In 2023 Brits were 13% unhappier than they were last year (1), the largest decline globally out of any nation. But these hard times aren’t felt equally. Under-represented groups and diverse communities bear the brunt of these uncertain times, including in their careers. It’s never been more important to talk about DE&I, yet it’s one of the things that scares us most. In the UK, 55% of people are still too scared to talk about DE&I (2) for fear of getting things wrong. LinkedIn’s social video series ‘Avoid the Awkward’ looked to face this head-on, by working with established creators on the platform to tell their own stories (centering three important subjects: race, neurodiversity and visible difference) in their own words, and open up these conversations in the workplace. Exploring multiple causes within our campaign allowed us to offer a more nuanced and authentic insight into our creators' lived experiences, allowing us to help our audience navigate spaces and conversations they may not previously have had access to.
LinkedIn’s research found that Gen Z workers are looking for employers who value development and diversity, and are 17% more likely than Gen X to prioritise inclusive workplaces with professionals with diverse backgrounds. A lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace (51%) is the biggest ‘red flag’ for Gen Z workers (3). The goal of our campaign is to approach difficult conversations around DE&I in the workplace, while educating and empowering professionals to create an inclusive environment. The campaign forms part of LinkedIn’s mission to provide equal access to opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Our objectives were to drive brand consideration (what we call ‘visitation intent’) amongst our target audience and position LinkedIn as a trusted community brand.
1. Ipsos Global Happiness 2023 Report
2. Right Track Learning Poll, 2021
3. LinkedIn’s 2023 Future of Recruiting Report
At work, it’s normal to worry about getting it wrong, and those anxieties only intensify when talking about DE&I. We needed to alleviate the anxiety of ‘putting yourself out there’ as well as the weight and angst of having those hard conversations. Normalising these vulnerabilities, and helping people speak out through honest but light guidance can help to mitigate this fear and make tougher topics feel accessible.
Conversations about DE&I can be awkward, which means a lot of people won’t engage at all. But if told in the right way, they benefit everyone. We knew that LinkedIn has the credibility and the tools to help people understand each others’ stories and spark positive, constructive conversation. The platform has a legacy of being trusted and credible (‘Most Trusted’ social media platform for three years in a row) (4) - a place where conversations are built on mutual respect.
We knew short-form video would be the most effective vehicle to deliver instructive, yet entertaining content. From a location perspective, we utilised the office kitchen as the overarching wrapper: a space where a variety of passing conversations take place and most regularly happen at work. We worked with three expert voices on LinkedIn (Luke Manton, Laura Mathias and Stephen Adeoye) who were already credibly talking and sharing their experiences on the platform. Each creator was given a brief to create a 60-second spot before a microwave ‘dings’ on a DE&I topic inspired by their lived experience - based on a real-life scenario they have experienced themselves at work, and posted about on LinkedIn. The 60“ social films addressed three DEI topics: visible difference, neurodiversity and race. These scenarios have been brought to life as: 'When your colleague makes an awkward assumption’, ‘When someone has an unhealthy obsession with your hair’ and ‘When someone misinterprets your tics’ bringing our creators' experiences to life in their own words.
Our experts re-created the scenario and played both characters themselves, tapping into the trend where the creator plays multiple roles in the same clip, enabling them to tell their story in a light and non-judgemental way. We chose a playful direction, which plays off “awkward” British behaviour to capture people’s attention on these important topics in unexpected ways. We didn’t want it to be too earnest or worthy, we wanted the uncomfortable situations to bring lightness and levity to a topic many feel unequipped to approach to begin with. Our CTA “find new ways to talk about inclusivity" then gave our audience access to the tools and resources to confidently navigate (rather than shy away from) important conversations about inclusivity.
4. Business Insider Digital Trust Report
LinkedIn ran a brand lift study through Meta for this specific campaign in order to record its impact on those overall measures. Despite only being live for 4 weeks and having longer video lengths (on average 49s) creative messaging lifted visitation intent by +5.5pts (industry average +0.8) and ad recall by +3.3pts (industry average +5.4) with a 99.9% chance of positively influencing brand lift metrics. Our results indicate that speaking to multiple experiences within the DE&I community was memorable for our audience and motivating for them to turn to the platform to learn more. The campaign hit over 3m users, with 1m thruplays, a testament to the stories within our creative. Luke’s creative received the strongest CTR (at 27,117) demonstrates the value in spotlighting misunderstood topics such as Tourrette’s, and the power of a creator-led approach. The campaign showed that sharing diverse, real experiences has the power to help us all grow by being more open and informed. We were able to bring LinkedIn’s diverse community to life and connect with our core segment and - in turn - for them to see the real value of the platform.