When global accountancy firm BDO approached Venture with a brief to spark conversations about race, diversity and inclusion, we instantly knew we wanted to be the video agency they could trust to bring this important conversation to life.
This was not your conventional corporate video brief, this was a brief full of passion and drive to create a better world for BAME people within their business and beyond; a brief that Venture could make something truly remarkable with for BDO.
Conversations about race, diversity and inclusion within the workplace is a complex space to navigate; a topic that is known to be challenging in itself. This project required a thoughtful approach to both amplify the voices of their BAME team members and ensure the messages had the power to connect with everyone.
With their reputation on the line, BDO needed to be able to trust Venture to provide something brave, thought-provoking and inspirational for their internal teams that could also break out into the wider world.
Knowing where this campaign was going to be published and whom we’re targeting always affects how we tackle the creative, and so we came up with a video strategy that we knew would maximise the exposure prior to choosing the format, length, and style of the video.
We knew that BDOs largest audience was on LinkedIn. And we knew that being a platform that prioritises conversations, LinkedIn loves videos because they earn an average of three times the engagement of text posts.
We also knew that LinkedIn prioritises videos posted from personal accounts over brand accounts for the same reason. That’s why we also planned to create 15-second videos of each individual in the video on top of the longer piece of content.
These 15-second snippets were created so that each person could take them and post their section to their own channels directly, further boosting visibility and engagement and allowing them to post their own thoughts and messages alongside the clips.
The message that BDO wanted people to take from this video was to be courageous, step forward, ask questions, and do the research to understand the system of racism and how we can fight against it. They wanted to help others feel more comfortable about having these difficult conversations and encourage more people to speak out against discrimination within the workplace.
After understanding BDO’s objectives, we developed a pitch deck with references and potential routes we could go down, always consulting with our client and their BAME colleagues and helping them see how the concepts could be brought to life.
We knew that nothing could be more powerful than listening to the experiences of BDO’s BAME colleagues directly, and so it was decided that a stripped back and authentic but professional approach was the way to go. We wanted the focus to be on the people and their stories, and so polished scripts, gimmicks and theatrics were left at the door.
To make it easier for BDO to get their colleagues on set and talking to the camera, the production process needed to be as accessible as possible, so Venture travelled to BDO’s UK headquarters and transformed one of their offices into a set that maintained that simple, non-polished studio feel.
Something that stood out to BDO was the fact that our producer Alex sat down and had these conversations with everyone who was going to be on camera before the shoot. These can be difficult experiences to talk about, and so by spending time with all 10 people and getting to know them, Alex was able to create a more safe and comfortable space for them before the cameras were switched on.
Hearing some incredibly hurtful and damaging experiences, as well as the more positive experiences where allies stood against discrimination, created an organic story arc that ended in a powerful call to arms.
This project could have been a safe internal comms video that felt corporate and inauthentic. Venture took a sensitive topic that can be challenging to navigate, challenged the brief and elevated it into an impactful, raw and emotive call to arms. In terms of metrics, this is BDOs highest-viewed video of the year.
With an explosive start, averaging over 6000 organic views in the first days of its release and shared all over the world by its global networks. There has also been a 46% rise in engagement across BDO’s channels, proving that the simplicity and rawness we envisioned has fulfilled what BDO intended the video to do — spark conversations.
Now, 'Pull Up a Chair: Let's Talk About Race' has gone on to win a Gold Hermes Creative Award, as well has being shortlisted for an EVCOM 2022 award in the Diversity & Inclusion category!
‘We came to Venture with quite a sensitive proposal and an idea of where we wanted to be, but a bit of a blank slate. We were quite apprehensive about how this video was going to land, but Venture put us at ease so quickly. We were phenomenally blown away by the level of support, care, and passion they brought. They took our brief, challenged it, and created such a poignant, powerful, and thought-provoking piece. We’d never worked with a video agency like that before. I was able to have complete faith in them as they evolved it into something we didn’t even imagine. Best of all, it has empowered our colleagues to have conversations about race with confidence.’
Nazia Nathu, Senior Internal Communications Manager, BDO