It’s 2019. More consumers expect companies to take a stand in social issues. A first step is to think about which people are seen in your communication – and how they are portrayed. The question is more important than you think. If you can see it, you can be it!
Spoon’s editor Malin Sund offers 9 concrete tips on how to communicate with greater diversity:
1. Count heads
Don’t underestimate the value of keeping track of which people you choose to present. Create KPIs and measure your progress! Who is visible? And who isn’t?
Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels, Well’s Fargo Learning Sign Language and Tylenol’s #HowWeFamily are a few examples of communication that celebrate diversity in various ways.
2. Prepare a plan! And stick to it…
Find editorial themes that help you fulfil your strategy. You may wish to create your own lists, prizes and events. They boost familiarity with your organisation and build trust as well as generate credibility.
3. Dare to fight
Dare to care! There are all kinds of wishes and opinions in your organisation. Don’t simply choose the safe option; rather, let people who own the issues internally take precedence over those with a higher position or rank.
The people you choose to showcase say a lot about you as a company! It really does matter which people you choose to have visible.
4. Find the new experts
Identify your internal experts. Don’t be afraid to showcase them – they constitute an invaluable resource. In addition, dare to choose atypical people who may not be so used to communicating; help them with this part.
External experts: go past the first page when doing Google research. Participate in new arenas and in new contexts. Don’t back down – the example/story/person is out there.
5. Keep an eye out for smart people, proactively!
Which external experts would you want to be associated with – and perhaps work with? Imitate? Invite in for an inspirational talk? Include in panel debates? Employ? Keep an eye on the news feed and social media, look around at lectures, and so on.
Continuously seek out people to connect with. That way you can act quickly when an opening appears for you to work together or have the best possible experts at your event. That’s how new ideas are born – which will make your company shine.
6. Plant a seed early
Invite people in and work actively with them to raise your profile among other/new groups.
Let employees be mentors. Accept study visits. Get involved in various initiatives, for instance My Dream Now, Mentor Sverige, Yrkesdörren, and United Invitations. In addition, offer your contact details, i.e. make things easier for young people seeking summer jobs.
7. Watch out for pitfalls!
Think about how you highlight people. How do you portray them: in which contexts and on which grounds? How do they look in the pictures? Check out the Gender Photography Guide for a few useful guidelines.
8. Create new networks
Don’t underestimate the importance of being present in new contexts, taking time to attend different events, or visiting interesting parties/schools/hubs. Simply being on site – and being seen there – makes you more credible.
You can pick up on new needs and thoughts at the same time as underpinning the image of your company among new groups.
9. More than just male vs. female.
Remember that diversity also has to do with young/old, born in Sweden/born abroad, urban/rural, head office/local branch and so on.
Who is visible in your communication is more important than you think. It’s not just an invention to be politically correct. It’s about contributing to a society where everyone is accepted and everyone gets to be seen. A society where difference is good.
It doesn’t have to be that hard, either. Get going and start counting. Who is visible? And: do you need more perspectives than those you already have at the office/company? It’s time to start collaborating with new networks and find new experts. Dare to do things in new ways. Above all: start discussing who is seen and who is not in your communication.