Latest Episode - The Importance of Diversity in Customer Storytelling—and Our Teams

The Importance of Diversity in Customer Storytelling—and Our Teams

Pascale Royal
August 12, 2022

Most of us in customer marketing claim to want more diversity in our organizations, but are we doing enough to make it happen?

In this week’s episode, Pascale Royal, Director of Executive Customer Programs at Coupa Software, talks about the impact of this lack of diversity on our customers, how featuring different groups of people can unlock more powerful stories, and how diverse teams can lead to better products—and businesses.

Other Episodes

Pascale Royal, Coupa Software

Episode 010August 12, 2022
The Importance of Diversity in Customer Storytelling—and Our Teams

Jae Washington, Headspace

Episode 009August 5, 2022
When to Focus on Metrics in Your Community Program

Donna Weber, Customer Onboarding Expert

Episode 008July 22, 2022
The Most Important Part of the Customer Journey Might Be Onboarding. Do It Right

Joshua Zerkel, Asana

Episode 007July 6, 2022
Asana’s Joshua Zerkel on How to Build a B2B Community with a B2C Feel

Colin Burns, Brandwatch

Episode 006June 13, 2022
Better Than NPS? Talk Directly to Your Customers to Get True Sentiment

Jane Menyo, Gong

Episode 005June 7, 2022
How Gong Thinks Differently About the Customer Journey and Fuses Advocacy Throughout

Annette Franz, CX Journey Inc

Episode 004May 4, 2022
How to Build a Company Culture That Puts the Customer at the Heart of Everything

Manuel Harnisch, People Data Labs

Episode 003March 31, 2022
How to Bring Technical Expertise into Your CS Team to Better Serve Your Customers

Jeanne Bliss, Best-Selling Author

Episode 002March 14, 2022
Chief Customer Officer: What Is It—and Does Your Company Need One?

Jeni Asaba, Jamf

Episode 001October 25, 2021
Jeni Asaba: The Big Power of Small Groups of Your Customers

“The Importance of Diversity in Customer Storytelling—and Our Teams”

Welcome to the All About the Customer podcast brought to you by Influitive, where we talk with customer-obsessed people to uncover how you can be more customer-focused. I’m your host, Dan Kalmar. Today, I’m joined by Pascale Royal, director of executive customer programs at Coupa Software. Like so many of us, Pascale has always dreamed of having a picture-perfect life, family, career, intellect and wealth. From the outside looking in, one might imagine that Pascale has it all and she does, including major chronic depression. As a high-functioning individual with depression, Pascale has turned a perceived weakness into her superpower. And in an effort to raise awareness about mental illness, has shared her personal story publicly since 2020. Pascale has a BFA from the University of Alabama and spent over a decade as a professional contemporary ballet and modern dancer before embarking on a corporate career. She resides in South Florida with her husband, two young sons and two dogs. Our topic today was diversity, both in our customer storytelling and in our customer marketing teams. Diversity is something that most of us claim to believe in. And at a corporate level, we believe in it extra hard during Black History Month and Pride Month. But when you look at the customers we feature in our stories, the imagery on our blogs, the makeup of our teams, we usually fall short. Pascale talks about the impact of this lack of diversity in our customers, how featuring different groups of people can unlock more powerful stories and how diverse teams can lead to better products and businesses.

Dan Kalmar:
Hey, Pascale, thanks so much for joining us on the All About the Customer podcast.

Pascale Royal:
Thank you for having me.

Dan Kalmar:
So our topic today is diversity, and we’re going to dive into diversity in our customer storytelling and also in our teams. But I want to understand why this is such an important topic to you and understand your journey a little bit. So can you dive into that for us?

Pascale Royal:
I absolutely can. Obviously, I’m coming at this conversation through my lens, and my lens is of a Black woman working in corporate America. So I’ve been in corporate America for the last 20 years in corporate marketing, the last 16 of which I have spent specifically in the tech sector working in customer marketing. I think that with that in mind, as I’ve looked back on the totality of my life, which includes my career, an interesting theme has come up, which is that I have tended to be the only person of color in a lot of the rooms that I’ve had to show up in. This is going back to my earliest childhood memories. I grew up in South Florida. Our family was the first Black family to move into a basically white middle-class suburb at Fort Lauderdale. They were not happy about that. They didn’t want a Black family in the neighborhood at the time. This was the late, late ’70s, early ’80s.

