Building A Diverse And Equitable Business: The Role Of Marketing

Topic: Building A Diverse And Equitable Business: The Role Of Marketing

Jesse Jackson once said, “Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.”

This is more evident now than ever before. There is no question for me that prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in companies of every size and in every industry comes with a renewed sense of urgency in the United States today.

When you think about which department within an organization should be most focused on prioritizing DEI, human resources may come to mind. However, diversity isn’t just an internal HR matter; marketers have an opportunity and a responsibility to put diversity at the forefront of their thinking when they’re hiring colleagues, creating content and planning campaigns.

Why marketing?

Marketers have access to communications and media that can change DEI from an initiative to an integral part of a company’s culture and its brand. It is marketers who translate corporate strategy and brand concepts into the words, images and messages the company uses both internally and externally. Simply put, marketers are change agents. And putting DEI at the forefront of our marketing campaigns is a responsibility we should own.

DEI can help grow the business and build loyalty.

In an August 2020 report on the retail and consumer goods markets, McKinsey points out that consumers are showing a preference for brands and retailers they trust and that it’s important for companies to demonstrate social responsibility. Consumers are changing their attitudes about where to buy and voting with their wallets: According to a 2019 survey from Markstein and Certus Insights (via Businesswire), “46% [of consumers] pay close attention to a brand’s social responsibility efforts when they buy a product.” Those companies that put words into action to address DEI will likely be rewarded.

Forward-thinking companies like Verizon understand this shift. In April 2021, Verizon announced that it is rolling out a new set of goals around how it approaches DEI in all aspects of its marketing operations, including a commitment to spend 30% of its budget on “diverse-owned video, experiential and print production firms” and other initiatives that take into account an industry-wide gender equality measure. According to Verizon CMO Diego Scotti, “Corporate social responsibility isn’t the thing you do on the side in terms of philanthropy — you must move it to be central to your strategy.”

The bottom line is that if our audience sees themselves reflected in our company’s marketing campaigns, they will take notice. And, in today’s environment where getting above the noise is difficult, taking an authentic approach to diversity and equity can help you garner the attention your brand needs to build a loyal following.

Topic Discussed: Building A Diverse And Equitable Business: The Role Of Marketing

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