How does branding and diversity work together?

You do branding? Wait, you tackle diversity? What exactly does diversity have to do with my brand?

When I tell people about the type of consultancy experience we provide for clients, the above series of questions sometimes arises.

People often want to separate their brand strategy from their diversity initiatives, but that is an ineffective way to shift your culture and elevate your brand.

When it comes to addressing diversity and building a more inclusive culture you have to approach it with a comprehensive plan of action and the most effective way to do this is through the brand.  

Understanding that your brand is present in all functions of the business, internally and externally, why not leverage this existing intrinsic medium?

Here are a few ways incorporating diversity into the brand can lead to greater impact within your organization:

Gage the inclusion temperature in all departments

Diversity initiatives are often viewed as the right thing to do and placed as this lofty ideal. This approach leads to miscommunication of how diversity is an integral part of the company goals. There has to be practical and measurable approaches to addressing diversity.

Upper management sometimes understands the well meaning and even the business case for diversity, but it is not communicated well down the corporate hierarchy (if one exist) or throughout the organization.

By gaging the inclusion temperature in all departments, you can discover which departments need further development in comprehension and where diverse talent can positively have influence.

Breath inclusion into your brand strategy

Inclusion should be a priority throughout the organization. Take a strategic approach and incorporate inclusive principles in corporate communication, marketing, and the supplier chain.  This deliberate focus on language, aims, and motives and consistent use will overtime make it clear that diversity and inclusion is part of the ethos of the organization.  

Get an idea of how diverse audiences perceive your brand

When HR post a job description is the language too masculine, feminine, or neutral? Does your company recognize certain religious based holidays and not others? Do you require minority and women owned businesses to be certified before extending opportunities to work together? Is your brand image viewed as the "twenty-something hipster club" or "good ole boys network"?

Investigate how people in general and particularly those from diverse or non-dominant groups perceive your brand. When you understand your perception you can devise a plan to detract those sentiments or, if positively perceived, enhance your brand. 

Go beyond diversity

Assuming your goal is to increase diversity throughout your organization, you have to rethink what diversity is for your organization. Without cultural competence, diversity initiatives will be pointless and your organization will not see the type of inclusion benefits it is hoping for.  By focusing on cultural competence and incorporating that into your brand, you will catalyze the type of change that is needed. 

Our customer base and talent pools are being recognized for having more diversity---made up of different genders, ethnicities, races, ages, religious beliefs, and physicality's.  The global walls are being demolished thanks to technology, making it imperative to understand people who may have different cultural beliefs. Businesses have to connect their brand in meaningful and relevant ways to attract this diverse group of people. It is not about doing only what's right, but what's right for business and to maintain a competitive edge. 

 


Breath inclusion into your brand strategy

Inclusion should be a priority throughout the organization. Take a strategic approach and incorporate inclusive principles in corporate communication, marketing, and the supplier chain.  This deliberate focus on language, aims, and motives and consistent use will overtime make it clear that diversity and inclusion is part of the ethos of the organization.  

This will help attract and retain diverse talent.


Get an idea of how diverse audiences perceive your brand

When HR post a job description is the language to masculine, feminine, or neutral? Does your company recognize certain religious based holidays and not others? Do you require minority and women owned businesses to be certified before extending opportunities to work together? Is the image your brand viewed as the "twenty-something hipster club" or "good ole boys network"?

Investigate how people in general and particularly those from diverse or non-dominant groups perceive your brand. When you understand your perception you can devise a plan to detract those sentiments or, if positively perceived, enhance your brand. 


Go beyond diversity

Assuming your goal is to increase diversity throughout your organization, you have to rethink what diversity means. Without cultural competence, diversity initiatives will be pointless and your organization will not see the type of inclusion benefits it is hoping for.  By focusing on cultural competence and incorporating that into your brand, you will catalyze the type of change that is needed. 

Our customer base and talent pools are becoming more diverse---made up of different genders, ethnicities, races, ages, religious beliefs, and physicality's.  The global walls are being demolished thanks to technology. Businesses have to connect their brand in meaningful and relevant ways to attract this diverse group of people. It is not about doing only what's right, but what's right for business and to maintain a competitive edge. 

Mellie Blue helps our clients achieve these goals and more. If you are ready to defy the conventional contact us, we'd love to hear from you!

Challenging the system,

L.Byrd

Louis Byrd