Throughout my schooling, I tended to be of the minority. I went to predominantly white middle-class schools, public schools, and it wasn’t until I got to college that I was really around a more diverse set of people. Fast forward to my corporate career, and it’s been sort of the same thing. On the customer marketing teams that I’ve been a part of, I’ve tended to be the only person of color in that room or on that team, even extending out to the global marketing organizations, some being several hundreds large and some being maybe less than 100. I have never been on a global marketing team that has had more than three people of color. So this topic is definitely something that’s very personal to me. And it’s also, I think, a sign of the times though in that we, as a nation and as a global community, have really had to come to a reckoning about how we deal with diversity on all levels, diversity of thought and diverse representation being the main things.

So for me, looking at what I can do to contribute positively, bringing more diverse thought and representation to the work that I’m doing, how that can impact the tech sector, how that could impact worldwide marketing teams, how that can then impact customer marketing organizations through my work and through my presence is something that I’m trying to do.

Dan Kalmar:
One thing you talked about the last time we talked is this long-term vision of this, that you know this isn’t something that you’re just going to do today and you’re going to feel the effects of it tomorrow. Can you talk a little bit about the long term of this, how this is slow gradual change, unfortunately?

Pascale Royal:
Well, I think with any change on any level is hard work, and it takes time. So when you’re talking about needing to change systems and, in this case, systems of oppression that show up in the corporate world, that isn’t something that’s a quick fix overnight. You’re talking about needing to get buy-in and support at the highest levels of corporate decision-making. So you’re talking about the board of directors and things like that, executive leadership teams and then how we plan for the succession after that. I think I’m not necessarily trying to effectuate sweeping changes to systems that were designed by people who do not look like me for people who do not look like me. But I do think that individuals can have really big impact in their own spheres of influence. And if I commit to something and you commit and the next person commits and the next person commits, essentially what you’re doing is creating this big ripple effect.

In my mind, my goal is around really wanting to continue to keep the topic of bringing diversity into our teams and into our work is more so that it becomes normal, so that my children, who are ages six and ten right now, by the time they’re professionals and if they pursue a vocation that is within the corporate world, that it’s normal for them, that we’re not having these conversations anymore and that the systems have been redesigned.

Dan Kalmar:
As we talk about wanting to do this in the teams and in our works, I’d love to dive into both of those. Let’s start with the work. So I mean this show is called All About the Customer. I’d love to learn about the impact on our customers. What do you think happens when we don’t have diversity in our customer storytelling? And by that, I mean the customer stories we feature, the imagery we use on our blogs, the speakers we have at events. What’s the impact on our customers when everything is homogenous and everybody, like me, are white people?

Pascale Royal:
So I think that what happens, number one, is that these stories were not reflective of the world we live in. They become an indicator of what the tech world looks like because the reality is the tech world is very homogenous. So that’s the reality of what tech is. So when we have these stories that we continue to showcase from one viewpoint, the majority of which tend to be the middle-aged white male viewpoint, there’s just so much breadth and depth and perspective that you’re leaving out. And so the stories, I think, can become quite boring. Should we choose and make the choice and try to influence more diverse storytelling? I think it opens up such an interesting world of innovation and creativity and just perspectives that we might not have thought about, the impact of tech, the perspectives on different populations of people. I can use AI as an example of where AI, for the most part fundamentally, was built from the lens of a white male.

And now we’re starting to see in various ways how AI shows up differently for people of color, differently for women, differently for different populations around the world, differently for those who are differently abled, for handicapped people. All of a sudden, you have an entire tech infrastructure that was built very homogeneously, and it’s just not able to really meet the needs of a multifaceted world. So it’s important to bring in, I think, our responsibility, particularly as customer storytellers, to start to influence both the narrative and the visuals of the stories that we tell.

