Everywhere you turn in today’s world, you hear about DEI and the impact that it is having on companies. For small business owners, this can be intimidating. One wrong step on an issue this large and the backlash could severely harm your entire organization. Navigating the topic of DEI can be challenging, and finding that delicate balance can be quite a feat. In this article, we will help lay the framework for navigating these unchartered waters. We hope to provide valuable tips to implement DEI marketing strategies while staying authentic to yourself and your brand.
Stay True to Your Audience:
Before you start developing any marketing strategy, primarily one as sensitive as DEI, ensure you strongly understand your audience. Develop a deep understanding of your consumer’s demographics, preferences, and cultural nuances. Take the time to educate yourself on what other things are essential to your audience’s life, and have a good pulse on what drives your consumers’ behaviors. Surveys and questionnaires are a great way to understand values.
One of the main focuses of DEI marketing is authentic representation. Campaigns perform better if they accurately reflect the diversity in your target market. Everything you create should be something that you feel strongly represents your brand. Including individuals from different racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds is essential. Still, it can fall flat or miss the market if you do not consider what your brand stands for. It is vital to avoid tokenism and ensure that diversity is genuinely a part of your core messaging. Create a focus group and discuss your brand attributes.
Let Diversity Be Apart of Your Values:
The easiest way to succeed in your DEI campaigns is to have a diverse team. Celebrate your team’s individuality, and allow them to share their stories, passions, and background. Take time to embrace diverse voices and perspectives and encourage open dialogue, creating an environment where everyone can speak up. By developing an inclusive work environment, you will be better equipped to create authentic and culturally sensitive marketing campaigns. At Alaniz we share individuals activities, holidays and celebrations and discuss and learn about the differences creating connection and a deeper understanding.
Educate Your Team:
DEI marketing is growing and evolving faster than we have ever seen, and it is vital to stay updated. Challenge yourself to stay up to date on the latest trends, research, and legal ramifications. Have your team attend webinars, conferences, and workshops. Stay in the know with podcasts and published articles. Stay tuned for Roxanne’s DEI podcast launching soon.
Messaging is Key:
As you start compiling your marketing content, pay special attention to the language and messaging used. Avoid cultural appropriation and stereotypes. Be mindful of the different nuances of some communities and sensitive topics. Ensure that your messaging is inclusive and respectful. Be open to collaboration with professionals that can help guide you through cultural appropriateness and help you craft messages that resonate positively. We have worked with clients that create a community board that helps provide feedback. A community board can be created with individual community members, stakeholders, church leaders, or anyone you feel will help provide helpful feedback.
Build the Right Relationships:
Conduct thorough due diligence if you plan to go down the path of influencer marketing or brand ambassadors. Ensure that these connections also embody the same DEI values you have. Also, pay close attention to any controversies they have been involved in. If they align with a brand that you disagree with or don’t like their marketing campaigns, someone other than this individual may be the right fit for your brand. You should feel comfortable with the brand ambassadors you bring on. If they are someone you could see being the face of your brand, then you have found your match. Avoid influencers that you feel will undermine your brand’s integrity. Look at the followers, comments and review their content.
Be Transparent and Accountable:
Being open and transparent with your audience is essential to your DEI marketing. Be comfortable talking about your intentions, actions, and progress. Remember to acknowledge and learn from missteps or mistakes, and stay humble. Encourage feedback, and then take action to make the adjustments. If you are willing to evolve and improve, your patrons will support and rally behind you. It’s okay to be vulnerable and share.
DEI in marketing takes a detailed and compassionate approach. You can successfully develop and incorporate a meaningful and impactful marketing strategy by prioritizing authentic representation, cultivating diversity within your organization, and continuously educating yourself. One fun exercise to practice: ask yourself who is in your circle of friends and then ask “who is missing?”
We would love to hear from you and any great success stories you would like to share. We are also always here to connect with you and discuss any questions around marketing and DEI.