How to speak to diverse audiences in an authentic and engaging way is a major issue for our community. On 29 March, we held a breakfast event to explore how in-house teams are approaching the task of moving marketing communications beyond the superficial and tokenistic and create campaigns that truly resonate.
We began with a presentation from Peter Bates, EMEA Head of Brand & Marketing at Citi, and Dr Rebecca Swift, Head of Creative Insights at our partner for the day, Getty Images. They talked through the series of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Imagery Toolkits created by Getty for Citi to set a standard for authentic representation and guide the bank’s campaigns around the world. The toolkits ask Citi’s teams to consider people with reference to eight ‘lenses of identity’: Age, Bodies, Disability, Gender, Race and Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation and Socio-Economic Status.
Together, the toolkits are designed to provide a roadmap towards more meaningful, accurate depictions of people in marketing communications. Rather than dictating what images to use, they are about equipping teams with the ability to ask the right questions to challenge bias and portray people from diverse backgrounds as rounded human beings. The toolkits are open source and available for anyone to use – they can be downloaded here.
We then asked members of the group to share work that they had done which was designed to represent diverse audiences. Duncan Copp, Director of Creativity at Shell’s Content Engine shared a beautifully observed documentary short about Sam Nelson, a trans woman who works at the company.
We also heard from Gill Westwood, Head of Creative, Brand and Stories at Alzheimer’s Society. Gill shared films from the Society’s new campaign which try to portray more diverse couples whose stories are often overlooked. Three couples each talk about their vow to look after each other, no matter what. Here’s the story of Pauline and Hilary
We then split into small groups giving everyone the chance to share what they were doing in this area, but also to air the challenges and barriers to achieving authentic representation. I’m sharing a few discussion points here:
Thanks to all who attended and to Getty Images for their support of the event.