Responses by Grip Limited
Background: Our aim was to demonstrate the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as core values. The ongoing journey is based on the belief that everyone benefits when people can bring their authentic selves to work. RBC challenged us to create a video that would directly encourage inclusive behavior across the bank’s 80,000 employees, 16 million customers and the world at large.
Reasoning: We used slices of real experience to inspire inclusive behavior. We wanted to show what it means to be fearlessly human, to replace the fear of misspeaking with the permission to ask questions and address situations directly. We kept this in mind, as we envisioned each scenario, to ensure they all felt relatable. Our aim was to show that an inclusive culture is built brick by brick, choice by choice, every day.
Challenges: We had many conversations about how to make sure the piece would carry the ring of authenticity and the limits of a brand’s right to portray sensitive issues in a public-facing forum. RBC lives the values of diversity and inclusion in its DNA, so that informed our choice to keep the scenarios in the context of day-to-day business. RBC also works toward creating a culture where everyone can speak up for inclusion, enabling people to show allyship. That emboldened us to make the two-minute twenty-second video as emotionally affecting and true-to-life as possible, and to feel empowered to address this topic openly.
Favorite details: The piece reflected our reality of a diverse workplace, so we casted with an inclusive mindset. We insisted on gender parity on our director bid. We selected a female director because of her nuanced approach, positioning her work behind camera as a voyeur of each character’s lived experience. We saw the passion stemming from her personal experience as being key to creating a piece that was both authentic and compelling.
Specific demands: We had to be mindful of all perspectives to ensure that we arrived at a video that was realistic and inspiring. For example, we shot the “racist client” segment with two actors: one Black and one White. There was much debate on the impact of seeing a person of color being subjected to a racist comment versus a White male who has the potential to speak on behalf of others. Ultimately, we included the role of the ally in the final video to push more inclusive behavior in the moments when no one is looking.
Anything new: We learned that inclusiveness isn’t just a message, but a mindset. It necessitates a change in behavior during creative development and across the whole production process. We were reminded that we bear a collective responsibility for inclusiveness and representation among creatives, directors, performers and partners. Thanks to this experience, we have instituted our own Diversity and Inclusion initiative at Grip, with the aim of embedding this mindset into every part of our business and culture.