Inclusion and diversity in marketing won’t just happen— it takes deliberate steps from marketers to amplify unheard voices and represent diverse audiences. In this, the third episode in our fice-part webinar series for marketers on D&I, Diversity & Inclusion – Marketing for Social Good – What’s your Next Step? our panel of experts discussed hard-hitting questions around the importance of D&I in the corporate agenda and what it means to be a D&I advocate.
Payal Raina, Global Head of Marketing at Torstone Technology and Founder of Fintech B2B, moderated our high-profile panel which included: Noreen Biddle Shah, Head of Client Marketing & Corporate Communications at State Street for EMEA; AnooshaLivani, Director & UK Head of Marketing at SocieteGenerale Securities; and Chris Wilson, Communications Lead at Coutts. Points discussed include:
6 Important points to remember about being a D&I champion
- Crisis time – is D&I being pushed down the agenda?
- How can the Fintech services and the FinTech industries encourage authentic leadership endorsement?
- D&I as an embedded part of corporate strategy – how to address the cynics and move away from box-ticking?
- Measuring Progress: The use of metrics to drive greater inclusivity
- How to be a D&I ally/champion?
Importance of awareness campaigns and public discussion during crisis periods:
Movements such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter which are driven by the public have been a catalyst for organisations such as Reboot who are now able to continue sharing these stories. Discussions on diversity and inclusion are so important and extremely relevant during crisis periods when minorities are hit the hardest. If you look back at the financial crisis, those organisations with more diverse management teams tended to be more resilient and tended to weather the storm better.
Role of marketers in these discussions:
As marketing and PR professionals we act as the shop window, so we can’t be complacent or tone-deaf to what’s happening around us. Especially now, with company reputations in the spotlight like never been before, companies need to have an opinion; they need to have a viewpoint on the issues of the day because indifference is not enough.As marketers, we’re the voice of the organisation but we’re also the voice of the stakeholders, the clients as well: what our customers want and think.
Role of leaders in driving D&I and change within companies:
It’s our responsibility when deciding on company goals, to advise to push D&I up the board agenda. It’s not just the right thing to do for moral reasons but also because it makes business sense – there’s a huge growth opportunity there if you do this properly. That being said your leaders need to be proactive allies, it’s not just a nice to have any more. You need to seek them out and you need to make sure that they are there to keep it front of mind.
Importance of tone and voice in a global environment:
As marketing professionals, tone of voice is always important, but specifically in terms of who you’re addressing and how to be inclusive with that voice. We need to be mindful of cultural nuances, especially as geographical boundaries disappear and we work in a truly interconnected global environment.
Transparency – admitting wrong rather than wilful ignorance or indifference:
Companies need to be brave and be willing to admit when they’ve done wrong. You can’t really move forward and drive change until you’re ready to acknowledge the faults of the past.
Authentic leadership and the battle against cynical box-ticking:
If you want to be authentic, you really need to offer a platform to your workforce so they feel safe, they feel included, they can talk about experiences of discrimination or unconscious bias and, more importantly, others can be educated and awareness raised.
Reboot Case Study:
Reboot is a not-for-profit organisation with the sole objective of raising awareness and ensuring the momentum is maintained around dialogue on race relations within the UK. It consists mainly of senior communications and marketing specialists across various industries, currently, there are seven staff members.By using the power of storytelling, advocating for change in the workplace and sustaining the push for equality, Reboot has created a platform to hear from many ambitious ethnic minority professionals making a mark in the corporate world.
Situation/Current challenges – formation of Reboot
Only 14% of the UK working age population come from a black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and they only represent 6% of senior positions, 5% of CEOs in FTSE 100 organisations and 3% of the most powerful, prominent 1,000 people in the UK. This all adds up to a £3.2 billion pay gap for ethnic minority workers in the UK versus their white peers.This provided a unique opportunity:the members of Reboot felt they are in a position to actually make a difference becauseas marketers and communications professionalsthey’re often either that first line of defence or that first line of promotion.