Diversity Marketing Grows Brands

May 30, 2013 | Social Media Communities

It’s well understood that a brand can’t be all things to all people, but how a brand engages targeted groups is equally important. Especially when it comes to diversity.

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on the topic of Diversity Marketing with one of Canada’s big banks. The panel shared 3 key ideas for effective Diversity Marketing:

  • Know yourself and follow your passions
  • Authentically care about the groups you serve
  • Become a subject matter expert

Their points are practical and tactical.

Diversity starts with self-awareness

It starts with you. Do you have a genuine interest in a group or issue?

The community will continue to exist whether you’re involved or not. The question is whether you have the natural interest and stamina to get involved and support it for the long haul.

You may be drawn to a group, because you’re already a member of it. Or you could have a genuine interest in the topic. Knowing yourself and your interests will make it easier to choose groups that fit you.

One of the panelists shared his commitment to supporting the transgender community. He compared being transgender to the gay man of the 80’s. The group is highly discriminated against, and he viewed it as a personal mission to help these individuals achieve the recognition and equality they deserve.

He is gay, and has fought hard to achieve equality for the LGBT community. Helping the transgender community is a clear purpose and commitment for him.

Diversity is based on authenticity

A community can see a marketing pitch from a mile away.

Many companies target distinct communities, because they are perceived as “ideal prospects.” The demographic data may look promising, but that’s not a reason to engage a community.

Diversity marketing relies on your genuine commitment to get involved. Without that foundational building block the topic is just a hollow marketing strategy.

Communities expect and want more. As one panelist said, “Once I stopped focusing on the money and focused on being generous and giving back, my income skyrocketed.”

The key word is generosity. Focusing on a diverse group is inherently about giving back and supporting their needs.

Talent trumps marketing

At the end of the panel, the final word was there is no replacement for good talent.

The advice to clients was to select the best advisor for your needs. If that person happens to be active in your community, great. But if the right talent isn’t engaged in your community, go find the best person for your needs.

It was fascinating to hear the panelists argue this point of view, but I wasn’t surprised. The panelists are subject matter experts, and they are deeply committed to their industry. Their focus is first and foremost delivering exceptional service and expertise for their clients.

You can only tell clients to find the best advisor when you already know you’re one of them.

Diversity is reality

It doesn’t take much digging to see the value of diversity marketing. Demographically every major city and region is teeming with diverse groups: social, cultural and ethnic.

For example, I am based in Toronto, Canada. There are over 5.5 million people living in the Greater Toronto Area, and the diversity of this region is immense:

  • Close to half of Toronto’s residents were born outside of Canada
  • There are over 120 languages and dialects spoken here
  • A third of Toronto’s residents speak a language other than English or French in their homes

And these stats don’t even take into account social or cultural trends.

In almost every community you can find immense diversity if you scratch the surface. Once you do you will find a rich world of groups and communities that you can purposefully engage and serve.

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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