How to Strengthen Diversity and Inclusion Values during a Pandemic

Photo Courtesy of Blended Collective

Our society has been calling for a shift in the way business is done and consumers are reached, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. The buying power of minority populations has dramatically increased over the past few years approximately by 2.3 million annually. However, a lack of knowledge, of multiculturalism and diversity and inclusion values, has often led to indifference, ignorance or prejudice. The absence of diverse voices at the table has resulted in missed opportunities when it comes to profitable growth and inclusion. Here’s why it’s more essential than ever to maintain or build on your diversity and inclusion organizational efforts – and how to do that without spending MORE.

Emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion

In reassessing your company core values, remember that they define your company and shape your culture – and exist beyond your website or office wall. Your core values are now put to the test; they will either hold true to what you’ve been promoting all along, or will need to evolve in a completely different direction as dictated by a crisis. When businesses choose to push diversity and inclusion efforts aside during a time of budget cuts, it demonstrates not understanding the value of such efforts that result in long-term financial outcomes. This can include talent recruitment and retention; innovation; and profit increases, to name a few.

Long after the coronavirus pandemic ends, consumers will associate the values of diversity and inclusion your brand demonstrated both internally and externally. Holding diversity and inclusion values will exist in consumers remembering the positive or poor role your brand played. How do you want to be remembered? Showing that you continue to care during a time of need can put you ahead of the game by making you an easy purchase option for a customer the next time around. By keeping your diversity and inclusion efforts in place, it truly proves your authentic intention of holding those values in the first place. After all, how much does your business really embrace diversity and inclusion if it becomes the first to be subjected to a budget cut?

Enhance deeper partnerships with brands, organizations and influencers

If you have already established your diversity, equity and inclusion pillars, the next step is to identify how to bring these values to life through your campaigns and marketing efforts. With many events and happenings moving to the virtual space, think about how you can evolve your existing efforts to avoid reinventing the wheel (this can also save you from having to make budget cuts). If you’re already offering events, a creative idea can include hosting multicultural chats or live talks by focusing on different cultural groups on platforms they are most active on as it relates to your brand while you cross-promote. With this, you can engage relevant influencers or influential brands who reflect or represent key ethnic segments: African American, Latinx and Asian groups. The purpose of doing this is to create a space where multicultural groups can share their experiences and realities.

When companies have an in-depth understanding of their customers – their behaviors, values, lifestyles, and motivations – they are positioned to create meaningful marketing content that reflects that your brand listens and responds to their needs. It says, “This product/service is for you, too.” Companies who have demonstrated inclusive efforts will ultimately find themselves at a competitive advantage, forming stronger bonds that translate into brand loyalty and sales.

We, at Blended Collective, see an even brighter future for multicultural marketing specialists than before Covid-19, which continues to reshape our nation with the multicultural reality we are experiencing. Looking forward, the most successful companies will redefine their purpose-based brands with strong diversity and inclusion pillars; identify and capitalize on new value propositions; and adapt their multicultural strategies accordingly. Prioritizing ethnic audiences alongside diversity and inclusion values is not just an option anymore; it is essential to long-term success.

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Connecting with Your Customers during COVID-19

Photo Courtesy of Blended Collective

As COVID-19 pushes customer-centric businesses and organizations to change how they do business, marketers are being pushed to create content that is empathetic, responsive and forward-thinking. While many are overwhelmed with finding the best ways to respond to this crisis, questions arise like – do you continue marketing as is? How do you connect with your customers while continuing to run your business? At Blended Collective, we have identified ways to effectively navigate through all of these questions.

Be empathetic and relevant 

As the coronavirus crisis forces a new normal on businesses and customers day by day, the pressure of saying and doing the right things at the right time has become a quick reality. Living in a society where overcommunication is the norm, businesses are trying their best to adapt by acknowledging the issue at hand, ensuring that they are working safely and remotely, and rescheduling their planned engagements digitally when possible. But is this enough?

As a reminder, several 2020 marketing strategies and toolkits that were introduced earlier this year, indicate that customers expect a business to be more socially responsible by acknowledging the current issue and acting on it. When doing so as a business, you don’t have to sacrifice your entire business and marketing plans. Instead, you can spend time listening to customers and better understand how the current situation is affecting them and their families. In what ways does their situation continue to evolve daily and how can your business help? Based on how you want to be remembered during this crisis, your marketing and communication should reflect this instead of ignoring the challenges your customers may be facing. Actions should go beyond sending empathetic emails by adapting more tangible solutions, also to keep your business moving forward. BE there and DO the right things, so your customers can HAVE what they actually need.

Focus on Serving to Increase Your Brand Loyalty

Companies like LVMH have transitioned their manufacturing operations from producing perfumes to producing germ-killing alcohol due to the shortage of such products in the current market. The Maine-based company Origin USA, an athletic wear manufacturer, has now moved their production to creating masks for the public because of the fact that the world is at a shortage due to the rise in demand from COVID-19.

Similarly, food delivery services like Uber Eats have waived delivery fees for local restaurants during the coronavirus outbreak in an effort to support small and local businesses. Other examples of how to approach price during this time are gyms and fitness clubs who have taken the route of freezing membership payments and instead, are offering free workout classes with trainers via online and social media platforms daily such as Instagram and Facebook. On their websites, they are also offering free fitness and eating guides to accommodate the new work-from-home and/or stay-at-home schedules for many.

Connecting with Your Customers during COVID-19. These are great examples of finding innovative ways to increase the value of your offering, which, in turn, will increase the value of your brand. In addition to showing a strong sense of corporate social responsibility, it displays a sense of humanity. All in all, this is a time that customers will look back on and remember your brand actions during a challenging time, which allows you to build and grow relationships that gain respect in the eye of your customers. Businesses should understand how to move along by providing real-time, innovative and tangible solutions, yet also continuing with business, resulting in impactful changes for all stakeholders.

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