At Upshot, with the customer story work we do, I keep hearing about variety in storytelling. If we produce a lot of stories for a particular client, inevitably, they want to change things up and that makes sense. They might feel we’ve done enough stories in a certain industry. You’re speaking to a certain persona. So as marketers, variety is something we already want in our storytelling. Just like you want to feature different use cases or buying personas in your customer stories, you should also be striving for diversity in the customers, which will lead to more breadth in your marketing assets.

Dan Kalmar:
What’s the impact on those individual people? You are a director-level person. I’m sure you make buying decisions. When you are making a purchasing decision and you’re evaluating software or whatever it might be and you’re going on company websites and you see a lack of diversity, as a person of color, what does this make you think of that company?

Pascale Royal:
What it makes me think is that corporate policy does not equal reality. I’m sure at just about every company, customer organization that I’ve worked with, all those companies, including the one where I’m currently working, we all have diversity initiatives, diversity inclusion and belonging or diversity equity and inclusion like rights, DEI or DIB or whatever it is.

However, when you do Google those organizations and you start looking at their boards and their leadership teams and just if they have a diversity report published, you start to realize that it doesn’t matter what those policies are. It doesn’t equal the reality of what’s actually happening, where you have companies that have thousands of employees and 2% might be people of color. And within that 2%, it’s an even smaller number of women representation. When you start to look across other areas for diversity, other segments, it’s just a set. What it means is there’s more of a responsibility to ensure that we are using our influence as customer marketers and storytellers to try to persuade the powers that be, that we can still tell a successful and interesting and compelling story. We just need to be really mindful and intentional about who it is that we decide to tell those stories and how we can also capture the B-roll in the photography and the images of what our customers really look like.

Dan Kalmar:
And I think even to take that point further, it’s not even just about you can still tell a great story. I think the point is you can tell a better story sometimes. I’m sure sometimes a certain person is going to be the best storyteller. But in general, if you’re doing a lot of different stories and you have that diversity, you are just going to start telling better stories because you’re going to get these different and better perspectives.

Pascale Royal:
Oh, for sure. It’s really interesting to me. I know that we’re not specifically speaking about the COVID pandemic. But certainly, one of the things that has come out of and I think what we’re still experiencing with the pandemic is that people really have a desire to deepen their interpersonal relationships with others. And the way that you forge and establish personal relationships is bleeding over into work. Why? Because we have more of a glimpse into people’s own life, more so than ever before. You used to be able to go to work and even if you were a remote worker. I have been predominantly a remote employee for the past four years. Before that, I would have the option to work partly in the office, partly at home. But even then, your children were at school or in daycare, there was a clear delineation of work and your personal life.

Whereas now, it’s all very blurry and it’s all very much just a mishmash. There’s not like work and life. It’s just life. This is life, work is a part of it. Being a mom is part of it, being a daughter is a part of it, being a friend, being a pet owner, all of those things. So I think that people are more interested in stories that speak to them on a more emotional level versus just at the cerebral level. I want something that speaks to my heart as much as it speaks to my mind. When you are able to then look at who is telling the story and bring in more of who they are as a person, what are they passionate about outside of work, why is the work that they’re doing so important to them, to their customers or things like that, it becomes just that much more powerful.

And so if you’re able to do that using a diverse set of speakers and people that you’re talking to, it just becomes much more colorful. It becomes much more colorful, and you can paint these really beautiful pictures of the world that we live in and how the products and solutions that we’re hoping to continue to sell more of, how our customers are really finding success in a multitude of ways.

Dan Kalmar:
Yeah. And I don’t want this to be all about the dollars side of things. But our job as marketers is to market our solutions and to paint these pictures. And I think you’re right, when you have people who are more representative of the world that we live in, it feels more authentic and we’re just going to do a better job as marketers. So I think this is the type of thing that we should want to do anyways. But I think on top of that, there’s a very real business case to be made for having better representation in our customer storytelling. And so I’d love to take a step back and understand why you think this happens in the first place. So we’ve established that a lot of times in our storytelling, we don’t have diversity. What’s the precursor to that? Why do we not have diversity in our storytelling, do you think?

