Diversity and social justice have become increasingly important in recent years and, many would agree, it’s about time too. As a business owner, you have to be aware of societal trends and changes, and seek to reflect these in the way that you approach your business. A business that is viewed to be out of sync with the happenings in society is a business that is, ultimately, likely to be doomed to failure.
With that in mind, it’s worth focusing on how your business needs to embrace diversity and social justice at all levels. However, many businesses strive for this and then find themselves struggling, potentially even damaging their reputation in the effort to try and improve it. If you want to avoid these mistakes, then keep these essential points in mind…
Don’t just talk the talk
Numerous businesses have used diversity and social justice in their advertising, but have then been criticised for failing to walk the walk in their business practices. Fashion businesses are particularly liable to this faux pas; they claim messages of “body positivity” as part of an advertising campaign, then continue to use worryingly thin mannequins in their display windows. A true commitment to diversity in this scenario would see the introduction of plus size mannequins and larger ranges of clothing, and it’s this kind of genuine commitment to diversity that you have to embrace also. Words are meaningless; actions matter.
There’s nothing more cringe-worthy than a company outright claiming to be big believers in diversity. The way that society is trending is that a commitment to diversity is not something you have to announce, it’s just something that businesses should have. As a result, if your business suddenly starts announcing “we love diversity here!”, then it’s akin to advertising “the people who work at this office breathe oxygen!”— so don’t do it. Live your commitment to diversity and honour it in your advertising and hiring practices, but don’t be tempted to announce that you’re doing so to the world at large.
Don’t use diversity or social justice issues as an advertising hook
It’s sad, but true; many businesses use diversity as a marketing term, a way of selling products. Take, for example, the furore over Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi advert. It was blatantly clear to all that issues of social justice and diversity were being co-opted just to advertise products, and the reaction was intense, and justifiably so. Pepsi took social justice concerns and tried to make money from them— a move you have to be sure not to replicate.
With an eye on the above five areas, you can be sure that your business’ commitment to diversity will be well-managed, authentic, and productive. As a result, your business can enjoy the rewards of this diversity in and of itself, as well as your enhanced reputation in the eyes of your customers.