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In the quest to authentically incorporate diversity into marketing narratives, we’ve gathered insights from founders and marketing experts across the U.S. From highlighting individual customer stories to employing testimonials for an authentic connection, below we share nine innovative methods they recommend for leveraging storytelling that amplifies diverse voices in marketing.

  • Highlight Individual Customer Stories
  • Spotlight Authenticity and Partner with Influencers
  • Use Client “Before and After” Case Studies
  • Understand Audience Stories and Make Them Heroes
  • Rehash Real Stories for Genuine Marketing
  • Create a Diverse “Story Bank” for Inclusivity
  • Feature Honest Client Video Testimonials
  • Narrate Customer Success for Inclusive Marketing
  • Employ Testimonials for a Real Connection

Highlight Individual Customer Stories

Lucy Heskins, a business founder, emphasizes the power of storytelling in marketing. “Let’s be fair; when a marketer extols the virtues of storytelling, eyes roll. However, organizations that miss the opportunity to tell the stories of their ideal customers are missing out on a huge opportunity. Your customer segment is never ‘everyone.’ To market to everyone means you market to no one. Highlight the individual user stories, experiences, and moments where people struggled before using your services, and you’ll instantly build something people can connect with. Telling your customers’ stories allows you to connect with prospects earlier in the buying process—when people are putting together a mental list of potential opportunities. Storytelling is indirect marketing; it’s your first opportunity to show your audience that you genuinely have put in the work to understand what they were struggling with and how you can help them make more informed decisions. 

You can instantly tell the difference between copy that’s written with customers and their words—from those that aren’t. It’s authentic; it’s more genuine. People buy from people, after all.”

Spotlight Authenticity and Partner with Influencers

Sanket Wagh is a Senior Marketing Manager who discusses strategies for success when teaming up with diverse industry influencers. “These days, authenticity is everything. People connect with stories that genuinely reflect the world, which means spotlighting a mix of voices and experiences. Through storytelling, we can underscore the unique challenges and victories faced by various groups in cybersecurity. For mid-sized companies, this approach can be a game-changer. These diverse stories not only appeal to a broader audience, but they also demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s solutions on a global scale.

At my current organization, we’ve overcome limited resources by collaborating with diverse industry influencers, leading to significant success. Our strategy involves identifying champions—professionals from underrepresented groups such as women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities—who have strong expertise and presence. We work with these influencers to create collaborative content, including blog posts, webinars, and video testimonials, which highlights their experiences while promoting our solutions to their audience. By leveraging storytelling and diverse voices, even resource-limited companies can achieve impactful results through creativity and strategic thinking.”

Use Client “Before and After Case Studies

Susan Friesen, a Visionary Brand Strategist, discussed the importance of using client ‘before and after case studies in marketing campaigns. A great way to highlight diversity in your marketing campaigns, and at the same time, showcase your clients, is by using their experience or outcome to make a point about how effective your products or services are.  Telling their “before and after story through a case study not only shares a scenario many others may be facing but also communicates the diversity of clients you service and how you can empathize with them.”

Understand Audience Stories and Make Them Heroes

Fleurie Amorette-Davies is a Story and Growth Director, and she discussed the power of storytelling and how to engage audiences effectively. “The power of storytelling lies in its innate ability to build belief in journeys of change and new ideas faster and more effectively than any other form of communication. And the way to tell a compelling story is threefold.  Firstly, gaining an understanding of the stories your audience are already telling themselves—about your company or the wider sector—is essential; no story is told in a vacuum. When you know the stories they’re telling themselves, you have a chance of replacing it with a stronger one. 

Effective storytelling places your audience as the Hero, emphasizing their journey of change rather than focusing on your company’s unique selling point. Incorporate diverse voices and experiences, portraying your company as the Mentor, guiding the Hero through their transformation. A compelling story showcases significant change, moving from an ‘Ordinary World’ to a ‘Better World,’ highlighting the Hero’s challenges and progress, which makes the story memorable and impactful.”

Rehash Real Stories for Genuine Marketing

Jamie Frew is a CEO and emphasized the importance of rehashing real stories for genuine marketing. “People have an innate curiosity to learn more about other people’s lives, making storytelling an effective tool for creating relatable brand stories. However, people are also quick to detect if a story is real or something only made to appeal to emotions. This is where authenticity comes in. At my company, we focus only on rehashing real stories from clients, employees, and other stakeholders who feel passionately about the company’s mission and culture. These are the best reference materials for our marketing efforts, and they help the brand identity resonate with other audiences. The impact of these stories allows for more credibility and trust, compelling people to believe in what our organization is about and to try to experience what we have to offer themselves.”

Create a Diverse “Story Bank for Inclusivity

Uku Tomikas is another CEO and explains the importance of leveraging storytelling for authenticity and inclusivity in marketing. “In today’s world, consumers are increasingly looking for authenticity and inclusivity. Storytelling is a powerful tool to achieve this. It allows companies to connect with their audience on a deeper level by sharing real, relatable experiences. At my company, we’ve found that incorporating stories from our team and customers helps to humanize our brand and build trust. One specific method I recommend is creating a ‘story bank.’ This is a collection of diverse stories from employees, customers, and partners that can be used across various marketing channels. For example, we highlight the journeys of our team members from different cultural backgrounds and how their unique perspectives contribute to our success. By doing this, we not only celebrate diversity but also show our audience that we value and support it.

Feature Honest Client Video Testimonials

Jacob Maslow, a marketing expert, mentioned the importance of featuring honest client video testimonials. “Leveraging storytelling to highlight diverse voices involves featuring honest client testimonials. Sharing clients’ real stories not only humanizes the brand but also builds trust. One effective practice is creating video testimonials, allowing clients to narrate their experiences. This approach resonates deeply with audiences, showcasing genuine diversity and fostering emotional connections.”

Narrate Customer Success for Inclusive Marketing

Koray Tugberk, a business owner and founder, supported the idea of using customer success stories to accomplish inclusive marketing. “Incorporating diverse voices and experiences through storytelling enriches marketing campaigns. One powerful method I advocate for is creating narratives that resonate with various demographics. For instance, at my company, we feature customer stories highlighting how our strategies cater to their unique needs. This approach fosters inclusivity and authenticity, resonating deeply with audiences.  By championing diverse narratives, companies can foster meaningful connections and build trust with their audience.”

Employ Testimonials for a Real Connection

Lianne Stewart, a Chief Marketing Officer, pointed out how important it is to use testimonials to create a real connection. “Letting diverse customer voices speak for your brand in a marketing campaign is a solid way to connect with a wider audience. It’s not only providing social proof, but using real people makes the campaign more authentic and relatable. Testimonials, quotes, or case studies are all effective ways to authentically highlight diverse voices and experiences.”

Special thanks to Featured for their continued help in the creation of this blog post. Click below for more strategies from the Nativa team regarding Online Marketing.

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