Episode 13

Embracing our truths

We go deeper with customers to discover how truth requires empathy

What’s happening with Customers, Now?

Embracing our truths

The recent spotlight on racial injustice was sparked by a singular event that ignited a global conversation. And we’ve added to that dialogue. We learned that impactful conversations are the ones thatmake it personal, that conversation dies with deflection and believing our excuses, that brands must be authentically inclusive when using their powerful voices in the conversation.

For us to continue to show up and contribute to the conversation authentically in this moment, we are asking ourselves what we can continue to do to illuminate experiences for all of us to better know ourselves. Because not to know all of us is not to know any of us. Not to understand the perspective of Black voices is not to know the justice and dignity each of us deserve.

One tangible result of our commitment to hear, understand, and share the perspective of Black voices is a short film — an amalgamation of what we heard from those living this moment. It’s an experience that demands to be seen. To be given a voice. To be felt. It doesn’t tread lightly, but neither does truth.

The title, #WeAreHere, is a statement about a collective commitment to diversity and inclusion that’s needed to improve our business and yours. It addresses uncomfortable topics with the hope of inspiring needed conversations.    

While one film isn’t going to change the world, it’s one way to tell this story. A film can render its truthful messages vulnerably, leaving them wide open to interpretation, both by those who bring empathy and those who don’t. By those who embrace the truths of others, and those who would prefer to defend their own truths and ‘cancel’ those of others.  

Which proved true when we played this video back to consumers.  

Some felt seen 

I know personally for myself that people need to keep hearing this until they get tired of it. This message needs to be defined and absorbed by society.”

It is in your face and pushing the issue because black lives matter. My life matters.”

Some felt alienated

I think this promotes racism and hate toward all whites.”

If you are going to tell me I’m a racist or have contributed to racism, simply based on my skin color, that would make YOU the racist.”

This is a liberal piece. It is decisive and informing. It glorifies a criminal and speaks loudly of fallacies.”

It is very one-sided and off-putting.”

I think this video is supporting the victimhood of black people… victimizing any race does not help them overcome anything.”

Some took the message to heart

I think the video is a picture-perfect portrayal of the chaos going on in our country…the sadness is overwhelming.”

I could feel the emotions of the people in the video.”

This is inspiring, succinct, and made my heart swell.”

Some imposed their own views 

Propaganda! All lives matter! It’s racist to say white people are privileged.”

I think white lives matter as well. Bad cops are bad cops. And I believe the entire George Floyd scene was just that: a scripted scene to divert the public’s attention from something else.”

Some saw a unifying force 

I loved the two little boys hugging each other.”

I particularly liked that there was an equal number of white people in the video, showing that white people also stand up for racial equality!”

We have to work together and stamp out racism.”

Some only saw divisiveness 

While I think it’s an important issue, it is also a divisive one as it can be seen as a way to attack others who don’t think the same way as you.”

I am a person of color. This video seems to incite rather than mediate the racial divide. Especially with its photo of the police. I can see this video setting people off.” 

I think we need to focus on uniting people instead of race baiting and dividing.”

Some were called to challenge their own assumptions 

It made me quite uncomfortable — in a good way. It was respectful, it was honest, it was fair, and it made me stop and examine my own privilege and consider how I can support the black community better as a white person.”

It is beyond bold and makes us believe that people will no longer be quietly accepting things as they are.”

We have seen how easy it is for us to believe our excuses. Empathy demands understanding, which is exactly what makes it so hard. Yet the urgency to empathize isn’t just important – it’s essential to make progress together. What is injustice but just a series of small, detached, impersonal acts that amount to large scale inequality and division?  

We challenge you to drop into not just this film, but into the experiences of those represented in it with the curiosity to understand what’s behind the words. To make them personal. This will be easier for some and be very difficult for others who do not identify as closely with the experiences that inspired this film. Check your inclination to deflect. To simply cancel those with whom we disagree. Empathy doesn’t judge truth. 

Some ways to reflect, check your assumptions, and make it personal:

What – if anything – were you taught about diversity and inclusion growing up? How do those lessons ring true or not today?

Is there anything you wish you were taught differently? 

When have you felt included or excluded? 

We raise our fist to show that we are here to stop ignoring racism and start discussing it…now. 


Where are you? 

Customer Now 2020

Nothing is changing faster than ourselves.What’s happening with customers right now and what should business do next?

Suddenly, these two questions became a lot more complicated; the answers require us to get beyond the numbers, headlines and hyperbole in search of simple, scalable human truths.

That’s why we’ve launched Customer, Now., a project to document, explore and understand lock-down, and what follows it, from the customers’ perspective.

Through our global communities, we are tapping into the human truths behind customers’ experiences in real-time; exploring their inner worlds more deeply, and creating fresh, generative insights and implications to share with our community.

There’s one guiding insight that’s immediately become clear: in this fast-changing situation, nothing is changing faster than ourselves. This is what we’re exploring through Customer, Now.

It’s not uniform change, nor is it constant. It’s an evolution of our inner lives, our relationships, family, friends, home, health, work and, inevitably, our customer behaviour. And it’s more rapid than we’ve ever seen before.

Through Customer, Now. we’ll deliver to our community an insight, and its implications, every week. With this work, we have one simple aim: to drive a brighter, more progressive, customer-inspired version of tomorrow.

Explore the episodes:

01: Community as essential as food
02: The opposite is also true
03: Survival of the Simplest
04: We before me
05: Humanity in the balance
06: Guilt in Everything
07: The widening empathy gap
08: Habits of control
09: Energy beyond the moment
10: Projecting injustice
11: Believing our excuses
12: Being authentically inclusive
13: Embracing our Truths
14: Living in the grey
15: The “Sustainability” disconnect
16: Reinforcing Myself
17: 2020 “In” Review