To kick off the New Year, Siegel+Gale welcomed colleagues, clients and friends to a special edition of The Marketing Society’s Uncomfortable Breakfast series to highlight visual storytelling in the age of inclusion. As New York Chair of The Marketing Society, I moderated a panel comprised of the city’s top marketers from brands that are championing diversity on behalf of underrepresented communities.
- Tristen Norman, Creative Planning and Insights Lead, Getty Images
- Barbara Shipley, Senior Vice President, Brand Integration, AARP
- Walter Frye, VP, Global Brand Engagement, American Express
- Lockie Andrews, Chief Digital Officer, UNTUCKit
- Pepper Evans, VP, Product Strategy & Marketing, Walmart Capital One Partnership
The subject of visual imagery and brand building was a common thread during the morning’s robust conversation. Imagery is the most widely spoken globalized language. As marketers, we are in a position of power and influence in determining the type of visual storytelling that reaches audiences within the marketplace. From women’s issues and diversity in the workplace to Black History Month, to Pride and beyond, the images we choose for our marketing initiatives communicate the values and beliefs of our brands. We cannot be paralyzed by the complexity of this issue; our depiction of brands must evolve beyond tokenism.
We are currently in the midst of a societal shift, and consumers are demanding that brands stand for more than just their products and services. Global conversations are challenging and reimagining our norms and values, and rapidly advancing technology is providing the platform that enables this radical change. These cultural and societal shifts have, therefore, had a profound impact on consumer expectations of visual expression and should set the inclusive tone in the cultural conversation of how our evolving society is represented in brands.
In summary, people are different. This distinct filter can inform our selection of imagery within the marketing sphere, which portrays the leading and inclusive role of photography as a tool for social change in driving the growth agenda.