A brand’s messaging, particularly the messaging that you will find, like, let’s say, on their website,
on their home page, or landing pages that you arrive
as a result of some very specific searches,
that messaging, I would say, is like a very important
first impression that the people you serve will
engage with and will very quickly let them know whether or not your brand is for them or whether it
is not for them.
Because the reality is, unconsciously or not, consumers are often looking for an answer t
o this very
important question of, is this brand for me? And the signals that they are looking for, whether that
comes in your visual imagery or the words that you say, the messages that you put forth throughout
various parts of your customer journey will
very quickly give them an answer to that question.
Is this brand for me? So it’s very important that as you are working to create the messaging for your
brand, really that high

level messaging, especially for your brand, it’s essential that you are making
sure that you take into account the various identities of the people who are your ideal customer, the
people that you want to serve so that whenever they land on various aspects of your brand’s
customer journey, whenever they encounter that messaging that
they know that this brand is for me.
This place is a place where I can see myself as belonging, and it
permits them
to take the next step
forward with you. Brand messaging is super important, and that’s one of the reasons why I brought
on my guest today w
ho is a brand messaging strategist.
So after this short break, you’re gonna hear my conversation with Diane Weiradoo, who is the
founder of LionWords. I just love that name. And we are gonna talk about how to make sure that
your brand messaging is inclusi
ve of the various identities that you want to serve.
Hey, Diane. Thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
Great. Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to have, this conversation.
Oh, me too. I think we’ve been chatting it up, in in each other’s worlds over the past couple
of years on LinkedIn. So I’m thrilled that we’re able to have this sort of virtual face


face meeting.
So I know you are all about messaging, and before we ge
t too far into this, can you just let the
people know who are you and what you do?
Yeah. Sure. So I’m Diane Wiredu. I run a messaging consultancy. So I work mainly with
growth stage, B to B tech companies, B to B tech, and SaaS. And I essentially he
lp them create
messaging that resonates with potential buyers, potential customers so that they can get better
results from their marketing and sales efforts, right, from marketing assets like their website.
Very cool. Very cool. I don’t think that
we have enough people
brand messaging is
so important, and I think it can make a world of difference. And I don’t think we spend a ton of time
focusing our energy on that, let alone from an inclusivity standpoint.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
So I saw on LinkedIn that you sai
d messaging is the single most important thing startups and growth

stage companies should focus on to grow and succeed. That’s a big statement. Can you talk a little
bit about that?
Yeah. Sure. I’m happy to. I do make a lot of big statements. And then a lot of people call me
out on them, so rightly so. I mean so when I said that, it’s essentially boiling this down to the idea of
communication and words and talking about what you do.
So essentially, what any company is trying to do is either sell a product, sell a service, be in touch
with a group of people,
a group of customers, and make a connection with them.
And so it comes down to words and how you communicate that. Rig
ht? I define messaging as how
you articulate the most important things about your company, your product, your service, and then
why that matters to your audience.
So I think that it’s one of the most important things for companies to focus on when it come
s to
actually connecting with that audience and making sure that they’re saying the right thing.
I can’t remember where I said this. It’d be interesting where you pulled it up from.
But often, the kind of clients and companies that I’m working with, it f
eels like messaging and, like,
the words are like an afterthought. Right?
It’s like, oh, we can get out there and get customers and build the product, and then, like, the last

