Description: The holidays are officially here! We’re chatting about inclusive holiday communications. We dive deeper into why a nuanced, intentional approach matters for your brand and biz no matter how you celebrate. Plus, hear what’s sparking joy in our life and a holiday gift idea.
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Kerri: Hello and welcome to the Flourish and Friends podcast. I’m your host, Kerri, and I’m here with my friend and collaborator, Esther. Hey, Esther.
Esther: Hey friends, we hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. If you chose to celebrate.
Kerri: Hope you got some good mashed potatoes, if that’s something that you choose to consume. I know I do, and I consume a lot of them. They’re delicious
Esther: Mash potatoes are not my side of choice. I really like stuffing, I guess some people call it dressing, but I’m a bread gal.
Kerri: Our goal for this podcast is to create an avenue for our Flourish community to gather around important conversations that lead to more growth and more flourishing.
Esther: Yeah, nothing is really off the table because how we lead our lives spills into how we lead at work, and overall, our brand reflects that, especially as creatives.
Kerri: Believe it or not, the holidays are here! And we’re talking in this episode about how your brand and your organization or business can stay inclusive during the holidays. But first, let’s start with some fun things that are giving us life.
Kerri: Esther, what is your fresh pick this week? What is sparking joy for you in your life?
Esther: Well, as some of you might know we recently relocated to Melbourne, Australia, and I am in the process of putting together our house, and we’ve been waiting on this couch that we ordered about five months ago for so long. But the thing I’m most excited about is adding a new rug and curtains. I feel like it finally feels homey, even though we don’t have a couch that when I walk into the room, it feels like. I don’t know. I wanna sit there.
But I, I feel like soft furnishings are so overlooked and underappreciated, but they absolutely transform the feeling of your space. Do you agree?
Kerri: Yeah, 1000 in percent. Oh yeah. All of the soft textures. I just feel, you’re right. It sets, it sets the mood and it invites you in. I wanna hear, just please describe these curtains and this rug.
Esther: So I just bought some really simple sheer curtains that are great for privacy but allow a lot of light in. And, even hanging them yesterday, the moment the sun shined through it just, diffused all of the light. And then the space was so much brighter. It was great.
Kerri: That’s so lovely. We’ll have to, I’d love if you can, no pressure, but that’d be cool to include a picture of just the light streaming through the window.
Esther: Yeah, I’ll definitely. Yeah, our rug’s really cool too, cuz it’s kind of got this bamboo silk texture. And so one side’s super shimmery and then the other side is more like dark and brown and it’s got some really nice color in it. But I’ll definitely put up a picture once we have it all set up. I think with everything in there.
Kerri: That sounds so cozy. Mm. I wish I could teleport there.
Esther: Yes. How about you, Kerri? What’s a fresh pick this week?
Kerri: Mine is called the Hygge Game, Hygge, or hooga however you pronounce it. You know the Danish word for cozy? I think it’s the word for cozy,
Kerri: just the Hygge game. I say Hygge as in jiggy, and my friend had it when I was visiting her, and it’s just, it’s a conversation starter game. That’s the best way to describe it.
It’s not really a game it’s more of cards with question prompts on them, and you just pick one up, ask a question. You can go around and I think this time of year, thinking about holiday gifts, Christmas gifts, ways to go deeper and connect with loved ones are always a great thing. And I think question cards or games and experiences like this are just kind of a great way to spark the conversation. And it’s also a time of year. Holidays can be kind of stereotypically the time of year when there’s family gatherings and maybe like tense conversations or different things like that. And I don’t know, I just love the idea of this Hygge game and the question cards. So.
When we, quote unquote played it, we asked one question and talked for like two hours about it,
Kerri: but we’re also really good friends, so I think we could just talk, about, I don’t think we say it on the same topic the whole time, but yeah, it’s just, it’s fun.
Esther: I love that. It’s something good to just have around when you have maybe some new people over, or like you said, the tense conversations, all of the hot topics can be avoided with something like that.
Kerri: Yeah, definitely.
Esther: All right, we’re gonna take a quick break, grab something to sip on. You do that too, and we’ll be right back with our conversation on inclusive holidays.
Kerri: All right. We are talking about inclusive holidays. Inclusive holiday campaigns and communications, and this is just a time of the year where we all know we’re bombarded with a lot of holiday messaging from all of the brands in our life. And as people who either have a brand or are a leader in an organization, it’s really important to keep inclusivity top of mind, and to be a really conscious communicator and leader, especially nowadays in today’s space.
I wanted to kick off the conversation just by kind of framing at least my approach to inclusive holiday, and one way that you can think about it maybe for yourself or for your organization. Which is thinking of it as being truly holiday inclusive rather than just being holiday neutral. So the idea of being holiday neutral would be basically not taking a position on any holiday or disengaging and just not aligning with any holiday at all, because just wanna be completely neutral. Whereas being inclusive means to be really encompassing and comprehensive of, of holidays or of whatever topic you’re being inclusive about. And I feel like it’s helpful to celebrate inclusively even though people sometimes use the terms neutral and inclusive interchangeably. I like to think of it as Holiday inclusion.
