And the award goes to...
How the Oscars inspired people to connect at a more authentic level
Speeches at the Oscars this year were seen by some as an opportunity to make a statement about topics very close to their heart, be it diversity, equal pay for women or immigration. Obviously, the Oscars are a great platform to make a point – the show is watched by millions of viewers around the globe – but it was interesting to see how some of the winners strived to attach deeper meaning to what could otherwise be characterised as the throwing of vain plaudits to a privileged few.
Is this part of a more widespread movement of leaders and public figures wanting to connect with their audiences at a more authentic level? Plain, unfounded messages without any substance are not cutting through the noise anymore. We all want to be emotionally engaged. Not just during the Oscars, but in any of our everyday connections with family, friends, organisations and brands. The advertising and media industry are full of examples, because you’re much more likely to feel connected to a brand or organisation if your emotionally charged buttons are pressed as it makes you feel that the ideas behind the surface match with your personal and unique values.
As Lorraine Twohill, Google’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing describes it in a McKinsey Quarterly article, connecting with consumers is “about knowing the user, knowing the magic, and connecting the two”. It is about understanding their needs, deep insights and the magic in their hearts and minds.
Obviously, merely knowing what goes on in the minds of those you want to win for you is not sufficient. Twohill strongly beliefs in sharing real-life stories that have substance and authenticity – something which was clearly reflected in the Oscar speeches previously mentioned. Twohill: “You have to think about your audience as a human being. What matters in his or her life. There has to be a benefit”.
So, this rule applies in marketing, but our view is that this should not be any different inside organisation. People want to feel good about the organisation they work for or the brand they represent – they want to be able to share stories they’re proud of with their family and friends. The written contract between employer and employee is no longer sufficient. Organisations should be focused on the ‘psychological contracts’ that show how the interest of individual employees – also human beings – is aligned with the interest of their leaders.
Ensuring that employees believe in the purpose of your organisation will become a more and more important indicator of success – in the end, we are all human beings and we all need to see our own personal and unique values reflected back to us in a substantial and meaningful way.