minute thought is like, okay. But how do we talk about this thing?
Whereas, real
ly, like, this needs to come up front. Like, how do you talk about you in a way that
resonates with the people that you’re trying to help?
Yeah. I think that a lot of times, it’s kinda like I don’t wanna say a chicken or an egg. But a
lot of times I
feel like the messaging for people is an afterthought.
And how people think about your product is gonna play a big role in whether or not they feel like
they belong with you, if this is gonna help them solve their problem.
So like what you said, you did
n’t say this exactly, but I feel like the essence of it is we need to give
proper respect and attention to the message because it can be the best product in the world that is
exactly perfect for the people that you want to serve.
But if they are close to
your message or it goes over their head or it just doesn’t resonate, it’s kind
of like you’ve done all this work for nothing.
Yeah. Exactly. And I think you’ve just echoed what I say all the time, you know, that you can
have the best product, the be
st service in the world, but if you can’t explain it and you can’t express
that and you can’t get that across, it doesn’t matter.
Like, it will be irrelevant. You know? And every single business on the planet relies on words and
relies on a message to hel
p them grow. And so, really, this has to be the priority.
And so that you don’t wanna have this situation where, which I see a lot, of this kind of copycat
syndrome where, you know, just kind of instead looking out at what everyone else is saying,
r else is doing because then that’s why we end up with these such boring, saturated
categories of companies just saying the same thing.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
We want companies to focus on what is it that we do differently, what are we trying to what change
are we trying to make, and then
about that in a very clear, relevant, unique, and differentiated
way as well.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Alright. So I am
curious. You’ve worked with a lot of brands. You’ve seen
a lot of brands messaging over the years. What would you just wish that brands would stop doing
whenever it comes to their messaging?
So how much time do you have? How much time? There’s a lot
. There is a lot of there are a
lot of mistakes. There are a lot of mistakes that companies make, but let me preface this by saying
that they’re very easy mistakes to make.
And I understand why companies do make them. Right? And I think that you know, dep
ending on
your listeners, listeners of this podcast, whatever size company you’re at, whether you’re earlier
stage or maybe you were 1 person marketing team or whatever, right, it’s very easy to kind of fall
into these traps.
But one big thing I see is wh
at I call overstuffed syndrome with the messaging, which is the problem
where a lot of companies are just saying too much. Right? Just trying to talk about everything that
you do.
And I see this particularly more so in in in tech and B to B, which is we ha
ve to have to talk about
everything. Right? It’s very hard for companies to simplify and kind of boil things down.
But when you go into a store, they don’t show you their entire range and say, look at all these things
that we’ve got. You have to think tha
t when a customer interacts with you, there’s a journey. Right?
And there’s a structure.
In the same way that we have a conversation, there’s a normal flow of conversations. You jump in
and say, hi. Hi.
How are you? How are you? And you go through this fl
ow. You don’t meet someone and tell them
your entire life story within the first few seconds.
And what I see a lot with companies is trying to fit everything. Trying to fit everything in a headline,
a sub

headline, in a paragraph talking about every singl
e feature of their product before just getting
the basics.
And I often kind of liken this to this, analogy of when you go to an all