So that’s just a little mindset that you can kind of think through. Whether or not you or that for you and your brand is completely up to you. But I think it’s just. A helpful definition or approach to have when thinking through these things.
Not all of the holidays happen during this season too. You know, it’s a very big holiday season. But of course, holidays happen all year round too. And holidays really mean different things to different people. So as communicators, as leaders, it’s just good to keep in mind, okay, so we can start to think about our approach to being more inclusive with our communications around this time of year.
Esther: Yeah. And I think that um, there’s so many celebrations that have been all around the world. And our world, especially online, is becoming increasingly more global. And so I think thinking about these other celebrations and other cultures is a great way to connect with people around the world.
I think it also is a great opportunity to decentralize Western culture. I mean, I think if you grow up in the western world, you have this mindset that western holidays and everything are the only ones, right? But like, opening your mind and your worldview to, there’s so many celebrations happening.
Even moving to Australia and Melbourne’s such a diverse city. There’s a huge Indian population. They just celebrated Diwali and it’s like You, you kind of just see from the sidelines, you can’t help but notice that it’s happening. And so like if you have those friends in your life that are from India and are celebrating, then you, you can, I don’t know, approach it as like, wow, I, I acknowledge that you’re celebrating that, and I think that’s awesome. Instead of just ignoring it.
Kerri: Yeah, I, I love that you shared that. I think there’s maybe this fear sometimes, and I, I know I hear this from communicators that I talk to. Sometimes around having the wrong message or messing it up in some way,
Kerri: But really what you’re doing with your brand is what you’re doing, like you would just, with your friend. You would acknowledge, you wouldn’t just ignore it, you wouldn’t necessarily feel like you had to celebrate it personally either. Or maybe you could celebrate it in a different way, but just because you celebrate it doesn’t mean that you can’t acknowledge it, affirm it and celebrate it. Does that make sense?
Esther: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I think, we, we can get kind of like paralyzed cuz we’re like, Oh, I don’t know anything about that holiday and I don’t wanna sound stupid or I don’t wanna sound ignorant. And so then we ignore it. Which I don’t think, like you’re saying, the neutrality of that, it gives them the idea that you don’t care about what they’re celebrating. Which I don’t think is the goal right?
Kerri: Absolutely. And that’s where we at Flourish talk a lot about centering everything we do with communications, with brands around relationships. And with the holidays, the whole point of holidays, I believe, is really to celebrate relationships in our lives and strengthen relationships that we have. And holiday seasons or any holiday is really an opportunity to build a relationship and communicate in an authentic way to you.
Esther: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I think as a brand, it’s a great opportunity to make yourself relatable and build those connections. I, I think at least for me as an audience and with other brands, I wanna see myself represented in what they are putting out. And so I think we’ll talk about later what that looks like to be authentic when we’re messaging.
But I think at the bottom line, even just engaging with questions, I think is a really great starting point to create that connection within those relationships.
Kerri: Absolutely. And thinking of it as a dialogue too it doesn’t just have to be. I am broadcasting out to you and there’s no feedback loop. Like we can think of just like, again, any relationship it is a dialogue and you wanna hear and we’re all learning. Again, inclusivity isn’t the destination. It’s a journey,
Kerri: You know, and by just avoiding it or only worrying about doing it perfectly. And then you don’t do it at all, then you don’t have this opportunity to learn. And anyone who’s on the journey for greater inclusion will know. Like we inherently embrace that we’re gonna have to be humble and we’re gonna learn and we’re gonna have teachable moments, and that’s okay. We don’t have to be scared by Go ahead and expect mistakes, and that’s okay.
Kerri: As communicators, we can’t expect to be perfect and even though it sometimes can feel like, oh, a lot is at stake, yes, like we wanna do the best job we can. But also, if you believe that, you know, your work isn’t your worth. Which is something, you know, a posture that I try to have and I think is healthy to have for anyone who works.
You know, your worth isn’t your work. You can have some detachment, of course you care, but it maybe gives it a little more of an opportunity to hold it more loosely and let it be clay and not have to be this perfect, finished, shiny piece of pottery before we put it out into the world.
Esther: Mm-hmm. I think that’s great.
Kerri: How do you, uh you mentioned, kind of representing authentically. What does that look like for you when you’re approaching creating communications or thinking about authentic representation?
Esther: Um, I think first I start with research and lots of questions. I think bringing something, if something’s brought to my attention of, Oh, I don’t understand what this is, I don’t understand what they’re celebrating. One of my favorite ways to learn is just through podcasts or books. So if I have the time to spend on that, I will.
