ED&I: Opportunities and possibilities for marketers

ED&I: Opportunities and possibilities for marketers

Equality Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) can seem, at first sight, to be quite an intimidating topic, especially if you are new to the topic or if your organisation is in the exploratory or early stages of its own ED&I journey.

We can easily slip into an anxious mindset – ‘what if I get it wrong?’ or ‘what if we upset this group of people?’ We can get hung up on ‘rules’ and ‘policies’, but this can blind you to the potential and possibilities of becoming more inclusive. And of helping to create and celebrate a culture where a wide range of people can all feel that they belong.

ED&I shouldn’t be viewed as a headache or problem, it gives organisations, including marketing professionals, a big opportunity, especially when you begin to understand the ‘diversity dividend’ or the ‘business benefits of belonging’. These include attributes that most companies prize highly – such as innovation, more discretionary effort, higher self-confidence and better retention. All of which can promote better performance and thus competitive advantage.

As marketing professionals we have power and influence, therefore we have a responsibility to be aware of and then challenge our own unconscious bias. And the biases of the organisations whose brands we protect and promote.

We live in a world that values convenience, ease and simplicity. That’s why we love our Apps! Normally, as a CIM presenter, I want to tell my audience that a topic is simpler than it first appears. But in my upcoming webinar, it would be irresponsible do that. Because ED&I is almost definitely more complex than you realise, more nuanced, more emotive and probably faster changing than many other topics. It goes beyond the simple question that might first cross your mind: “How do we make our website look more diverse?”

It’s important to realise, when it comes to developing an ED&I approach, that one size does NOT fit all…and that’s also why CIM cannot provide a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to this topic. The best approach will depend on many variables: your brand, your audience, your people, your culture, your organisation’s strategic direction, its definition of what success looks like etc...

But ultimately, ED&I is really all about empathy, the ability to see the world through other people’s eyes, especially the eyes of people who have experienced prejudice, discrimination or exclusion. Empathy is a quality that marketers need anyway – to see the world through the eyes of customers and other stakeholders. And by getting outside the marketing silo and seeking other people’s perspectives, we can take our curiosity and empathy – and with it our creativity – to the next level.

My upcoming webinar, ‘How marketers can help create an inclusive culture’, we will look at some of the many brands who are getting it right. Partly by realising that their campaigns will only become more inclusive if they get better at listening – to their own people, to a wider variety of partners or suppliers and of course to their customers. And remember that customers will – quite rightly- call you out if the reality doesn’t measure up to the ED&I promises on your website.

But as mentioned above, don’t let the topic scare you, there are so many positives and benefits to be gained from a deeper understanding of ED&I that it can make you a much more effective marketer, while also enriching your life and increasing your job satisfaction.

CIM members can register for my upcoming webinar to discover why awareness of ED&I opens up opportunities and possibilities for marketers, how some of the top brands are getting it right and building trust and some basic creative guidelines to make sure your ED&I comms are authentic and believable.


 Register for ‘How marketers can help create an inclusive culture’

David Hare Course director CIM
Back to all