By

Matthew Lowe

How diverse is your marketing team and how extensive is your strategy to develop that diversity for everyone’s benefit?

Summary

Diversity is one of the most important agendas in modern marketing. It goes beyond addressing gender differences and stretches out to the representation of ethnic groups and LGBT people. Not only internally, in terms of hiring, but also externally, in how a brand speaks to the range of people in modern society.

Diversity also needs to start factoring in things like the shifting ages of different populations, socio-economic backgrounds and even political leanings. Why? Because these are world-views that cut across the perspectives of all groups, ultimately leaving you with an individual.

Inherently unique but with a set of common experiences and outlooks that your brand and your internal work environment can tailor too. Isn’t reaching the individual on a personal level the modern marketing dream?

Increasing the diversity numbers is a start but basing your hiring and activity levels on meeting or just surpassing industry standards is a very crude and self-limiting approach. You must go further.

Representation needs to be worked into different roles and levels of seniority if you’re to break free of deep rooted traditions, behaviours and mindsets. For instance, you may think the number of women in the marketing industry is better than most but the stats for those in senior positions shows disparity.

Will making big changes to your diversity situation make a positive difference? Will it be worth the extra thought and care?

The answer is yes. For several reasons.

It matters to customers

How many times have we seen brands miss the mark over the last few years when it comes to representation in their messaging? And by miss the mark, we mean witnessing customers shred the brand on social media, strike a mean dent in the company’s reputation and see marketing teams scramble to salvage what they can before revenue takes too big a hit.

When a brand screws up diversity in their messaging it seems so obvious to us in the public that we can’t believe the ad or the content made it past the brainstorming session. We wonder what the executives were thinking and marvel at how they could be so out of touch.

Often it’s because these teams and their management lack the necessary diversity and experience levels needed to reach the modern customer.

Brands are global entities now, thanks to social media. People don’t even have to purchase from you to affect the bottom line. A mocking tweet can add to the avalanche you’re facing online thanks to a desperately non inclusive campaign.

Your brand’s messaging needs to reflect the modern global, digital and diverse consumer base. You can only manage that by bringing in people who represent that.

It matters to your team

Diversity among your creatives drastically increases your chances of meeting the diversity of modern society and crafting messages that will reach them. Teams that are fixed and narrow might lack the levels of debate and discussion needed to avoid stale or even ill-advised content.

The more backgrounds, experiences, professions and ages you have in your team, the more angles can be created and chances of real empathy with customers created. In very real terms, this means the difference between success and failure of their work. Which in turn affects their career.

From an internal perspective, failing to address diversity in the workplace shows that the leadership might be failing to acknowledge the reality of changing population dynamics. Whether intentionally, through prejudice, or unintentionally, through things like unconscious bias in hiring and promotion decisions, this shortfall can be very noticeable.

When it’s noticed, the question of whether to stick around comes to the surface. There’s a risk of losing serious talent if the environment is unsupportive of diversity.

It matters to society

Finally, morally, diversity is a must. Brands are now living entities and for them to fit into society, they need to reflect the real makeup of it if they want to keep functioning and thriving. Brands are learning, one way or another, that people care.

Perhaps the biggest sign of this is the behaviour of Millennials, who now make up the largest generation in play in the workforce and a massive role in the consumer pool. Their attitudes towards the companies they want to work for and the products they buy are more progressive than ever before.

Equal opportunity is a fundamental right that means so much to modern society. Diversity is vital to achieving it. As more and more people’s voices are heard and find a rightful place in communities, it’s inevitable that it will translate into the workplace.

We suggest you take full advantage of this progress and see for yourself the wondrous difference diversity can make.