IBM and Allyship

A campaign for leaders to say ‘I’m In!’

IBM and Allyship: I'm Inclusive campaign


“We need a film to encourage senior leaders to become allies for diversity and inclusion,” IBM told us.

“No, you don’t.” we said. “You need to understand why they’re not being the allies you know they need to be.”

And so we embarked on a series of behavioural barrier workshops with the Global IBM diversity and inclusion team.

The aim was to increase the number of allies for all communities across IBM worldwide and build on the existing ‘Be Equal’ campaign. Armed with a process for exploring why people do what they do, we set to work.



Driven by key insights into how senior leaders think, we focused our work on 3 simple truths:

  • Leaders don’t like being exposed by a lack of information and want easy starting points
  • Leaders will mirror behaviours they believe will help advance their careers
  • Leaders are time poor and can only consume a finite quantity of information

Too often, diversity and inclusion communication is driven by the incorrect belief that people will do something because it’s the right thing to do. They will act if it is the right thing to do and the right thing for them.

The ‘I’m In’ campaign was designed with social proofing and scarcity bias at heart.

We wanted to create a campaign that made clear that others were doing this and there was limited time to join the crowd.

‘Be Equal’ had already set out IBM’s aims, ‘I’m In’ asked leaders to put their name to it.


“I’m in” needed a vehicle.

We knew that leaders wanted access to the information that would help them become better allies, even if they had different motives.

It was important to make the process easy.

The existing pages went straight into the fine detail, which was great if you were already an ally buy not so great if you were a time-poor leader.

We created a vehicle in the form of an online allyship toolbox. It allowed leaders – or anybody engaging with it – to access diversity and inclusion communities at 3 levels.

It start with the most basic information and worked up to a level of information where leaders felt empowered to host their first proper support conversations in diversity and inclusion.


One masterstroke was the personalisation of IBM’s allyship website. By positioning each page as being curated and owned by community leaders, we created an intimacy to diversity and inclusion that hadn’t been explored before.

The site invited leaders to engage with people who were living different experiences and representing communities. Immediately, the connection was different.

Today, the site is driving up ally numbers and increasing the understanding of different communities.

The launch was great. And we are continuing to grow our commitment to allyship through a series of I'm In initiatives.