Black History Month, Super Bowl, #3percentSB, Being Black in PR & more

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.  

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

2018 diversity conferences, Forbes, Uber, The Grammy Awards & more

Here is this list of 2018 diversity conferences and events that may be of interest. In addition, here is this great resource for blogging conferences, The National Diversity Council has this helpful calendar and there is this resource for Women in Technology conferences. These resources do not include industry specific events but if you need help in identifying events and conferences that will help you achieve your goals, send an email to monica@talkingdiversity.blog.

Forbes released its “first-ever list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity.” It partnered with Statista in looking at 250 U.S. employers across all industries.  Here is the list and more on the methodology.

Talking about firsts, Uber announced it has hired its first chief diversity officer. Bo Young Lee is joining from Marsh & McLennan. Recently Bernard Coleman III from Uber published this article on D&I with the focus on inclusion. More and more I see “inclusion” as one of the key themes of 2018.

Here is this story from The New York Times titled, “After #OscarsSoWhite, Hispanics Seek Their Hollywood Moment” focused on the lack of Hispanic representation in the entertainment industry.  

Also on the entertainment front, in advance of the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy received accolades for diversity with acknowledgment that there is work to be done, just look at this study.  And then the show took place. Of course there was the issue of women representation. The Academy’s response? “Women need to step up.” This of course caused an uproar. Then Despacito was snubbed. Yes the #1 song of 2017. This article puts it into perspective. There is also this one. I think we all agree, and not to repeat myself, but there is so much work to be done. Update: Here are two more recommended reads, this from Leila Cobo at Billboard and this one from Marisa Arbona-Ruiz at NPR’s Alt.Latino.

Keeping with the music theme, here is this week’s ICYMI, last year Latino artists dominated ”YouTube’s top 10 music videos.” 

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Two new diversity reports, Women’s March, CEO Action, Apple partners with Malala Fund, Oscars, RENEWPR & more

This week let’s start with two reports that prove (again) that if you want a more innovative and stronger performing company you need diversity.

Here is this report from McKinsey, which expands on the one released in 2015 and which says that, “The business case for diversity continues to be compelling and to have global relevance.”  

FastCompany wrote about this second report titled “Do Pro-Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation?”. The big takeaway is that: “Companies that fulfill all nine positive diversity requirements announce an average of two extra products in any given year, which about doubles the average for a major company (those that tick fewer boxes are less innovative proportionally). Moreover, the researchers find that companies with pro-diversity policies were also more resilient in terms of innovation during the 2008 financial crisis.”

The Sunday shows did not focus much of their time on the Women’s March this year…let’s keep that in mind as you read this headline, How the Women’s March Is Turning Protesters Into Politicians.” 

As you may recall, last year the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion (CEO Action) was announced. Today it has more than 350 member companies representing 85 different industries. The group recently convened C-level executives to discuss their efforts, more information here

On the education front, Apple announced yesterday that it is partnering with the Malala Fund to support education for girls. According to the announcement, the partnership is “designed to enable the nonprofit to double the number of grants it offers and extend its funding programs to India and Latin America.”

Another story that got my attention is this one from the Washington Post titled “These kids started a book club for minority boys. It’s the most popular club in school.”  Finding and having the students’ read books that represent them is driving engagement. This is a great model and hope other schools, libraries and educational institutions take notice.

Congratulations to Ben Finzel and our friends at RENEWPR on their third year anniversary – read more here on how the team is celebrating this milestone.

Let’s close with two of my favorite recent videos:

  • This one in which Ava DuVernay used her speech at the Image Awards to celebrate others, bravo!
  • Then there’s this one, listen to this part and see Ricky Martin’s reaction:  “I seriously went very berserk on Dean Richards because you have to understand, when you’re part of a minority, and you don’t have a lot of role models in media, and you have a Ricky Martin that wherever you go in the world, it’s a good name to mention as a Puerto Rican, oh my goodness you feel related to him.”

Here’s hoping to see much more representation in media and that Ana Belava meets Ricky soon!

Photo by Mohamed Lammah on Unsplash