It’s no surprise that branded business podcasts are increasingly incorporating topics related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) into their Episodes. Podcast and DEI go together like peanut butter and jelly because DEI recognizes and celebrates the humanity in all of us, and podcasting brings out that humanity through storytelling and character development more vividly than any other marketing medium.
Almost every marketing executive I’ve talked to in financial services has at least thought about how podcasting might be incorporated into their communication mix. They also recognize the importance of projecting their banks’ brand as DEI-forward. But not all have put the two together. And if they want to mix these ingredients together, how would they do it?
The place to start is to ask the simple questions that any great business initiative needs to answer up front: What is the objective of the podcast? In the context of DEI, here are some of the more common options:
- Recruit a more diverse employee and management mix.
- Expand the diversity of the bank’s customer base.
- Enhance the bank’s brand by highlighting your company’s policies and best practices.
- Establish a business and social leadership position in underserved communities.
Whatever your objective, podcasting has the potential of amplifying your DEI initiatives because stories and examples that draw in listeners are more effective than mere policy statements or press releases. The medium is more effective in creating an emotional and authentic connection than other ways of communicating DEI content, as it’s meaningful in the life of the listener.
Best Practice Examples of DEI Podcasts
Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of branded DEI podcasts in the financial services world:
- Podcasts that highlight an organization’s DEI policies and practices.
- Podcasts that highlight the successes of those in marginalized communities.
Here are some of our favorite examples of banking podcast episodes in the first category – along with audio links for your listening pleasure:
Cadence Bank: In Good Companies
This Episode features Myra Caldwell, Chief Diversity Officer, and Tori Farmer, Executive Director of DEI at KPMG, who together build a set of DEI policies and practices at Cadence Bank. Both guests talk about the importance of deploying DEI across the entire employee cycle, and there’s a strong focus on very specific key performance indicators, across hiring, promotion, and attrition.
Regions Bank: Commercial Insights with Regions Bank
- Episode: How to Ensure DEI as an Asset
This Episode also features the company’s lead DEI executive, who articulates an expansive view of DEI and dives deep into a particularly helpful definition of inclusion. There is a heavy emphasis on culture development (moving from an “exclusive club” to an “inclusive organization”), versus merely meeting diversity headcounts. She connects this development, along with the use of social media-enabled networks, to accelerate recruiting.
BMO Harris: Banking Transformed
This one is more specific to gender equity and is focused on underrepresentation of women in fintech leadership. The Episode talked about the collaboration between BMO and 1871, a private business incubator supporting 6 female-led fintech startups. It appears that at least one objective here is to use the podcast to promote its leadership in providing access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem for underserved communities in the Chicago area.
Barret School of Banking: Main Street Banking
Miguel is Ensor Bank’s Chief Community Outreach Officer and is tasked to developing the underserved Hispanic market. In this Episode he outlines the challenges of focusing on the unbanked and underbanked, but also underscores the business value of podcasting and its positive impact on deposits. The bank meets all four of the objectives mentioned above and uses compelling stories and examples in doing so.
DEI Podcast Success Stories
All of the Episodes above should provide you with some ideas for Episodes for your own podcast, but we think the second category, “Success stories in marginalized communities” can be even more effective for two reasons: 1) the listener walks in the shoes of the featured guests and 2) rather than featuring DEI experts, the guests inspire individuals who could be your next customers and employees.
The following examples are not sponsored by a particular business, but the content and story telling techniques can be successfully applied to any branded DEI-oriented podcast:
Black Entrepreneur Experience: Black Entrepreneur Experience on Apple Podcasts
- Episode: Embrace Your Unique Shape and Size With Confidence
- Episode: Empowering Your Success: Left-Handed Principles Founder, Hawthorn Welcher Jr.
This podcast series not only discusses business issues faced by Black Entrepreneurs, but the psychological/physiological/emotional components of black identity in the business space as well. Thought leaders and business owners come on the podcast to discuss everything from proper mental planning to impacts of physical fitness and sense of self in building a business.
Black Entrepreneur Blueprint: Black Entrepreneurial Blueprint on Apple Podcasts
- Episode: Trust the Struggle: My Story and the 6 Things I Learned from My Struggles
- Episode: White Supremacist Rally in Charlottesville and 4 Reasons Why This Should Reinforce Black Entrepreneurship
Engages with nitty gritty and minutiae of running a business day to day. Incorporates pop and political culture into subject matter, reinforcing relationship of racial identity and politics with today's business world.
DEI Podcast Episodes With a Series…or a DEI-Focused Podcast Series?
Another choice that needs to be made: Should a bank start a podcast devoted exclusively to DEI, or include DEI as a topic or as topics within a broader podcast? Most podcasts that are strictly DEI-focused tend to cross industries or relate to the world at large (as opposed to exclusively business), but they can serve as models for any financial services organizations – both as series and individual episodes. One we like is A Dog Called Diversity. One great thing about this series is that it places a heavy emphasis on disability inclusion, which appears to be somewhat overlooked in the DEI podcasts we’re seen.
One interim step if you’re not ready to consume the whole enchilada: try serving as an expert guest on other podcasts. It will get you some exposure for your brand, as well as orient you to what it takes to create a compelling podcast Episode.
We’d love to start a conversation with you about your own podcast aspirations. We welcome you to visit our website at www.gomodpod.com, or reach out to us via our Contact form or at email@example.com.