Pascale Royal:
That’s a very big question. I think that there are probably many answers. One answer will be the fact that we don’t have diverse voices on the teams that are creating these stories. So that goes down to an employee recruitment and retention conversation, who are we recruiting on to our teams and do our teams look more like the world around us looks right now, which is much more diverse. Again, this isn’t just gender diversity or racial diversity but really diversity across a broad spectrum of things. People who are from the LGBTQ+ community have a perspective. People who again might have hearing or visual or physical disabilities have a different perspective. People who are veterans or come from that background have different perspectives. People who are in the Latin communities, our Asian friends or just whomever. We’re not getting these stories because there aren’t the teams in place. We’re not hiring those people.

At least from my perspective, again, from the tech world, in this slice of corporate America, we’re not hiring the right people. And so when we go to tell these stories, we’re looking at other teams of people who have not hired the right people. It’s not to say that they haven’t hired good people. It’s not to say that they haven’t hired talented people. It’s not to say that they haven’t hired intelligent people. What it is to say is that their biases, whether conscious or unconscious, implicit or explicit, whatever their bias is, it shows up in their work. And the way that we have data and evidence that it shows up is the fact that there are such small percentages of underrepresented and marginalized groups that show up in the corporate workplace.

If we’re going to really have a real conversation about how we can better diversify our storytelling, you got to look in the mirror, look around the table of your teams. Who’s sitting around the table? Do you all look alike? Do you have the same background? I can’t tell you how many teams I’ve worked with where the senior leader has brought in two or three people that they’ve worked with for the past 15 years, and they just go along coming into these different organizations. That leaves no room for any new voices or new faces. It’s comfortable, but it’s stagnant and it’s boring at this point. I think what we’re really starting to see is that from a recruitment perspective and as we start to think about the next generation of workers, there’s just not going to be room for that very narrow-minded and traditional approach to work.

When Pascale talks about our teams and our hiring practices, I think about an excuse we often like to make. We say we just want to hire the best people. I don’t want to hire a person who checks these boxes but isn’t the best person for the job, or we say we don’t think about anything other than hiring the best person. And if all those people happen to be white males, well, that’s just what happened in this scenario. But that’s a cop-out for a couple of reasons. One, because if you say you want to hire only the best people but every single person you’re hiring is the same, I’ve got news for you. You haven’t hired the best people. There are some flaws in your hiring process. That should concern you that you aren’t hiring the best people. The second reason it’s a cop-out is because if you say you don’t think about anything other than hiring the best person, you’re saying you think you don’t have biases. And if you don’t have biases, I’d love to have you on the podcast to share your secrets as the only person in the history of the world who doesn’t have biases. If our hiring practices are overwhelmingly skewing towards a certain type of person, we need to question if we’re actually hiring the best people for the job.

Dan Kalmar:
This can go beyond just our customer marketing teams. The customer marketing teams can have such a big impact. But when you have more diverse developer teams, HR teams, executive teams, what’s then the impact of that on your customers? Is that when you start creating better products? Does diversity everywhere just lead to better companies and better outcomes for our customers, do you think?

Pascale Royal:
The short answer to that is yes, I do think so. The short answer is I absolutely think that if you think about this from the outside in, so let’s take an industry, let’s take healthcare. So if you look at an industry like healthcare and you start to think of it from the patient all the way back to the teams of people supporting the healthcare practitioners and all of that goes into a healthcare system. You have a hospital. You might have several private practices. You might have several specialty practices and all that. All of those things require infrastructure and all of that. But ultimately, the goal is that you are trying to improve health outcomes for the patients that you’re serving. If you don’t think about them as a diverse pool of people, you start to make assumptions and generalities around what could work for different types of people, and those assumptions are not necessarily true.

And so if you think about the customer or the patient first and you start to map all the different people that could come in with different preexisting conditions, all different sorts of things, you become much more able to support them better. So this goes all the way back to your infrastructure and how you’re designing systems that can best meet the needs of your frontline caregivers and your doctors and nurses and all of those folks. I think another example would be potentially like financial services, like finance and banking. If we think about the end customer being a person potentially, it could be corporate banking so that’s a different conversation, but let’s talk about personal individual banking like branches that have tellers and all that. But if you think about it from different points of view, for example, there are a lot of countries where a lot of people don’t have regular transportation or access to a banking branch.