eat buffet. Right? You
know, you go to an all



eat buffet, and there are so many choices that you just kind
of pile
everything on your plate, and then you walk over this plate that’s like this mishmash of stuff that
doesn’t even look like a meal.
And we do the same with our messaging book. We don’t know what to say, so we kind of say
But the problem is when you do that, it’s very hard for customers to understand what you’re all about,
and then what they walk away with is nothing. Right? Because when you’ve mentioned 8, 9, or 10
messages within a short
or in a short space, if we’
re talking about home page messaging, for
example, they’ll walk away not remembering anything.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
And so it takes a little bit of a disciplined approach to prioritize, what you’re all about. One of the
things that I talk about, which might be a helpful exe
rcise for your listeners, is to think about an OKM.
An OKM is what I call the one key message. Right?
So what is this one key message that you want customers or prospects that they could only
remember one key thing, what would you want it to be? And then
making sure that every interaction
with your brand, every touch point, at least really focuses on that and then brings them through
further so that they can find out more. Yeah.
So, yeah, that
one. That’s that’s only one thing. Right? You asked me wh
at are some of the
things that
Yeah. But, no, I think that’s an important one because you’re right. Like, I do think that we
try to, like, vomit all these things that we think are wonderful about, you know, our brand, and we
think that more is better, but that’s not always the case.
w when it comes to communicating with people from underrepresented and underserved
communities, how well do you think brands are doing now with their messaging in the way they
resonate with people from those communities
Like, Should I sit on the fen
ce here, or should I not? I don’t think brands are doing a great
job. I do think it varies wildly. Like, the work that I do, again, like I’ve said, is mainly with B two B. I
think you’re doing a much worse job at that.
Okay. I do think that in consumer pr
oducts, there’s a little bit of movement. Right? I’m seeing a little
bit of change. But I don’t think, as a whole, I think this is not really a top of mind and present for
enough marketers.
I think this is also related to something else that’s, a mistake t
hat I see, which I call kind of me me
me syndrome. So companies are really focused too much on the brand, themselves, and their
product that they almost forget about the customer.
And so many companies are doing the same, but forgetting about the customer
. Never mind
forgetting about the range of customers and the range and the type of people that interact with their
brand and making sure that what they’re talking about is accessible, is inclusive.
I think that a lot
really understanding how
nuanced your customer is and making sure
that the ways that you communicate with them
factor in that they could be from a wide variety of
backgrounds, ethnic
, locations, or one.
So it’s hard. It’s a challenge, and I understand that it’s a chal
lenge. But I’m seeing some change, but
I don’t I don’t think it’s I don’t think it’s enough yet.
Yeah. I definitely think there is progress to be made. And I’m wondering if brands because I
think this happens this problem happens at brands of all si
And I think that sometimes brands are thinking about that one key message that you mentioned, but
they forget that there are so many different touch points in ways in which to engage a consumer. I
remember I saw a woman that I follow on LinkedIn.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
She’s a disability advocate, and she talks about the Apple Watch. She’s like, if I had known that the
Apple Watch was accessible and had all these accessible features before, I would have bought 1 a
whole lot sooner. I would be on my 3rd Apple Watch by now
instead of my second.
me, that comes down to
it being
a messaging problem because not that they needed to lead,
so to speak, with their accessibility features. Maybe they could, but for that particular audience, that
was something that they needed to
lead with, but they weren’t getting it in some way.
Maybe it was buried in their product specifications and features.
So I’m wondering when it comes to messaging, is there is this one key message, but how do you
have any thoughts on how brands should thi
nk about delivering the right message to the right
customer in a way that makes sure that they hear the thing most, that they need to hear from you?
Yeah. I think that’s really important, and I think what you’ve touched on is a key distinction.
So o
ften, I talk about what we could call maybe top

level, top

line messaging for a company, which
is where you need to have this overarching, consisting message about who you are, what you do,
who for, and why. It should be really clear.
And we can think abo
ut this as a kind of top layer. But then underneath that, of course, companies
target different groups of people, different demographics.
We also don’t wanna just think about people as demographics, but we also wanna think about
people from the lens of ps
ychographics, from behavior, from interests, which i
s actually what unites
us more.
I have a lot more in common with, people who share the same the same passions than just someone
else who’s a marketer. Right?
Like Yeah. Yeah.
If you’re a 34


old marketer living in a city, like, we could be completely different people,
and you speak to me in a different way than if you actually understand people’s behaviors.
So I think understanding actually how to approach sort of customer

led marketing and customer

messaging, again, comes back to really understanding, your customers really well. And then
understanding once you have actually done that, how can you take th
is sort of how can you just
take this a step further, really.
And then we’ve got high

level kind of company messaging, and then it’s almost down to the
campaign level. Like, who do we need to? To in different ways? And that’s where it’s sort of
is what and copy is, like,
There will
be different ways to translate the messaging that you have for your company, and you’ll
need to target those again for different personas.
So it’s sort of a layered. Right? There’s a layered approach to marketin
g and messaging and having
that overarching message, but then understanding that
we need to speak about things in different
ways within different contexts
Yeah. No. I love that. I love that there are so many there’s within inclusive marketing, ther
are layers to it. Right? To everything. I would probably most things I would say.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
So does this top

level messaging need to speak to as broad an audience as possible, or is there a
way to we’re
to this small group of people in a way that we know
they’re gonna get it, but it
also has meaning and it’s relevant for a broad group?
Is there a distinction, or does it
depend on
your audience?
Yeah. So I think the answer to that, it’s not that we’re trying to speak broadly or narrowly.
Oh, okay. E
very company, I think, just really needs to have their customer dialed in. Right?
And so if you’re trying to speak to everybody, you end up speaking to nobody. Right? No. There are
very, very few brands out there whose customer is everybody.
Unless you a
re maybe you’re Coca

