A growing number of organisations globally are re-engineering their entire vision towards building effective organisational frameworks centring around Diversity, Inclusion, Corporate Social Responsibility and by doing so, succeeding by leaps and bounds, both with internal(employees) and external(customers) stakeholders.
I act as a common thread between Employees and Customers. Obviously, the link is my ability to find both diverse customers and talent for my clients and in engaging myself in that activity, I help create a buzz around employer and customer branding for these cognitively diverse modalities.
Inclusivism helps in establishing trust in the brand and connect them to a diverse set of consumers who become effective advocates of brand equity. I love to tell this, to my clients, that when I speak to a candidate or a customer and tell them how committed they are to Inclusion, they instinctively feel my client has a fantastic work ethic. It incites them to know more about my clients' products and services and by default puts them right in front of highly diverse crowds. If an employee or a customer will have good experience in engaging with a brand, they are most likely to recommend it to their friends and family. We don't need statistics to validate this!
"I believe word-to-mouth publicity to be the best way in not only converting a candidate to a prospective employee but also in converting an informed person to a potential customer"
"THE POWER OF COLLECTIVE THOUGHT"
My clients are often seeking specialists who can communicate a measurable change in driving key initiatives like women in leadership and important diversity topics amongst others. They are seeking leaders who can emphasize outcomes and quantifiable results tackling collective issues like cultural overhauling, generational fitment, work-life integration, waging a war on the unconscious bias across all levels, pay gaps, etc. I say collective because the inequities get resolved by the collaboration of people engaged in a collective thought process and operating in different streams like Gender, PwD (People with Disability), LGBT and other target communities - sans grouping, monoculturalization or prioritising representation of any kind.
In their quest to seek the right leaders to drive change and create a positive impact by creating a culture of inclusivity for communities, organizations are sending a clear message to the outside world that they are committed to the greater good through their equality and diversity policies thereby gaining considerable competitive advantages in new markets and new customer segments as consumers respond more positively to organizations for their services, and brands for their products - that are more people-driven, diverse in thought and practice, more accepting, empathetic and friendly towards the underrepresented sections.
I was recently asked to give inputs and comment on some data by Oxford Strategic Consulting that highlights the trends towards productivity during the fasting period of Ramadan – citing a report, where during a miners’ strike in the 1970s, production fell by just 6% despite working three-day weeks. Studies have suggested that employees spending more time with families during this period can actually make them happier at work, as well as instil a stronger focus on the effectiveness of work rather than the number of hours worked, thus helping company culture.
I was asked to enlist my diversity & inclusion policies and how I would support employees who are fasting, without letting this impact productivity.
On researching this subject, I was drawn to the new Coca-Cola commercial. Watch it here. Although, what was asked and what made me write this article is a separate discussion altogether:
"THE POWER OF ROLE MODELS"
When breaking into newer market and customer segments, brands often consult with experts on strategy, conceptualization, research to have a deeper understanding of the viability and ROI of that endeavour.
This Concept to Consumer strategy leads me to decipher the Diversity DNA of other global brands, especially brands like Adidas.
How do brands like Adidas expand into new markets, and diverse consumer?
By creating role models, amplifying collaborations and launching a product line specifically created for that demographic.
Adidas has perfected this art. By collaboration and broadcasting their inclusive mindset, they have successfully tapped into a consumer segment that is diverse. Consider this example below and you would understand the concept better: Ruqsana is a champion kickboxer who created a way for Muslim women, to access sport. She designed a line of sports hijabs to make it easier to be active, and show the world all that they can do.
In my next article, I will also talk about the fallout of this strategy as often the brands stick to an idea but go wrong in the messaging often hurting the sensibilities or religious sentiments, often stereotyping and often, in addition, leading the competition to create a far better branding and diverse customer reach out :
Adidas' competitor led a similar campaign - Nike Pro Hijab
Image credit: Nike.com
In addition to amplifying inclusion and creating positive social impact through the CSR efforts, many brands believe and rightly so, that upping their diversity quotient has long-term benefits as they are able to engage at a more granular level with a very value-driven mindset of both, diverse talent and customers today.
Deep diving into the diversity DNA, I also came across CSR efforts of brands and how they connect a chord with customers to drive business opportunities, become profitable and grow their revenues and expand into new territories and yet be centred around spreading awareness about the most serious issues plaguing our world today.
This is the surest way how a brand can reach out to consumers on a basis of trust. This is a form of emotional branding and a tenet of most inclusion-driven brands that want to offer value in real-time:
Louis Vuitton launched a campaign called “#MAKEAPROMISE for South Africa” to raise funds for UNICEF.
Throughout the year, for each sale of the SilverLockit (bracelet or necklace) in Louis Vuitton stores or on louisvuitton.com, Louis Vuitton donates $200 to UNICEF to help children in emergencies and in vulnerable situations around the world.
During this campaign “#MAKEAPROMISE for South Africa”, $100 will be directly donated to UNICEF to support programmes in South Africa, while the other $100 will be donated to children in need everywhere in the world.
Information from: www.louisvuitton.com/lvforunicef
Incidentally, Louis Vuitton is also one of the few luxury brands to have a presence in this largely untapped market citing partnership and investment as the key drivers to establish a new consumer base. Louis Vuitton is also the top-rated clothing & accessory brand in Africa as per the survey conducted by New World Wealth.
Getting into the nitty-gritty of numbers and statistics is useless at this juncture as the global impact of Diversity is omnipresent....in a good way, of course. Organisations are not only creating a conducive environment for employees, increasing productivity by maximising their contribution but also establishing a foothold in the existing markets and creating new markets and segments for their products and services with a highly engaged consumer who often oscillates between two broad spectrums -
The least diverse organisations have customers that are brand oblivious Vs. the most diverse organisations that have customers who become brand connoisseurs - An approach that walks the talk.