How do we ensure financial resilience and stability for people who might not have access to the things that we consider simple in a more developed nation, which is, oh, I can just go to the ATM or I could just drive down the street and go to the bank? So when you start to really factor in this idea that we want to really look at our communities that we’re serving, really look at our customers, who are they, do we have data on who they are? What do they need? Have we spoken to them? Then you can start to make decisions. So you can start to say, okay, we have these groups and pockets of people that don’t have access to banking systems. What can we do to bring access to them? What kind of mobile banking or mobile financial institutions can we have that can help people with those types of things? So that way, you’re bringing up a whole community that has better financial stability.

So it’s better for the community, which ends up being better for the country, which ends ultimately just being better for the world. So it seems really easy or naive or whatever. But the reality is if you start to really think about this from not just our customers’ perspective, but the people that they serve, our customers’ customer, the effect, in my opinion, is hugely positive and I think will make for a stronger — I sound really like I’m wearing a flower headband or something right now. But I just think it makes for a stronger world. Our communities are stronger, smarter, more productive, have access to better technology and better services. And thus, we have stronger communities globally.

Dan Kalmar:
So what can companies do about this? If we say that we want to have more diverse customer storytelling, we want to have more diverse teams, we want our products to serve everybody. What are the things, both low-hanging fruit and big monumental long-term shifts, that companies need to think about to make these kinds of changes?

Pascale Royal:
I saw a keynote speaker once from a nonprofit organization called Not Impossible. I forget the gentleman’s name, but he’s the founder of Not Impossible. One of the things that he talked about is commit and then figure it out. I think that the commitment piece is where companies are still struggling. I think most companies would say we are committed to more diversity. We have this chief diversity officer. We have our whole DEI initiative. We are committed. And then I’m like, okay, great. So then let’s see the numbers behind that. And what tends to happen is their commitment means that entry level and junior workers are a diverse set of people and the further up the chain you go, the more homogenous those people become. So you have this so-called commitment but not really.

So I think one of the things we can do is truly commit and say we really are going to for the next 12 to 18 months commit to this particular population of people. I think 2020, just between the COVID and what we saw from a social justice and racial justice perspective with Black Lives Matter, it started primarily in the Americas and spread out globally. But I think in 2020-2021, you started to see companies take a really active and intentional stance on recruitment, retention and how they can best serve people of color and Black communities. I think that that’s already yesterday’s news, not really something we talk about. People seem to have the misconception that, oh, we did that. We talked about Black lives. We did that two years ago. Yes, we did talk a lot about it. But again, the data will show us that it doesn’t matter.

For example, right now in the Fortune 500, there are 41 women CEOs at Fortune 500 companies in the States. Of those, there are only two Black women. So of the 41, only two of them are Black, the CEO of TIAA and the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. That’s 2022, like right now. If we were to cast a wider net looking at 3,000 largest companies in the US, only 5% of the CEOs are women. So that doesn’t bode well for other underrepresented groups. When you have half the world, basically half the population if you round up numbers, is primarily women but only represented a 5% from a leadership perspective in the largest 3,000 companies, it’s about taking that commitment and making it real and not stopping until there’s real actual movement of the needle in this regard.

I think a lot of the gender pay gap, I think we’ve addressed a lot of that. And a lot of companies have done a lot of great work to try to bring parity to the gender pay gap. For the most part, I think companies are well aware that women and men do not make the same amount of money, and they’re really taking action to make that disappear and have more parity. The same ideas and the same effort needs to be taken through all of our diversity initiatives because the numbers don’t lie and the numbers aren’t there. So we’ve talked about commitment, but we haven’t really done the work that’s required to move the needle.

Dan Kalmar:
I’m sure there’s so many approaches that need to be taken. But you mentioned one, for a year or two, focusing on hiring in specific groups. Any other big initiatives that companies can take on to actually start doing the work and not just make the commitment?

