Updated: Nov 23
Let’s be honest, as professionals in communications, we do a hell of a lot of talking. We engage the masses through our posts, hashtags, follow trends, and even put our money where our mouth is. Add to that the recent changes in the global landscape, PR professionals are once again ascending to increase their efforts in bringing diversity and inclusion.
And why not?
It's 2022. The current generation that forms the majority of the workforce globally is conditioned to be more sensitive towards people and look at the world through the same lens. In fact, research by Deloitte says that diverse companies benefit a 2.3x higher cash flow per worker. DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is the new normal, and anyone who doesn't abide by it is living in a dead era.
Are your PR strategies appropriate for your audience, employees, and the entire world, in general?
DEI in Teams
Before we can even start to build a diverse campaign, your teams need to be diverse. Why? Well, for starters, not being thoughtful is a rookie mistake in PR strategy. When you deal with a group of people belonging to the same gender, age group, race, sexuality, cultural background, etc., any information collected is usually on the lines of a collective bias. Having an inclusive perspective can provide enhanced insights, amplify creativity, make the process more target-oriented according to the audience, and all in all, get better results every single time.
So how do you build a DEI-led team?
Look around the room. What about perspectives? Are different age groups included?
Do you see any diversity and inclusion? Is there a representation and a voice of your audience in the room?
While answering most of these questions, you will realize that perhaps you need to step back and reshape your hiring process alongside Human Resources more empathetically.
DEI in PR
As PR pros, we believe it’s time to put a genuine perspective to #equalityamongall. Do you remember those times when content agencies focused on fancy wordsmithing with a cool design for the sake of living in a self-congratulatory hyperbole? Let's not be them. Let's bring more compassion to our content.
Let’s begin implementing what we have discussed till now. It's about time.
Here's what you can do:
Acknowledge the Bias In Your Communications
Whether we want to believe it or not, we all have biases. Conscious or unconscious, our personal bias affects our relationships with teams and clients, our work, and all of our campaigns. Cognitive bias occurs when we shape our opinions based on how we perceive the world. It results from the environment we grow up in and the type of people we are exposed to. For example, when reading the word scientists, a majority of people might draw a man in their minds. That's a bias.
It is important to acknowledge such biases, identify them, and fix them.
Build Safe Spaces for People
A little empathy goes a long way. Put yourself in everyone else's shoes. According to research, a diverse team will always make better decisions 87% of the time. You will find that many PR blunders could be avoided if different voices and perspectives in the room were heard. If only they were in the room!
Connect With Your Audience
It's a must to know your audience. Gain insight into their needs, culture, and preferences. Do not draw your assumptions of who YOU might think they are. Don't worry - you don’t have to expend big bucks on this. Just ensure that various areas of DEI are accounted for.
Draw an Inclusive Imagery and Language
Words and images tell our brand’s story. Think about including person-first language in your materials. Shift away from compliance language, and refrain away from images that might look biased or offensive.
Pour Enough Time and Resources for Professional Development in DEI
Put your employees first. Offer professional development sessions on DEI. Just like you create a budget for your paid media, create a budget for professional development that improves DEI in the workplace.
Leading the Way!
Be a leader. Take the plunge.
Diversity and inclusion are not only crucial to your consumers but also your employees. And while your role might not be tied specifically to DEI, PR pros must know that all their communication efforts surely are.
Trying it for the first time? Don’t throw away your shot! You will get better with time.