Earlier this year, our CEO Lyn Bryan made a promise. She stated, with every member of Major Tom behind her, that we are committed to change. “We understand that corporate solidarity doesn’t go very far and we want to be clear about our agenda. We do not want to fall into the trough of silence that has so damaged BIPOC communities,” Lyn wrote. “Vague platitudes and opportunistic actions are not what we strive for. To say, ‘we support you’ without letting you know what the actions of that support are is virtue signalling, at best.”
It was with this sentiment in mind that, like many other organisations this year, we took a long, hard look at ourselves, our processes, and our biases. Then, we took steps to be better.
The first step of many
The first step for us was to create an internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. It was here which Major Tom and the team have devoted time and resources. From that DEI Committee came the opportunity to engage with the Inclusive Communication Agency, AndHumanity.
The AndHumanity team — consisting of co-founders Tammy Tsang (she/her) and Matthew Tsang (he/him), and Amil Reddy (they/them), a certified DEI expert and Allyship Builder. We had the honor of them joining us during our weekly company-wide meeting. As external educators, they came prepared with an interactive, online presentation.
The Why, What, and How of Inclusive Marketing and Communications
The folks at AndHumanity discussed the Why, What, and How of Inclusive Marketing and Communications. Our team had the opportunity to actively engage. They were able to learn about both the business case and the moral imperatives for inclusive marketing and communications.
It’s worth noting the below summary is an oversimplification of the Inclusive Marketing and Communications workshop. Within the 1.5 hours they spent with us, the AndHumanity team imparted an incredible amount of valuable knowledge.
The learning session touched on the complexities and difficulties encountered while navigating areas within inclusive marketing and communications. This included the importance of understanding the nuances of Diversely Abled language. Amil Reddy presented the case for inclusive communication. They did this not only from a moral standpoint but from a commercial perspective as well.
Today, especially in the consumers’ minds, the two are inextricably linked. People will spend their money at places that hold the same values as them. In a nutshell, corporate social responsibility influences buying decisions. As marketers, Amil’s perspective was invaluable — they gave us the language to communicate to our clients exactly why Inclusive Marketing and Communication is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Our group was then led through mapping different samples of advertising on AndHumanity’s Brand Inclusion Framework. Tammy Tsang contextualized her high-level thoughts with marketing videos, some of them cringe-inducing and some tear-jerking — all of them effective.
The presentation ended with the “3 Main Pillars a brand must commit to in order to be inclusive in its marketing and communications.” Matthew Tsang also discussed what ‘true authenticity’ for brands can mean, the common misconceptions of inclusive marketing, and being purposeful behind what you are doing and who you are considering in your work.
Throughout his portion of the presentation, Matt reiterated the mandate “nothing about us, without us”. When it comes to representing underrepresented folks it is imperative to include them in the process. Matt went on to magnify the importance of having these folks behind the lens instead of just in front of it.
You need to see it yourself
Our team came out of the learning session not only as better marketers but as people with a greater understanding. There was a deeper knowledge for what representation meant. The team also realized how powerful marketing and communication are, and the tools to create inclusive work.
The folks at AndHumanity are gracious, educated, and put on one hell of a workshop. We can’t thank you enough for spending your time with us!
What can you do?
If you are a marketing or communication professional — or generally interested in inclusion — AndHumanity is presenting a FREE workshop on Tuesday, October 20, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM PDT. You will come out of their workshop motivated, impacted, and with a fresh perspective on marketing and communication — we guarantee it.
Major Tom’s next step is to welcome Becca Schwenk from Cicely Blain Consulting on November 4th for a workshop called Anti-oppression 101. In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to learn, to do the work, and to keep moving forward toward a diverse and inclusive world.
“We’re far from perfect at all of this, but we’re doing our best to take concrete steps (one at a time) to improve, get better, and stay that way”. — Miles Sellyn, President