How to Use Inclusive Storytelling to Build Brand Awareness 

6th September 2023

Brands are competing for attention like never before, and as the marketing landscape evolves, marketers and brands face both obstacles and opportunities to build meaningful connections with their target audiences. Inclusive storytelling is a great technique that has gained tremendous popularity in recent years and has also helped brands reach their diverse audience. In this blog, we will look at how to use inclusive storytelling to create brand awareness that not only grabs attention but also creates a long-term connection with your audience. 

What is Inclusive Storytelling?

Before we go further, let’s start by understanding inclusive storytelling. 
Inclusive storytelling is a narrative-creation strategy that entails creating stories that embrace, acknowledge, and value cultural, societal, and identity borders, thereby allowing people from all walks of life to feel themselves mirrored in the stories being told. By exposing the complexity of human experiences on all levels, inclusive storytelling aims to resonate with people and build strong emotional connections among a diverse audience. 

Think about global brands such as DoveAlwaysNike, and the like that have mastered the art of storytelling through genuine connections and experiences. To explain this further, let’s take an in-depth look at one of our case studies where inclusive storytelling was used to help National Trust uncover diverse stories often left untold and build awareness amongst its target audience. 

How to Use Inclusive Storytelling for Brand Awareness

1. Know Your Audience: This is the first step in inclusive storytelling. Knowing your audience helps you to have a clear understanding of what you want to do and ways to reach your audience. While working with the National Trust, our first step was understanding that they wanted to reach the 14.6 million people from an ethnic minority in the UK – these are hard-to-reach audiences who don’t typically have current ties with the National Trust brand and only thought the National Trust was for the white community and not for them. So, our next step was to discuss with our client, and using our years of expertise, we devised effective ways to reach the Black community. 

2. Choose Authentic Stories: We understand the value of creating authentic stories; therefore, our first objective was to create content that would keep the audience engaged through Black History Month. Understanding what would work for your audience is crucial, as this is what can make or break your entire campaign. You can choose stories from your customers, employees, community, or even the brand history itself. Ensure these stories align with your overall campaign idea and goal. These stories should not appear tokenistic and should respect and value the people. Most importantly, avoid assumptions, clichés, or stereotypes.

3. Tell Their Stories: To build brand awareness and, subsequently, brand love, you need to make sure you are conveying their stories in a way that resonates with them. When sharing these stories, have a guideline that would help you, such as creating a format, choosing the media, and having a clear structure. National Trust had contacted us to help them tell the story in a way that would not appear tokenistic and would be embraced by the Black community. ‘The Seated Man’, had been miss archived and was only recently attributed to the African-American artist Richmond Barthé – this was the heart of the story for the campaign. We worked with a creative team which included a Black-owned production company to craft an authentic way of telling Richmond Barthé’s story and the painting in the Trust’s collection at Belton House, Lincolnshire. We came up with actionable ways of telling this story by working with Black artists who discussed the importance of including the work of Black artists in society. This was launched in a documentary for Black History Month and showcased at an event held in London to celebrate the artist’s so that the new-age Black audience can resonate with the story.  The event invited artists, press, influencers, and many more to the first viewing of Inspired by Barté. The premier was followed by panel discussions that looked further into E,D&I. 

4. Utilise Collaboration: Our goal was to create a profound and lasting impression through inclusive storytelling. Recognising the critical importance of diverse representation perspectives for the campaign, we enlisted the expertise of a Black production company and worked closely with them and the National Trust team from concept to delivery. This conscious choice facilitated the delivery of an authentic storytelling approach that deeply resonated with our Black target audience. The decision held particular significance for the National Trust, as it also marked an intentional deviation from their usual approach to authentically reach a new audience. By embracing this transition, we demonstrated the need to welcome new perspectives in order to create stories that connect with audiences.

Crafting a powerful, inclusive story sits at the heart of every successful brand or campaign. Storytelling is an art form that transcends time and culture, allowing brands to communicate their values, vision, and purpose in a way that shows emotions and sparks engagement. When this is done with inclusion in mind, it creates a welcoming environment where everyone feels appreciated and heard. Brands that promote inclusivity not only represent the world’s varied diversity but also reach a larger audience. Consumers are more likely to connect on a personal level when they see themselves represented appropriately. 

Telling the inclusive story of ‘The Seated Man’ was a success, and our client loved it. Do you need help using inclusive storytelling to improve your brand awareness? Then, you should contact our team today!

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