Cola, but even then, like, spe
ak to the marketing department.
They have their customer type. They’re really dialed in.
So there’s no excuse for you as a small or medium or growth stage business to not have, your ideal
customer really
dialed in and get to know them, get to understand what are the needs that you’re
solving, what are the pain points, what are the desires, at which point what are the triggers that your,
ideal customers have going on in their day that make them think, you k
now what? I need this product.
I need this service.
I’m starting
to start looking. I think once you have once you
that profile, then, yeah,
all of our


company messaging is still speaking to that specific audience type. So
yeah, to come to your question, it’s not about, like, messaging, so it should be super general.
It should be targeted still, but to that specific group of people, that you’re helping with your product
or with your service.
Yeah. Which I love because it’s
all about customer intimacy, I think that this is gonna make
a lot of people breathe a sigh of relief because I think sometimes they might, like, wait a minute.
Do I have to have a different message for all these different
people to get it to work? But I’m really
curious on how well you feel like brands do with having that customer intimacy or having their
customer having, you know, their ideal customer dialed
the point to where they’re able to deliver
messaging that h
its, right, that makes people feel, like, seen and know that this is exactly for me?
Yeah. I mean, it varies it varies wildly. But if you I mean, can you think back to a time when
you were you’ve had an act interaction with a brand, whether it’s you
received an email or you were,
I don’t know, scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, and you stopped and read something? And you
were reading alo
ng, and you’re like, wow.
I get it. That’s me. Or
they get me or something
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Then that’s that’s when you
have a good a great example of
Marketing and messaging that
has that speaks to you simply because it’s speaking to it’s speaking your language. Right? Yeah.
So I think there are examples of companies doing that. My focus, obviously, from the messaging
and communication side of this is how we do that with words. Right? How do we do that through our
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
of the really important parts of my process is
going out, with companies and speaking to their
existing customers, doing customer interviews,
customer surveys, to understand how they
how they feel, and how they
speak about the brand, to make sure that the communications, that the
copy and e
verything that we create does speak to your customers and speaks to them, in language
and words and using phrases and the themes and topics that do resonate.
I think it will be quite a simple exercise that more people can do. And that’s also a way for you
keep in touch and make sure that you are constantly speaking to a wide range of your customer
base and that you’re bringing their thoughts, their needs,
their feelings into your marketing.
So it’s kind of, like, circular flywheel to make sure that
you’re what’s the w
ord I’m looking for here?
They just got you’re just kind of on point. Right? I guess,
is what I’m tryi
ng to say.
I get that. So alright. So the other question along those same lines
I have a friend who sen
t me an email the other day, and it was, like, some report that he had
got from his company. He works for a pretty big company, and it was saying, oh, these are the top
5 TV shows of all time in the US. Right?
And so his the note that he wrote to me, he’s
like, top 5 according to who? Like, who did they ask?
And I looked at the shows and I was like, yeah. I think they asked a very specific group of people.
And demographic.
Right. So you just said that a big part of your process is doing those interviews with
customers and understanding more about what it is, the words that they’re using, the things that are
important to them.
And so I’m curious to you is so the linchpin he
re is making sure that whenever you’re doing those
interviews, that you’ve got a broad

of the different types of consumers, the different
identities represented so that whenever you’re creating this top line messaging, it speaks to the
y of customers that you have, but in a way
that’s very specific to the problem that your brand
Yeah. You nailed it. Right? Okay. And I don’t think I can put it better than you. But there’s
there’s a really good example here.
So I don’t kno
w if your listenership is more US

based or Europe

based. I’m, British, though I have a
kind of UK

based example here.
So I know a couple of guys who run, a great company in the UK that they do they do essentially
what that study needed to do. Right?
they lead research and studies with minorities and underrepresented groups in the
UK, mainly underrepresented groups and also younger people.
have companies access this group of people and get their opinions, get data from them so
that th
en they don’t end up putting out information that is completely skewed.
So I’ll give them a

because they’re an awesome company
called Word on the Curb.
they’re a little bit more

