My key piece of advice is to embrace the power of difference in who you hire, what you look for in your team members and who you include in your marketing programs and creative. The core principle to achieving diversity, equity and inclusion is unlocking relationships with valuable and commonly underrepresented audiences -- an area that many businesses gloss over.
Below are a few tips to ensure you’re accurately and effectively communicating your value for DEI:
Recognize intersections, not stereotypes. Diversity encompasses several identities, and they don’t come as a “one-size-fits-all.” Recognizing the scope and intersections of different identities is key to developing inclusive content.
While it’s tempting to place people into neat boxes based on their perceived identities, this practice doesn’t consider the ways people hold multiple identities and how those identities intersect. Meeting people at those intersections is where authentic relationships are formed.
By recognizing individualism within your audiences, you can better connect with them on a personal level and show that you value their unique experiences and backgrounds.
Listen and engage to earn trust. Group identities are a thing of the past. Researching and listening to your audience’s values is one of the strongest things you can do to truly connect with your desired audience.
By listening and engaging with your audience you’re ensuring that your product is valuable to the people you’re serving.
People want to be seen and heard, and they want to support companies that practice what they preach. Keeping DEI initiatives at the forefront of your creative materials will show your audience that you take DEI seriously and that they can trust your brand.
Be patient and keep the course. Allyship is a journey, not a destination. While companies strive for efficiency when implementing initiatives, DEI requires patience and a willingness to constantly find ways to improve. Checking off boxes and then sidelining DEI initiatives is performative activism. Companies need to constantly evaluate their culture and values to ensure that they’re working toward inclusivity.
Every person and every company are at a different stage in their journey toward allyship, and small, “micro” actions are just as valuable as grand gestures. Reflecting on where your company is on the journey and setting tangible, realistic goals will lead to authentic outcomes.
Allyship is fluid, and genuine outcomes are produced through intentional, consistent actions.