There’s a very good reason that oral storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of communication. Compared to more structured forms of expression, storytelling creates an intimate relationship between audience and storyteller, helps us to develop a more personal connection, and helps to constitute and strengthen community bonds.
True storytelling allows us to speak authentically and exchange experiences beyond our personal bubbles, ultimately promoting inclusion and helping us to make meaningful connections with others.
In today’s world, storytelling should continue to be used as a tool to promote inclusivity and fairness. It can also be used to increase awareness, connection, respect, and empathy. Curious about how to prioritize diversity and inclusion in your brand’s storytelling? Consider the following tips.
Lend an Empathetic Ear
When we use storytelling effectively, we allow our audience to find ways to connect with our brand and move the listener to feel an emotion. This emotional response and relation to the storyteller can allow the audience to reflect on those feelings and lessons whenever they find themselves in a similar situation.
Empathy in storytelling also can lead to a more trustworthy relationship between client and brand. When a brand is authentic in its messaging, they make it known that they are aware of the present-day challenges in the world, placing judgment aside, and can make people feel that you are standing beside them. Empathy can foster actions focused on helping others, breaking down biases, and creating a space where your employees and clients can feel safe and free of judgment.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are more important than ever before, and failing to acknowledge this reality will cost you opportunities to connect with your audience. Showing empathy and reflecting the realities of your consumers in your communications is not only a nice thing to do, but the pragmatic thing to do. Additionally, by taking an empathetic viewpoint, you may also set yourself apart from the competition.
Start With Your Internal Client
To have a brand viewpoint that embraces diversity and inclusion, you need to ensure that those values are already living and breathing within your organization. Opening up an internal discussion with your team in which all members can contribute is a great place to start. Establishing this safe space to share will not only allow you to gather insights but help shed some light on existing challenges and identify solutions on how to overcome roadblocks.
Creating an environment in which all team members feel they belong is crucial to unlocking their highest potential, and will ultimately create a more engaged team. For this lasting change to happen within an organization, it must start with leadership and extend to those on the front lines. It’s important to set a realistic timeline for adapting diverse and inclusive behaviors and that DEI is an ongoing discussion and not a quick fix, can ensure these good behaviors extend from your internal client to your external client.
Do Your Homework
Swapping an image in your advertising campaign is not enough to be seen as an inclusive brand. Your audience wants to see themselves in the content and messaging you create, but there are likely myriad images, terms, and stories by which you can achieve representation. Digging deeper into your core audience and examining who is drawn to your brand can help you find out who is underrepresented and how to include them.
Looking at things such as age, ethnicity, race, and gender are good evaluating factors, but it’s important to consider other attributes to further pinpoint your audience. Attributes such as language, differing abilities, sexuality, socioeconomics, as well as veteran statuses are important to keep in mind. By doing some additional legwork, such as conducting a focus group or participating in industry events, you may be able to gather more pertinent information that isn’t so easily tracked in your existing data.
Diversity and inclusion are terms that are often used interchangeably, and although there’s some overlap, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. It’s possible to be a diverse environment, but not necessarily be inclusive of everyone, and vice versa. Think of diversity as the makeup of your brand, including demographics, while inclusion is the measure of brand culture that enables diversity to live. Both need to be woven together to show that you’re not just “talking the talk” but also “walking the walk.”.
And speaking of weaving, diversity and inclusion need to be effectively woven throughout all aspects of your brand. Ensuring that your team is well-trained on inclusive values, establishing measurable commitments to DEI, and communicating progress on your goals both internally and externally are essential to successful DEI efforts. Consumers that can see themselves and experiences within your brand allow you to break through the noise and build a genuine connection.
At Integrate, we understand that inclusive marketing is the only way forward. Without accurately representing your audience, you may be leaving missed opportunities on the table. Are you looking to implement a more inclusive marketing strategy? We’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more.