, but they work That’s a cool name.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
They work with some big brands, and they’ve been doing it for, like, 10 years. And I think it’s a great
example of, like, do this work yourself if you can.
So, y
ou know, when I’m working with B
and tech companies, it’s easier for us to go out and
ak to a

of their demographic.
Now if you are a consumer brand that, you know, has a much wider, demographic, then maybe it’s
harder for you to actually perform that type of research and get, the types of opinions and feedback
that you need f
rom groups.
Maybe you can’t access the groups that you want to. So maybe it is that you’re listening to this and
you want to be more inclusive, but you’re just not sure how. Well, then go out and get that help.
Right? Like, I still want you to think, okay
. Well, I’m not getting a

of opinions and
feedback from a group of people that I would like to target.
So then you have to find a way to access them. So, you know, we’re talking about, methods of doing
this, but I think we should also be tal
king about the desire and the will and almost the obligation for
companies to be focusing on this and investing time, budget,
resources to making sure that they
are speaking to a much wider subset of their
customers as well.
Yeah. You talked ab
out willingness, and what popped up for me is, like, this whole concept
of responsibility. You know, if this might be a change in the way people are accustomed to doing
things and accustomed to approaching their marketing. But, early on in my career when I
worked in
corporate, I went through this whole 6 Sigma certification process. And one of the concepts that,
like, is burned into my head is this concept of doing it right the first time.
do you know,
of course, we always wanna do things right, but th
ere’s always gonna be extra
resources, and extra headaches whenever you have to go back and do something again that you
didn’t plan for and do right the first time.
And what I would really love to get marketers to a place to through the show, for the work
that we’re
doing, through conversations like this, of course, is letting them know that if they’re not doing this
currently, the responsible thing for their business, right, and to get the business results that they’re
doing, you’re already investing all
these resources to do this work, to get the messaging that you
need. It’s so worth it and needed for your business to invest in doing it right and doing it right the
first time, which means making sure that you’re including the right voices that make up th
e people
who you’re actually serving so that you’re gonna get the results that you need in a manner that
speaks to your customer base.
Right. Exactly. And if you can’t and you’re struggling, then hire. Hire th
e right people. You
Like, you run
this podcast on inclusion and marketing, and you have, I have no doubt, an in
creating a credible network of people that, you know, you people could reach out to. You know, I
think as well, it’s looking at internally.
Sometimes looking at, okay, well, not
only who are we speaking to on the customer side, but who’s
creating. Right? So we’re thinking about the messaging, copy, content, working on content creation,
and trying to speak for such a broad group of people. So who’s doing that? Whose voices do we
ed to bring in?
Do we need to bring in as well? And then making sure that you actually do that.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
Yeah. Yeah. Diane, this has been so much fun. This is great. I wanna switch gears a little
bit. I wanna get your perspective as a
you tell
me about a time
a brand made
you feel like you belonged?
I’m gonna need a second to think about this. I’m not the best consumer. You know?
It’s okay. I think that people struggle with this question because it doesn’t happen often
Yeah. Which is crazy, isn’t it? As a consumer, I don’t buy a lot of stuff. I mainly spend my
money on food and drink. Like, that’s where all of my money goes
and then CrossFit and working
But there is one company. So I do remember this was a
while ago now, so I’m trying to dig into the
archives, that I came across this brand, and I was like, oh my god. I have been waiting for something
like this.
And it just hit the nail on the head. So melanated,

ladies will know the challenge that
you have when you want when you when it’s sunny, you wanna put sunscreen on. Right? Sunscreen
has this, like, white cast.
And when you have dark skin, you end up with these, like, white layers all ove
r your skin, which is
And then there was a brand I mean, I can name them. I think they’re called Supergoop or
something like that.
And they put out a line of sunscreen that was kind of really, like, transparent. And a lot of their
marketing and
their messaging was speaking to people that understand understood that, like, this
was an issue. Right? People like, if you’re lighter skinned, you can just go out and buy sunscreen
and, like, you can buy
any. It’s not really an issue.