Pascale Royal:
My opinion is that the makeup of your organization is probably the biggest indicator as to your true commitment or not to this story. If you really want to make an impact and you really don’t know the segmentation of the population of your employees, that’s going to be a miss though. I think a lot of companies actually do know what the population of their employees are. They know how many white people they have, how many Black people they have, how many Indian people they have, how many Asian people they have, all the different races. They know the genders. They know those numbers probably across leadership and nonl-eadership roles. The question becomes, what are you doing to make it different? You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge.

So I think a lot of companies are stuck in the acknowledgement phase of saying we have a lot of work to do, which is what we do. I think companies like to tout their praises. I don’t have the data, but I’m sure the uptick in the creation of diversity positions and those positions being filled by people of color, that uptick probably happened in the latter half of 2020. But what else are we doing? Acknowledging what might not be a pretty picture for your company is the first step. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Acknowledge it and then let’s set the course correct. Be intentional about hiring. Be intentional about who’s interviewing the people that you’re looking for.

I have another example of a company that was very intentional about finding diverse candidates for roles, but then the interview panels were comprised of only white people. That’s a problem too because I can tell you that sometimes you’re just more comfortable speaking to people who look like you. It just makes it more easy. So if you’re already nervous about interviewing or you’re already a person who doesn’t like public speaking or whatever it may be and then, let’s say, I’m up for a role and I’m a Black woman and the interview panel that I’m in front of or every single person that I interview with is white, it’s a little bit of a different conversation. And again, that’s where the biases come in. So it’s not just who are we hiring, but how are we hiring them? Who’s on the interview panel? Do we have diverse representation there as well? I think that was more than one thing, Dan.

Dan Kalmar:
No, that’s good. I don’t think there’s probably just one thing. So I think it’s probably good to have more than one thing. Early on in this conversation, we talked about the impact of not having diversity in our storytelling. And part of what I want to know is how do we change that? But do you feel like the way we change that is by having just diverse teams? Is that the lead domino, where if you have a more diverse customer marketing team, is that pretty well always just automatically going to lead to more diverse storytelling? Or are there other things that people need to change to get more diversity in our storytelling as well?

Pascale Royal:
I think it’s certainly a huge push. It’s a forcing function because having me on your team means I’m going to be looking at the customers and stories we tell from my lens, which is how come we don’t have more women up on the stage or in these videos or in these stores? How come we don’t have more women of color? How come we don’t have more representation? It isn’t just enough to have a diverse team. The people on the teams need to have a bit of courage, empowerment and support to speak up when and where they see there’s a lack. I have sat on teams before where I saw glaring instances and the need for more diversity, more diverse representation in our stories, in our customer speakers at our big conferences, just this glaring need. But I felt that if I spoke up, I put a target on my back. So I was afraid to use my voice and to use my influence to try to effectuate change.

So I think it’s not just about bringing a diverse couple of people to the table. It’s creating a safe space where if they speak of to call out potential injustices or potential like if they flag, hey, guys, we’ve got a bunch of white men on the stage. What do we want to do about this? That there’s no retaliation or punishment or anything like that. Because then, you’ll have a bunch of diverse teams who don’t feel empowered or powerful or brave enough to speak up to actually effectuate the change. So this comes back to the systems that are in place. So people can talk all they want about, oh, we have a diverse team. But if those people are afraid, you don’t have a diverse team. For companies that do have diversity initiatives in place, do they also have workplace culture that is psychologically safe for people to speak up in? Because if you don’t, again, you’re not going to move the needle.

Dan Kalmar:
So are there any organizations that you feel have done a good job with their diversity initiatives?

Pascale Royal:
I certainly have thoughts around one of the most traditional and slow-moving organizations in the world, which is the United States federal government, and the steps that even the federal government is starting to take with diversity initiatives. For example, Kamala Harris is our first woman vice president and not only is she a woman, she is a woman of color, huge first. When we look at the White House communications director that was recently appointed, another woman of color, huge first, not the first woman communications director but the first person of color. That’s huge. When we look at the most recent addition to the Supreme Court of the United States, another woman of color.

