Listening Takes the Lead
Bellweather is a creative agency that leads with listening. When we listen, we allow space for others to share. We want to hear from the skeptics, the champions, the artists and their muses, and those who have been left out or overlooked. Shows like Mad Men have perpetuated the myth that great ideas are born of a single person who goes on a spiritual journey up the proverbial mountain, only to be struck with inspiration mid-meditation. In reality, the best ideas come from collaboration, where differing voices can come together in a supportive setting, express their needs and inspire one another.
Inclusive Marketing Requires Empathy
Collaboration has always been an important part of the creative process, and we think the best way to foster this process is by listening to the needs of our clients and their audiences. For example, Bellweather led the destination campaign and website for Visit Baltimore, where we included 150+ locals, business owners, city leaders, and a local copywriter and artist in the creative process. It is from this vantage point that we can begin to develop inclusive marketing, creating dynamic messaging with lasting universal appeal.
Why Inclusive Marketing Matters
Leading with listening is not just about finding the next great idea, it’s about creating ideas that connect with the most people, especially those who have been marginalized in the past.
For too long, advertising agencies have neglected entire swaths of particular populations, from people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, to women more broadly. This approach has limiting effects on marketing strategy development, preventing advertising from reaching groups with spending power.
- In 2016 the LGBTQ+ community had the buying power of $1 trillion dollars yet, in 2020, only 1.8% of advertising represented LGBTQ+ people.
- Today Gen-Z is 25% of the U.S. population and 48% diverse, and the generation after Gen-Z is shaping up to be even more diverse.
For Bellweather, this hits close to home: our agency is owned by women and people of color. We understand how important it is to feel seen. Feeling seen gives people a sense of belonging, and it creates community. For Brooklyn Public Library, Bellweather conducted an audience-driven campaign, where we featured portraits of patrons, photographed by Brooklyn artist and street photographer Andre D. Wagner. We want to engage audiences wherever they are, no matter who they are. When it comes to brand positioning strategy, we immerse ourselves in the audiences’ perspectives, needs, and ideas. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we can develop a richer sense of their community, their culture, and their history. We lead with listening because listening is what gives us the empathy to create meaningful messaging that will have lasting impact on an audience that is continuously evolving.