girls really have to consider
it. Like, I always have to buy transparent stuff.
And it’s rubbish or it’s lower SPF. So yeah. So I think as a brand, I think it’s I think it’s called
They did I don’t know what their marketing’s like now, but
a couple of years ago when I first
discovered them, it felt like a very inclusive approach, and it really spoke to something. It spoke to
a pain point. It spoke to, like, they understood their customers, the problems that they had, and they
had a p
roduct t
hat was speaking to it.
They’re they’re a really good example of that.
Very cool. Yeah. I think that sometimes it doesn’t even have to be the messaging. It could
be, like, the actual product design Product design. It’s like you did this for me. And
there’s only way
you could have done this is if you had me in mind whenever
you were
making it.
So I think that’s fantastic. Great example.
Where can people find you if they wanna learn more about you and your work?
Yeah. So I spend a lot of time o
n LinkedIn posting and sharing my thoughts, frameworks,
ideas, all about, messaging and copy, and communicating better with your customers. So you can
connect with me over there.
IM_Ep 111_How to deliver inclusive brand messaging with Diane Wiredu.pdf
Feel free to send a message as well and say hi. So I’m just under Diane
Wiredu. Or if you wanna
learn a little bit more about the work I do with my messaging consultancy, which is called LionWords,
then you can head over to lionwords.com, and you can get to know a little bit more about the services
and the work that I do with
companies as well.
Very cool.
I will include all of that in the show notes, so people can access it easily. Diane,
again, this has been so much fun,
so enlightening. Any parting words of wisdom for marketers
and business leaders who wanna do a b
etter job with their messaging by making more p the people
that they serve feel like they belong with them?
Yeah. I mean, I think a couple of parting words of wisdom would be just kind of understanding
that it’s a process. Right? I think I’m gonna t
ry and keep this light instead of maybe giving, like,
practical steps and tips because I think, I’ve got a lot of content and free content on this, and I’ve
written about this a lot.
So definitely head to my LinkedIn and check out things. I’ve written gui
des and posts all about this
stuff. But I think just kind of understanding, giving yourself a little bit of grace. Right? So the
messaging that every company starts with is never gonna be the one that we end up with.
And so it’s really about understanding
that you can tighten this, get better,
get more specific, and
So I think that that would be my kind of passing word of wisdom.
Very cool. Thanks so much, Diane. This has been a real treat.
Yeah. This was fun. Yeah. Been lovely chatt
ing with you.
Diane had so many cool things to share, and I really learned a lot in terms of how to think about
messaging and how to think about ensuring that you have insights from the various identities of the
people that you serve so that your brand me
ssaging can do the job that you’re hiring it to do.
That’s it for today’s episode. If you like this show, I would so love it if you would share it with a friend,
colleague, and your network. It really does go a long way towards helping more people discover
show. And while you’re at it, please do leave a rating and review for the podcast on your podcast
player of choice.
It really does go a long way towards helping more people discover the show, and I like to think that
all these actions help more peopl
e be inclusive, and we can all just really use more of that. Right?
Another question for you. Are you getting the inclusion and marketing newsletter? If you’re not,
really, what are you even doing? Each week, I send news, tips, stories, insights, and othe
r goodies
for you to help you build an inclusive brand that helps you attract and
retain a diverse customer
Go to inclusion in marketing.com/newsletter to get signed up. I’ll also drop a link to it in the
show notes for you so you can get access to i
t easily.
Until next time remember, everyone deserves to have a place where they belong.
Let’s use our individual and collective power to ensure more people feel like they do.
Thanks so much for listening.
Talk to you soon.