On November 10th the Financial Communication Society hosted a webinar called “Improving Diversity in the Workplace and in Marketing” as part of its FCS Young Members Circle (YMC) 3-part series: “Your Future At Work.”
“Improving Diversity in the Workplace and in Marketing” was the first event in this series and it explored how financial brands are finding meaningful ways to create environments of inclusion both internally and externally, addressing the increasing importance of building a diversity-forward brand and the essential role of marketing in advancing the conversation.
With opening remarks by Jessica Sibley, CRO, Forbes, the event was moderated by Chardia Christophe – Garcia, Executive Director, Audience and Community Marketing, Forbes. The panel included industry executives Nikki Darden, Head of Global Marketing Integration, Citi; Justin Grant, VP, Corporate Communications, JPMorgan Chase; and James White, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Lord Abbett.
Since diversity is one of Gate 39 Media’s core values, I would like to share some of the key takeaways from this session:
Diversity in the Workplace
Driving Intentional Change at the Personal, Interpersonal, and Structural Levels
With a country struggling with racial injustice, companies need to face this issue head-on and ask “how this moment of pause has advanced corporate conversations around diversity, inclusion, and equity?”
Justin Grant, VP, Corporate Communications at JPMorgan Chase, cited several large actionable investments and programs that JPMorgan Chase has structured to support diversity, including Advancing Black Pathways, which focuses on education, careers, and long-term wealth creation.
Additionally, JPMorgan Chase has established a talent pipeline to facilitate career growth for people of color and has committed $30 billion dollars to advance racial equity, helping black and Latinx communities across every business line; including home lending, to help close the homeownership gaps and help underserved communities take advantage of refinancing.
Nikki Darden, Head of Global Marketing Integration at Citi, also noted that, following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Citi expanded conversations into all levels of the organization in a more structured way, including holding town halls, to tackle topics ranging from everyday microaggressions to police brutality and providing an outlet for team members to express themselves in authentic and transparent ways.
And the authenticity factor applies to self as well.
Your Differences are Your Superpowers
Ms. Darden also cited that Citi has strengthened its focus on global diversity and inclusion, including changing where they hire and how they recruit, thinking and evaluating candidates differently – including diversifying internal interviewers. More and more, businesses are seeing how important it is to be intentional about hiring people “who are different from you”.
Baked-In Cultural Change Management
James White, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Lord Abbett, noted that every company is really in its own unique place in the journey and that companies (like Lord Abbett) should be bold in their message of inclusion. To ensure cultural change happens, he noted that it needs to be a part of the company plan.
Companies who value diversity and inclusion cannot evolve unless actual diversity and inclusion initiatives are a documented part of a firm’s business strategy. From top down, having performance objectives forces leaders to determine how diversity goals fit into the business strategy, which is key.
In short, a company that touts cultural values must “put its money where its mouth is”.
Diversity in Marketing
Cross-Cultural Marketing? Multicultural Marketing? Diversity Marketing? Are they all the Same?
Nikki Darden pointed out that, while nuanced, these concepts are essentially the same.
As marketers we need to think about how to change communications to connect with multicultural segments outside the “general market” (white, straight, cisgender men).
In many industries growth is being fueled by multicultural audiences; Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities are the fastest-growing communities in terms of spend and buying power, so we need to take multiculturalism seriously, connecting with those audiences in an authentic and empathetic way.
For example, Citi has launched its “True Name” initiative that allows trans and non-binary people to use their chosen names on their credit cards, a meaningful step on the path to ensuring inclusion as well as to help potentially reduce discrimination faced by this community when making card purchases.
Additionally, Citi addresses issues on authenticity within media marketing as well. For example, authentic casting and genuine scripting for its TV commercials intended to reach a black audience. The characters and scripted language must reflect the community in an authentic way.
Closing the Trust Gap within Communities of Color
Justin Grant of JPMorgan Chase discussed that one of the company’s top objectives is to address the massive trust gap with the black community, launching initiatives such as Currency Conversations (launched with Essence in 2019) – research-driven discussions on the racial wealth gap that engaged black men and women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as senior citizens.
Initiatives like this are key in meeting people where they are in an authentic way.
Does multicultural marketing apply to B2B marketing?
When you’re talking about B2B, you’re still talking about people. So, if a message doesn’t acknowledge someone and their existence, at end of day, that B2B marketing message has failed. Companies don’t view messages, individuals do, so it is important to ensure an inclusive lens is in place over messages. Multicultural marketing absolutely applies to the B2B space.
I thoroughly enjoyed this FCS session and I personally look forward to furthering conversations around initiatives in elevating diversity and inclusion within our organization and within marketing initiatives – both for ourselves and for our clients.
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