Um, I think that it allows for a little bit deeper knowledge and a lot of podcasts are from people with that lived experience.
I think also if I know someone, in my world that celebrates these different holidays or just comes from a different culture. I think involving them in the conversation, if I, if I know and trust them, I’m not gonna approach an acquaintance and just be like, Tell me about your culture.
But if I don’t, then I think just research. I mean, the internet has so much to offer about all these different cultures. If it’s something like diwali, like I mentioned that is, I learned recently just through conversation. So starting with research is a huge, huge thing for me. What about you?
Kerri: Yeah, I think being curious, like being curious and staying humble is always a great thing. I think the other part of authenticity too, is it really does depend on your brand and your organization. If you’re a small business owner, you’re just speaking on behalf of you.
Kerri: But if you’re in a, you know, a big-ger mid to bigger organization, and you are now speaking as a brand on behalf of your company, It’s important to do the research and also engage in conversations with leaders. So whatever celebration, if you choose to put out, isn’t performative.
Kerri: And is actually reflective of your culture, your company culture.
It’s not gonna be perfect. Again, you may not have all of the resources at your disposal to do that. You know, you can do things like you were saying research, I think a great, another great opportunity would be to talk to stakeholders, engage with them, whether they’re internal fellow teammates or people that you serve and talk about any of your company’s communications or any of your organization’s communications but especially around the holidays.
And just get feedback so you do have some sort of feedback loop. That’s a great extra step that could spark some dialogue and might cause you to put out a different communication or incorporate holidays into your end of year push or asks or sales in a different way,
Kerri: In a more culturally conscious way. So I think that’s something to think about because it is, it’s interesting because, you know, end of, end of year holiday specifically in America, revolve around selling. So it’s very normal to, to tie in a holiday like Christmas into buy my thing.
But not all holidays. You know and that’s, that might even be questionable whether that’s an okay thing also. But it’s important to just step back and spend time thinking about those messages.
By the time this podcast is airing maybe you already have some messages in place and these were already baked in weeks ago. That’s okay, you can be nimble, you can adjust, or you can just start thinking about it for next year. You know, it’s never too early to start.
Esther: Yeah, and I think, think about those campaigns where they jump on the bandwagon and use a bunch of buzzwords and don’t you always just feel like something’s off and there’s something that’s disconnected?
I feel like that’s an innately human to human experience where we can just tell innately that Something is authentic or it’s not. And I think there’s so many nonverbal cues that we pick up on as people that as a, a brand and as a creative, we should be aware of that. And it, it does take some depth to become authentic and do some inner work. And as a brand and organization, we can’t just start with our campaign to choose to be inclusive, right?
We have to start somewhere else that’s not as public.
Kerri: Hit the nail on the head. Totally.
Esther: Yeah. And then it’s also really tempting to try and be all things to all people, but I think celebrating and putting out a message for every single holiday and, And not actually engage with what that holiday and that celebration and who that who’s celebrating and really connecting with those people.
I think if you’re celebrating Hanukkah and you just see a brand, say “Happy Hanukkah.” And then that’s all you hear about the Jewish community. You’re like, “Okay, cool. You acknowledge my holiday.” But have you really taken time to understand what the Jewish community is going through right now. And how that, like you can’t just put out a message that’s not connected to this time and space especially online. I think people recognize that so quickly.
I think also going back to campaigns when we focus on our values and our people and stem from that. That’s always going to come from an authentic place and we don’t really have to work hard about putting out and projecting that we have more going on because it already is happening and it’s already reflected in our teams and our brand connectors and everything in that arena.
Kerri: I completely agree, and I think you hit on the two levels, which I mean there are multiple levels, but the level of authenticity, personally as a creative, as someone who’s creating. but also the level of the brand, whatever that is, and I know for people who are smaller or have a smaller brand, it can feel very enmeshed and that’s okay.
That’s fine. Just knowing that if maybe you are creating messages for that entity, or maybe it’s a non-profit, maybe it’s a business or some sort of organization that there’s that level too. And that’s when you start to, like you said, people can have a visceral reaction to something that they perceive as authentic and arguably, the people who know it the best are your fellow teammates.
Kerri: And the people already in your brand community. And the public at large, but the brand community that you’ve already cultivated, I hope that you’re, you have some consistent communication around what those values are as a brand and you do what you do. So there is that. foundational language and care and education and journey already going on. again, no one’s perfect and no one’s gonna arrive, but having those pieces in place and having those consistent communications in place make it a lot easier to make decisions on behalf of a brand during times like these, during times like what are we gonna do for our holiday campaign You know, that’s kind of the question at hand.
And we would prompt you. Us as in Flourish you know would prompt you. Maybe you don’t think about like, maybe you’ve been like Wow, they’re going really hard on a happy Hanukkah post. And I would say, yes. That is what we do.
