicate – they add an enhancement to written words. Sometimes they can be used as an interjection or a retort or a response in chats without even typing accompanying words. Other times they are used to change the tone of a conversation, to make it more friendly than it might otherwise sound – they are often used the same way as emojis to convey intent.

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