How we’re championing main character energy to create more inclusive comms

Written by Katharine Adair

12th January 2024

What if everyone could be made to feel like the star of their own show – rather than playing a bit-part or being excluded entirely?

Increasingly, brands and organisations are working hard to create more inclusive communications that make people feel represented, valued, and empowered; to help instill some main character energy.

But there’s a long way to go and it can be challenging to put your organisation on the path to more diverse and inclusive comms.

At Folk we believe every voice matters. We recently celebrated one year since we rebranded from BrandContent to Folk – reflecting our focus on creating meaningful communications that affect progressive change. 

To celebrate, we held an immersive inclusion event at CULTVR in Cardiff, premiering our film, Main Character Energy, that highlighted the importance of self-expression and individuality and that everyone has something wonderful and unique to offer the world. 

The film tells the stories of how actors Laura Tilley and Jonathan Pugh embrace their own main character energy through performances as Thor and Sandy.

Laura and Jonathan are both performers at Hijinx, a professional theatre company that trains actors with learning disabilities and/or autism and also promotes opportunities for them. Disabled people are seriously under-represented in both screen content and production – and Hijinx is working to change this. We at Folk are proud to sponsor Hijinx: we strongly believe that by making under represented groups more visible we end up with a fairer society.

Alongside showing the film, we also held a panel discussion with representatives from Hijinx and our very own Real Folk Panel of under-represented groups about the importance of inclusivity and representation in comms and on screen.

Ffion Gwyther, one of Hijinx’s actors, said: “Anyone with a disability can go on TV and show what you can do – because you are amazing people – and you have a voice.”

We also heard from Veronica Adenuga, a digital marketing consultant and member of the Real Folk Panel, who said: “Be authentic and genuine.” She added: “It’s important to have people share their stories of their lived experiences.”

Fellow panel member Val Bodden said: “It’s thinking about other ideas, bringing people in. More comms companies could follow the lead here.”

Sarah Horner, CEO of Hijinx Theatre, talked about how organisations may have the best intentions, but struggle to make changes. Her advice was to: “Reach out to organisations, or resources like the Real Folk Panel, to ask for help and suggestions… It’s about being open to what changes you might need to make to make your organisation more inclusive.” 

Organisations can be intimated by the scale of the challenge. But Sharon Flaherty, CEO of Folk, says: “It doesn’t have to start with a huge change. It’s the small things that add up. 

To find out more about what we do at Folk and how we can help your organisation give more people a voice, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

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