I think that when you have these organizations, let’s face it, traditionally, the government is like a dinosaur and moves at the pace of a dinosaur. I wouldn’t consider any branch of government to be the most innovative and all that. I know that they like to think that they are. But when you really get into the nuts and bolts, the infrastructure, there’s a lot of latency and a lot of slow adoptions to change. When you start to see the examples at the highest, highest levels, that has a bit of a trickle-down effect. The tip of the iceberg, we are just scratching the surface. But I have so much hope for what that means throughout how that manifests itself in other areas and other populations. Because the reality is for my two Black sons, they actually now can see a vice president and a communications director and the Supreme Court Justice who looks like their mom. So it’s normalized now for them. So if we continue down this path, what else can we normalize?

I saw it show up in superhero movies. I think the comics industry, for whatever reason, is leading the charge on a lot of this stuff. Ms. Marvel right now, I believe, is a woman of Indian descent. And then you’ve got Black Panther and all that. People don’t think that those things are a big deal. But guess what, for my full-grown Black husband, who is a comic book nerd growing up, there was never a superhero who looked like him that was mainstream. But now for my boys, we can go to the movies, and they can see somebody who looks like them saving the world. So it gives me hope that if we can have these examples one-by-one by one-by-one, one small change can have a huge impact. I have hoped that the changes that are being made in these really high powered, high places, important places that get a lot of visibility around the globe, I think we’re going to start to see a lot of changes that happen in the business world as well.

Dan Kalmar:
So I always like to end these shows off trying to make this really actionable for our listeners. So what’s one thing that people at home can do, one low-hanging fruit to make themselves more customer-obsessed?

Pascale Royal:
Your customers are the fuel of your business. With that in mind, I think the one thing that we can do is not just commit on paper but commit in real life, commit to making one small change. Again, whether that’s a hiring change like in recruitment, whether that’s a policy change, whether it’s a cultural change for your organization, whether it’s as simple as the next customer story that you tell, ensure that. Let’s throw it out there that maybe there will be no white men in this particular video. Now that could be the goal. Whether or not that happens, we can see. But if you start there, I’d be really curious to see what comes out of an experiment like that. So it’s the commitment beyond strategy and planning decks, beyond company all-hands meetings and internal kudos. It’s the commitment in real life too. We are committed to ensuring that our customers, all customers from all walks of life, are really represented and are at the heart of our brand. And so in order to do that, let’s commit in real life to be very intentional about making the decisions that support that commitment.

Dan Kalmar:
I love that. Thanks so much for being on the show, Pascale. This is great.

Pascale Royal:
Thank you. Thanks again for having me. This is fun.

Pascale keeps touching on this idea of one small change. Trying to make our customer storytelling and teams overall more diverse isn’t something that will happen overnight. But these large shifts need to start somewhere and can have ripple effects. If you’re looking to make your teams more diverse, start thinking about your hiring practices, and beyond that, how you continue to support these hires. If you’re looking to make your customer storytelling more diverse, start with the next person you want to feature in a customer story or a webinar. There are altruistic reasons for doing this work. We should want to do this because it’s the right thing to do. But there’s also a very real business case for making your teams and content more diverse. As marketers, we can tell a wider range of stories. We can bring in new perspectives by featuring more diverse customers. More diverse ideas in the room powers innovation, leading to better products that appeal to a wider audience. No matter how you think about this, changing the way we approach customer storytelling and the makeup of our teams is only going to lead to better outcomes for our customers. This has been the All About the Customer podcast brought to you by Influitive. I’ve been your host, Dan Kalmar. Until next time, let’s commit and then figure it out later.

About The Podcast

We talk with customer-obsessed people to uncover how you can be more customer-focused. From customer marketers to CS leaders, we go deep with people who put their customers at the heart of everything they do.

Who this podcast is for:

  • Customer marketers
  • Advocacy and community builders
  • Customer success leaders

About The Host

Dan is the managing director of Upshot by Influitive, where his team creates authentic customer stories for industry-leading companies like Cisco, HPE, and Dropbox. He’s also the host of the All About the Customer podcast, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

Want to be our next guest?

Complete the signup form below, and we'll be in touch.