Profiles in Diversity Journal 25th Anniversary
Your organization is doing important work when it comes to managing diversity programs and community initiatives. But if you aren’t getting the word out...

Your organization is doing important work when it comes to managing diversity programs and community initiatives. But if you aren’t getting the word out about your accomplishments, what good are they doing? In a recent study of senior marketing leaders at Fortune 100 and Forbes Top 200 corporations, only 11 percent of executives consider their organizations “very effective” when it comes to marketing, including integrating new tools like social media into existing strategies.

Just as a company often needs to go through a transformation to embrace diversity in the workplace, the same can be true for creating an effective marketing campaign. Here are five tips to help you navigate the changes needed to be more successful in promoting your diversity programs and services.

1. Start with your strategy. Are you trying to create a more diverse workplace or position your organization as an industry leader in diversity practices? If you start by clarifying your long-term vision, you can use it to guide your marketing initiatives. This ensures your campaigns are effective and move your organization in the right direction to reach your goals.

2. Build a better brand story. Creating a memorable brand starts by discovering your unique diversity story. Next, you integrate your marketing communication tools and activities to share those messages and create a consistent experience for all of your stakeholders. Diversity and inclusion have always been a part of the core values and culture for Ogilvy, one of the world’s top advertising, marketing, and public relations agencies. These characteristics of the company’s brand are infused into everything it does, from hiring employees to producing campaigns for clients.

3. Strengthen your marketing reach. Don’t think you have to do all of the work when it comes to your marketing. From teaming up with employees to creating collaborative partnerships, there are ways you can maximize resources right at your fingertips. Even the media can help toot your horn and extend your marketing reach. Starbucks has a great track record when it comes to diversity initiatives and often relies on the media to help promote this good work. For example, Black Enterprise has ranked it as one of the “15 Best Companies in Senior Management Diversity” and “15 Best in Corporate Board Diversity” in the country.

4. Simplify the plan and process. One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is creating marketing campaigns that are too complex. Keep things straightforward by picking one thing and doing it well for a month, a quarter, a year, or whatever time you need to get the right results. Use a streamlined approach to track just the basics: what needs to get done, who is doing it, where it needs to happen, by when, how much will it cost, and how will it be evaluated.

5. Speed toward the right results. Once your marketing plan is in hand, its time to turn your ideas into action. One of the best ways to do this is through a test pilot where a marketing campaign is conducted for a set period of time during which progress is evaluated and the approach is adjusted accordingly. For example, if a university is trying to find solutions to raise numbers of Hispanic student applicants, it could try a social media campaign on Facebook for one academic year and measure its return on investment and impact on results within that specific community.

Whitney Keyes is a professor of global reputation management and marketing and serves as a fellow for the Center for Strategic Communications at Seattle University. She is the author of Propel: Five Ways to Amp Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business. For over twenty years, she has worked as a senior Microsoft manager, a strategic adviser for American Express, and consulted to thousands of businesses around the world through her work for the U.S. Department of State to empower women leaders and entrepreneurs in Malaysia, Kenya, and Namibia.

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