The internet is full of voices.
They shout at us with different views, political beliefs, religious opinions, new theories and crazy ideas. This chorus of voices gives us the opportunity to find our personal community of brothers and sisters while simultaneously fueling anonymity, isolation, bigotry and mass ignorance.
Today, you simply can’t hide who you are anymore online. Every individual and organization has a digital trail documenting who they are and the values they represent.
That’s why it’s never been a better time to embrace diversity in business. Diverse business practices are being recognized all over the country and on the federal level. California was the first state to recognize LGBT Business Enterprises as a diverse category alongside women, Veteran- and minority-owned businesses regulated by the state’s public utility commission. Massachusetts recently voted to do even more, opening up LGBT businesses to the total statewide supplier diversity program. Even the Golden Globes were more diverse than ever, and television in general is getting more diverse.
Diversity and ChatterBlast
ChatterBlast was founded and continues to operate in Philadelphia, a city with an enormous amount of cultural and ethnic diversity. This environment has had a huge impact on the way we do business, and we’re proud to be involved with companies like this for many years:
- In Philadelphia we are participants in Exelon’s (PECO) Diverse Supplier Development Institute to foster growth of the diversity community here in Philadelphia.
- In California we’ve worked proudly with California Water Services Company, who is at the forefront of the diversity and inclusion effort underneath the recent changes within the CA Public Utilities Commission and their diversity efforts.
- We partner with Comcast, who recently received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign for their work on LGBT diversity and inclusion.
We know it’s not only because it is good for business, but because we all know that many diverse voices make a great choir…and we like karaoke!
Diversity and Government
The Democratic National Convention recently made history by announcing a target goal of spending up to 33 percent of their expenditures with women-, minority-, diverse- and LGBT-owned business. As we approach a monumental election, we’re hoping that Philadelphia can show the nation that diversity is a priority by investing in it.
Despite great advances in the movement for equality, many people and business owners are still in a place of risk. LGBT people in Houston, for example, are still at risk for senseless discrimination. Indiana legislators are working hard to reduce LGBT rights across the board. You can still be fired in Pennsylvania simply for being gay or lesbian. This isn’t good for any of our online communities anymore, is it?
The Role of Diversity in Marketing
As a business, our NGLCC certification is only a piece of paper. Diversity means more than gender, race and disability status.
Diversity should be integrated into business practices, marketing strategies and goals. Some companies, like the ones we’ve worked with, have done that; they’ve preached diversity as well as practiced it.
On the other hand, there are other companies that advocate for diversity and somewhere along the way it loses priority. Whether it’s a human resources manager with a closeted bias or a CEO who doesn’t see a problem with an all-white, straight, male C-suite. Even our darling Twitter demonstrates how this can happen, with substantial consequences, such as:
- Complaints of the lack of diversity negatively impacting their stock price.
- At least one employee forgoing a severance package so he could speak out about the extreme diversity problem.
- Proclamations that there’s been significant damages done related to the engagement of minority communities, and the hiring of a white male as a head of diversity only demonstrated how tone-deaf the company is.
Diversity isn’t a process, procedure or one productive meeting. It’s a daily topic that should be considered, discussed and addressed. At ChatterBlast, we often ask ourselves if our creative perspectives are diverse enough. Are we talking correctly to everyone we can? Are we doing everything we can to make sure the message resonates with a truly diverse audience?
These questions aren’t just a nice-to-have when it comes to marketing. They’re a must-have, because even if you ignore how different communities are using social media, users still control the medium. Take Black Twitter. It’s a powerful example of how a social platform can and will be used by non-white, non-mainstream communities to have conversations that are highly relevant to them. Black Twitter isn’t a separate social network from Twitter; it’s the same place where Donald Trump spews bigotry, just used in a positive, meaningful, uniting way.
Understanding the reach of social media and working that into marketing and messaging can pay off in the long-run. From our experience over the last six years, the most successful campaigns and marketing messages have been focused on diverse and unique perspectives.
This approach can help propel your brand and set yourself apart from the standard opinions, even if it comes with some minor backlash. Just look at the success of American Airlines.
Progressive corporations and governments have chosen to stand behind this theory but there’s much more work to be done. How are you helping diverse voices be heard with your marketing communications? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.