Diversity & Inclusion / 9 minute read

Addressing diversity and inclusion in corporate film

Written by Dominic Allen

4 March 2021

As times have changed and the workplace has made great strides in terms of fully advocating equalityinclusivitandiversity, the importance of reflecting this on camera – in your corporate film – has become, pretty much, part of the brief.  


“We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. 

Without diversity life would be very boring." 

Catherine Pulsifer 


An organisation’s culture is defined by its people – and it’s probably fair to say that the best businesses have the best people. But that pool of talent, over recent decades, has grown and grown, drawing on skillsets and experience from a variety of backgrounds and social strata, be it ethnicity, gender, education or ability/ disability. We tend to thrive on our collective experience, so even though – from one person to the next – we might look different, think differently, behave differently, it’s rather nice when we find that common ground too. That sentiment underpins the collective vision of most modern, forward-thinking businesses, and also has its rightful (and integral) place in corporate film. 

People like to feel included – recent societal shifts have only worked to heighten this basic human desire. Employees need to feel included because they like to be recognised, understood and respected. They need to feel that their ideas and concerns are being heard and, when they are, they feel valued and empowered. Conversely, a ‘from the top down’ stance, without any flexibility, will be detrimental to both morale and actual output; so if this is the hard line you take with all your video comms, it’s time for a rethink.  


So, how can corporate film help reinforce the power of diversity and inclusion?  

Here are a few suggestions: 


Brand awareness

Any piece of content that promotes your brand message and puts your people in the frame, either internally or externally, should be equivalent to holding up a mirror to your own business. Is this how you want to be seen, is this who you really are, are you portraying the right look and toneIt’s a bit like brand marketing – you want to look good, and appeal to the widest possible demographic of people who are looking in on your world. But, crucially, be true to yourselves in the process.  


Cast of thousands

Audiences these days are not only savvy, but also cynical. They might spot the all-white cast, the shoe-horned person with disability, the one bloke over 60, or perhaps the reverse-stereotype scenario between a person of ethnicity and their transgender colleague. There’s still a stigma even writing about this, let alone when making your final selection for who gets to appear in your film. So, my advice would be this: be authentic to your organisation and its culture, and represent the faces and voices of your workforce in your corporate films (whether it be for training purposesHR, promotional, a social adwhatever you’re pushing out). 


Find the value in your people

There’s a saying I read recently, ‘Diversity is inviting people to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance’. And that’s always worth thinking about when you strike a balance between the token gesture, and the genuine empowerment of your people, on film or otherwise. Give them a voice, both day to day and in your video comms – don’t just default to the regional managers and the chief execs every time. However, you should also consider who is the best person for the job; in many cases, this might actually be a senior manager (not least as they’ll likely have more experience of being filmed). But there are also videos that engage far more effectively with ‘back to the floor’ colleagues taking centre-stage. The colour of someone’s skin, or their sexual preference, shouldn’t take precedence over the quality of their voice and presence on camera… 


Diversity in your video comms 

Think carefully about what video content you’re creating or want commissioned. Whether it’s for HR purposes or not, the very fact you have (or want to strive for) a diverse workforce, means you have so many different avenues to follow in terms of getting creative and inclusive on film. Has one of your team gone the extra mile with a business-endorsed charity? Do you have a unique personality in your training department who could present some materials to other colleagues and really engage them, perhaps more than the go-to middle-aged consultant? Or maybe you should consider making new values/ vision film that puts your vibrant diversity of people on screen, to really sell what you’re about, and show off your very own and very special – panorama of faces and voices.  


Ultimately, inclusion fuels the engine (and creativity) of your business, both inside and out. So never underestimate the power of equality and giving your colleagues a platform. And let’s not forget, diversity is the one thing we ALL have in common, so let’s acknowledge and celebrate it.


Arm yourself with the tools and information you need to bring diversity and inclusion into your comms campaigns with our D&I in the Workplace Report. If you’d like to find out more about how you can make your comms campaigns more diverse and inclusive, or how video can form an integral part of your D&I strategy, get in touch with us at anythingspossible@drpgroup.com.