The New Yorker and The New York Times were rightly awarded the Pulitzer Prize for sensitive reporting of the #MeToo movement. It’s balanced views and opinions sparked debate and conversation around topics that society and business would have traditionally shied away from. It took difficult topics from the margins into the mainstream and this is what good quality journalism is all about.
The campaign's high profile media attention across social, broadcast and print, galvanised audiences online and promoted the need for positive social change and action. But it's success has brought about a wave of copycat marketing strategies and campaigns by brands looking to hi-jack the debate and media share around diversity and inclusivity as part of the communications plan and marketing strategy.
I have always struggled with the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and initiatives as part of the “marketing plan” or communications strategy. It’s not that I don’t believe in CSR, equality or diversity, it’s just I have always found it contrived and somewhat disingenuous when you see the CEO handing over food at a local food bank as he poses for the PR money shot, whilst simultaneously pulling the keys for his brand-new Lexus.
Diversity comes in many shapes and forms. It means different things to different people.
Changing your marketing strategy and communications plans to incorporate diversity is not an overnight fix to inspire a dwindling brand reputation and declining profits. In practice it needs to be consciously accepted and subconsciously implemented. This takes time.
There are not many brands which strike the balance right. However, I always think coffee shops are a great example of encouraging diversity, acceptance, culture, sharing and sustainability. Of course, some of the more global brands do tip the scales in favour of greedy profits. But overall, independent coffee shops are a great environment and example of where diversity and inclusivity come to life whilst you sip your morning Latte.
Step inside a coffee shop today and you will see how people can come and go as they please. They are never pressured to choose from the vast menu choices. Their personal preferences are accommodated and never judged. Local community groups can meet and spend as much time as they like- sharing, caring and sipping. Business men and women host formal meetings, whilst the art student hastily sketches the scene in the background. Pictures adorn the walls and do provide subtle hints at inclusivity and diversity, but because the images are in the right setting and are brand relevant - it fits right.
Start with your values- are they still current and relevant to your organisation today? Do you believe in them? Are they in a language you understand? Think about how you can bring this to life and how you can make sure that these values translate into your everyday working practices. Bring everyone together from different functions of the business and work together to get the right blend and balance.
Diversity, equality and sustainability should all be championed and celebrated. But it needs to be intrinsic to what you do. It needs to be incorporated into everyday processes and remain true to who you are and the industries you serve.