This month we celebrate Black History Month and if you want to learn more about this celebration visit the History Channel’s site. Many companies focus this month in celebrating the contributions of African Americans both with internal and external audiences but looking at the demographics you would think it should be more than a month. I do agree that this is a great opportunity to engage and celebrate but be sure you engage with your resource/affinity groups and with leaders who understand the community in building programs that are not just a month-long celebration.
This is also an opportunity to look at the present and future, as well as the impact of the community. From black purchasing power, to the small business impact, to the importance of the black vote as seen in the Alabama election and to the entertainment impact, with the most recent example being Black Panther. If you missed the red carpet premiere, as this article states, it was a glorious celebration.
Yet when it comes to celebrating diversity, many companies still get it wrong both internally and externally. Look at the RAM Trucks Super Bowl commercial, and yes the estate approved the use of Dr. Martin Luther King’s voice, but it goes back to the question of representation. Did the brand or advertising team have any diversity on the team? Did they have colleagues who felt empowered to flag that there may be an issue? This is why it’s important. Your intent may be good, and I am sure it was, but if you do not understand the audience or the sensitivities, you are not being authentic and will have bigger issues to manage. The negative response on social was swift and reflected overall in the coverage in outlets including the New York Times, ABC and CBS to name a few. This is from AdAge on the brand defending the ad.
Staying on the Super Bowl topic, if you did not follow the 3 Percent Conference Super Bowl Tweetup, you should have. In fact all marketers should do a search using the #3percentSB hashtag, you will find great insights. Participants applied the three percent test to the commercials, which is:
1. Is there a woman?
2. Is she defying stereotypes?
3. Is she the hero?
I did watch each commercial differently this year as I followed the Tweetup.
This past week PRWeek released this fantastic video on “Being Black in PR.” Watch it. Share it. Use it internally. I could relate to so many of the points made and congratulate Perry Simpson and everyone who worked on it and contributed their voice to a very important resource.
It seems there is a weekly report issued on why diversity matters, here is this one from Harvard Business Review titled “How and Where Diversity Drives Financial Performance.” It includes some great data and, as it says, hopefully motivation for increasing diversity. It found that “the most-diverse enterprises were also the most innovative, as measured by the freshness of their revenue mix.” And then there is also what seems like a weekly report regarding the lack of diversity in an industry or sector, here is this one titled “Academic Medicine Needs More Women Leaders.”
This week’s ICYMI story is one that hopefully inspires you. Titled “Code Breakers: Computer science has a girl problem and Reshma Saujani MPP 1999 is fixing it,” the piece profiles Reshma Saujani and Girls Who Code, which has taught coding to more than 40,000 girls.
Finally, last week I shared this list of upcoming conferences which will be updated periodically. If there are other events to include or to highlight, please do not hesitate to send my way.