We want you to think a level deeper and become conscious leaders. Become conscious creatives because these narratives matter, and they’re a way for you to, going back to what we talked about at the beginning, they’re a way for you to connect with people.
Esther: And I think sometimes less is more, right? Like we don’t have to go and put on this extravagant campaign for all these holidays. I think just like we said, asking questions. If we’re starting from a low level, a beginning level coming in humbly. Come in and be engaging and say, “How, how do you celebrate? Let me know how you’re celebrating today. We’d love to maybe even highlight…” If you’re a bigger brand, like highlighting other people. Celebrating is a great way of engaging, and then it puts the pressure off of yourself and then just a simple message is always great, but like a deep message, like we were talking about, coming from a deep place doesn’t always mean you have to be elaborate.
I think of the quote, I don’t remember who said it but I’m gonna paraphrase it. A lie is created with a lot of words, and truth is simple and it’s straightforward. So think about that when you’re putting out a message.
If it’s true and authentic, it will be a lot shorter, a lot of the time.
So then look inward. Look at what makes up your team, what makes up your brand connectors. I think starting there is a great way to start.
Kerri: So as a recap, this whole conversation has been around holiday campaigns and the fact that we can think deeper and that they do matter. And taking time to think about your approach for this is great and important.
So kind of high level takeaways are, remember to embrace inclusivity rather than neutrality. Don’t shy away from celebrating out of, you know, fear or wanting it to be perfect, but you can embrace uh, that inclusivity and really celebrate. Make it about relationships and represent authentically to you and to your organization, and don’t shy away from celebrating with a simple message.
So we’d love to hear from you, on your thoughts on your holiday campaigns, or even better as your holiday campaigns roll out over the next few weeks. Feel free to tag us and we’d just love to see you celebrating and we’d be happy to share it on our social channels as well.
Esther: I’d love to jump into our bookmark section starting with what you’ve picked out for today. Kerri?
Kerri: I’ve got a TED Talk and it was pretty recently a TED Talk in Kansas City. They hosted an independent TED event and this woman, Lila June, she’s a dne musician, scholar, and cultural historian. And I, just was fascinated by her talk. She went into indigenous land management techniques.
Why those matter, how powerful those are and how they’ve been used for thousands of years. And I really liked the reframing that she had around, we have sometimes this thought that because there’s so many things happening with our climate, that it would just be better if humans were just, we just didn’t do anything, didn’t like interact with the world at all because we were just screwing it up.
And she really encouraged the audience to embrace our land in the way that indigenous people have for thousands of years in this country. and that the earth actually needs humans. And there is a way we can manage the land in with harmony, also in a way that kind of decenters humans.
Kerri: I, I can’t recap it all right here, because she just says it so beautifully. So I highly encourage you check out the TED Talk, it’s only about 10 minutes long, and I think it’ll spark some really good conversations and ideas for you.
How about you Esther, what’s your bookmark this week?
Esther: So this week I am reflecting on a podcast released last year called White Lies. It’s similar to a Serial Podcast Production. I think it was released by NPR, but it’s just seven episodes.
As you will come to find out, I am a podcast junkie and just listen to podcasts Every day, multiple podcasts a day.
But this one is really cool because it is kind of a civil rights history podcast while also being more investigative journalism and even a little bit of true crime as the narrators uncover some ugly truth that’s been covered up for decades of the murder of Reverend James Reeb. um, during the Jim Crow era.
So I think it’s as a middle class white woman, like the more podcasts I listened to have increasingly been trying to understand this history that I didn’t learn in high school. Shout out high school for not teaching me the real US history.
I’ve found, I will share my other podcast that really set me on this track. It’s called Uncivil. It’s not made anymore, but it really opened my eyes to like, wow. History books do not share half of what was going on.
So this is a really good one because it, it kind of highlights and spotlights just the effect of that in the south. And I think we can expand that too across the country of just. People that are told something and um, after a while will start to believe these lies as truth. And so it’s a really just um, throughline, through the whole series of just. Yeah, what is truth? What is a lie? How we can kind of uncover the real truth within the scope of history.
So, great listen, seven episodes, like I said, about an hour each episode, but you will fly through them, I promise.
Kerri: I’m gonna, this is a perfect, I’m always looking for more podcast reco- recommendations, especially for road trips. And I also really like series, even though this is not one of them. I like series that have a beginning and an end. So this is, I’m excited to download it. Thanks for the recco.
Kerri: Well, thank you for joining us today. Be sure to check out flourishcreative.co/podcast to see our show notes.
Esther: We’d love to hear from you. You can send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply tag us on Instagram we’re @flourishcreativeco. And feel free to leave a review wherever you are listening. To help new friends discover our podcast community.
Kerri: Thanks for joining us and until next time, live well and flourish.