The Marketing Society’s uncomfortable breakfast on Visual Storytelling in the Age of Inclusion, moderated by NY Chair, Margaret Molloy, joined by a panel of brave leaders, and hosted by award-winning Getty Images was a powerful reminder of the central role that marketing leaders have in achieving authentic inclusion, by the insights we gain, brands we build and stores we tell about them, and how these come to life in our visual communications.
Getty’s own Tristen Norman shared how interest in diverse and inclusive visual storytelling is growing, searched heavily, front and center – as brands strive to engage with the multi-cultural world. This is because getting representation right is worth the effort – consumers expect their brands to represent them and their values, and then they act and it has business impact. Yet there is progress to be made across segments - to move beyond tokenism with images, to having those images be the visualization of the diversity and inclusion embedded deep in the core of the brand.
Tristen explained how the camera phone has doubled photo-taking and expanded who takes photos, and therefore changed the visual landscape to evolve our view of what is appropriate. I see it helping accelerate us along this journey of inclusion. Tristen closed by advising us to be brave in examination, accept that companies and brands are in different places, and to build our actions from there.
Such a stimulating discussion.
The panelists were equally inspiring in sharing their journeys and insights.
Highlights for me were:
From Walter Frye (AMEX) - having diverse work forces helps us become more conscious about the need for inclusion efforts and achieving authenticity in our intent and visualization.
From Lockie Andrews (UNTUCKit) – being conscious to consider and speak visually to everyBODY, and to speak up to interrupt patterns of unconscious bias, can achieve marked progress and strong results
From Pepper Evans (Capital One) – ‘normalizing diversity’ is our goal now; it might require moves that seem bold to some who are starting this journey, but that’s brave leadership
From Barbara Shipley (AARP) – appropriately understanding, prioritizing, portraying our older population impacts this powerful segment, and how all segments visualize aging
In closing, Margaret reminded us of our awesome responsibility and opportunity as brand leaders in this conversation.
Let’s be brave together.