Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a hot topic in the business world. Companies in all sectors are under increasing scrutiny, especially in cases where their leadership doesn’t reflect the makeup of society at large. The perception that this initiative might be something outside of business interests—a nice-sounding idea that doesn’t necessarily contribute to the overall effectiveness of an organization—is a common reason why DEI efforts fail to make headway. However, reality tells a different story.
In a 2021 McKinsey & Company report, the third in a series investigating the business case for diversity, the global management consulting firm reiterated its previous findings that supporting diversity is good business. In fact, they noted, “the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time.” [i] Their analysis marked the boost that gender and ethnic and cultural diversity provided to a company’s bottom line: “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile” and “top-quartile companies [in ethnic diversity] outperformed those in the fourth one by 36 percent in profitability.” The effect increased with the degree of diversity.
On top of that, investors and consumers are increasingly taking notice of companies’ commitment to DEI and making investment or purchasing decisions accordingly. The value to companies to promote their internal DEI efforts is clear. However, the McKinsey report also noted a growing gap between businesses wholeheartedly pursuing DEI initiatives and those lagging behind. Clearly, numbers alone aren’t enough to make the case that inclusion benefits everyone, or more organizations would already be taking the steps to diversify their workforce and decision-making teams and working to broadcast that work to the world.
No matter who your audience is, choosing the right medium and message to communicate your business’s commitment to inclusion is the key to erasing stereotypes, promoting understanding, and celebrating achievements. Animation can be a powerful tool to achieve those goals.
Telling Your DEI Story
As we know at Squash & Stretch, facts alone aren’t enough to move hearts and minds. If you want to inspire people to action, you need to connect with them on an emotional level. To convince your audience of the importance and benefits of DEI, the first step is to create a compelling story. Focusing your communication on the impactful core of your message will do more than an avalanche of statistics to reach your audience.
Once you have the what and why of what you want to say, then you can focus on the how. Animated videos are a flexible, engaging way to convey a great deal of information without being overwhelming or boring. Want to educate your organization about the benefits of diversity? Highlight the gains in representation of minority groups you’ve already achieved? Share goals for the level of inclusion you’re aiming for? Animation can do all these things and more.
There’s no limit to the diversity that can be portrayed through the medium of animation. A good recent example is Encanto, which has received critical praise for the variety of skin tones, hair textures, and hairstyles featured in the extended family and community portrayed in the film. An animated DEI video should take similar care to reflect the individuality of members of marginalized groups through authentic features and voiceovers, as well as giving active roles to the characters who represent those groups.
The benefit of sharing these stories in a way that builds empathy isn’t limited to educating the formerly unaware. It also shows diverse teams that their perspective is truly valued. Animation can provide plenty of room for experimentation and creativity as well, allowing you to deploy unique characters and content in many ways, depending on whether you’re communicating with employees, board members, investors, or customers.
Squash & Stretch Productions is your partner in telling stories that make a positive impact. We help you refine your story and create animated videos that get that story across clearly and concisely. To find out more about how Squash & Stretch can help with your DEI message, contact us here.