RBC videos call for action on diversity and inclusion

Who: RBC and Grip Ltd., with Nimble Content for production and Melanie Chung as director.

What: A series of videos about “that little voice” people hear when coming face-to-face with racist, sexist or otherwise exclusionary behaviour. The new creative is part of bank’s efforts to encourage more diversity and inclusion at RBC and beyond.

When & Where: The videos were posted to YouTube a couple of weeks ago and shared by RBC CEO Dave McKay on LinkedIn last week. For now, the focus is on social and organic sharing though Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin, although a paid push is planned. Additional behind-the-scenes making-of content is also in the works.

Why: The message is obviously a positive and progressive one. You’d be hard pressed to find a big brand that does not espouse similar values, but RBC says it’s been on this for years—creating a blueprint to guide its actions, building a diversity and inclusion section on its website, and making its first videos more than two years ago.

Most importantly, these videos go beyond expressing support for diversity and inclusion by encouraging employees to actively confront moments of discrimination and exclusion.

“Our purpose is to help clients thrive and communities prosper,” said Gopal Bansal, RBC’s senior director, global, diversity and inclusion. “We fundamentally believe when you have greater inclusion, when you have people able to bring their whole authentic selves to what it is they’re doing, and they’re contributing, you’re going to get better outcomes. And when you get better outcomes, that ultimately is going to lead to prosperity.”

How: The “That Little Voice” videos depict scenarios where people in typical workplace settings see moments where individuals are made to feel excluded, undervalued, or unfairly judged. It’s about those times when you you hear someone say something inappropriate or ill-informed, said Bansal. “That little voice in your head says ‘Don’t rock the boat here. Let it pass. Just let it pass, and you can get back to your regular conversation.’ And we wanted to challenge that idea.”

One video that runs for more than two-minutes covers a number of different problematic moments, with shorter versions focused on specific problems, such as tasteless comments, stereotypes or excluding people for whom English is a second language. One video even depicts an employee calling to correct a client for being racist.

How does RBC help staff correct clients? It does have to be done with care, because people often don’t realize they have said something inappropriate, said Bansal. The videos have a series of discussion guides. “We encourage all of our leaders to watch the videos pull the discussion guides out and have conversations with their team.”

How do you ensure authenticity (ie. avoid woke-washing): “The radar goes off when you have a client that all of a sudden would adopt a cause out of the blue,” said David Chiavegato, Grip partner, creative. That is not the case for RBC, which has been working hard to improve diversity and inclusion for years.

RBC also worked hard during production to ensure it was considering all angles and communities, careful to make corrections for its own blindspots, said Chiavegato. “The director who worked on this, Melanie Chung, did an amazing job. When we were casting she was asking the actors to kind of draw on their own personal experiences of being excluded, so that their performances are coming from a genuine and authentic place.”

Quote: “As this powerful video illustrates, speaking up can be uncomfortable, but it’s the right thing to do on our journey to make our workplaces and communities more inclusive and welcoming. This year, let’s really pay attention to the voices we sometimes ignore, and speak up for others and for ourselves.” —RBC president and CEO David McKay on his LinkedIn post sharing the video.

David Brown