Pushing Past Diversity in Marketing, Promoting Authentic Representation & Inclusion


Fostering a culture of inclusivity in Marketing

Pride Month has begun, and with it, an important reminder that whilst there has been so much progress, the journey towards equality for the LGBTQ+ community is far from over. Being truly authentic in having an inclusive culture means going further to understand more than you can see to live and work by treating everyone with equal respect, opportunity, and inclusion.

As mentioned in our recently published guide ‘Representation of a Nation’ – having a team that authentically represents a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and cultures is valuable to you, your brand and your bottom line. To achieve this valuable environment you need a different type of leadership. This type of leadership is not just about accommodating differences.  It’s about challenging norms.  Today’s leaders must accept their employees for who they are and challenge the barriers their employees face advocating for change when necessary.

If you want truly great marketing to reach and include a diverse consumer target, you’ll need the talent to do it. Generating diverse thinking and cultural awareness when finding the right talent will be one of your top challenges as a marketing leader today. Your company will need to find a balance with really connecting with, and marketing to, underrepresented talent and recruiting,  ensuring that they are not being hired for the purpose of ticking the box. The road to success starts with a well-defined and planned targeted marketing recruitment and candidate experience strategy for internal and external talent that is regularly being adapted to reach underrepresented groups of talent.

  1. Establishing your Employer Brand:

Q: Is your employer branding proposition appealing to a wide range of diverse candidates and top talent?

Q; Are you showcasing your teams activities and achievements? 

There is always an opportunity to review your Employer Brand Proposition through the eyes of underrepresented groups you are trying to attract, to consider if your proposition is inclusive and appealing to all audiences.

Staff retention is key, so it is important to find a right balance between aspiration and reality.  Once you have attracted your desired candidates you will want them to join your brand and stay with your company, better yet, become an advocate for your company.  Candidates will see through anything that is not reality – so do not sell them an aspirational story. They appreciate companies are not perfect, but are actively seeking to learn and make progress.  It is the company’s responsibility to present a picture that is not misleading but reflects its’ culture as accurately as possible. Candidates will often decide on a job offer based on what they learn about the job and company during the recruitment process.

  1. Marketing the right message: What are you communicating about your culture and values to attract and reach a range of diverse audiences?

Pictures are a stronger proof point than words on your career site. Candidates not only want to know what it’s like to work at your company, they also want to see who works at your company.  Try to mirror your target audiences, but do so authentically; where possible it is strongly encouraged to use the most diverse and inclusive photos you can of your employees instead of stock photography. Having a diverse team, will allow your brand thinking, personality and messaging to represent a wider range of people, from both an inside and outside perspective.

  • Targeted Audience Planning

You can improve the diversity of your talent pool through targeted audience planning, a way to group candidates and personalise communication with particular groups across their preferred channels allowing you the best opportunity to reach the most qualified candidates from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. This is just as you do in consumer marketing, but it is staggering how many marketing companies who would like a representative talent base, fail to target properly with their recruitment work. This method of recruitment marketing needs to be built around your company’s different audience types, for example our LGBTQ community.  As you develop your specific goals, you will find that targeted audience planning really helps reach, and speak to, a wide variety of candidates.

  • Getting the best out of your candidates and employees
  • Always check with the individual to understand any specific arrangements (e.g., physical access, interpreters, communication style etc.) for the interview. The gesture will show inclusion even for those who do not need them.
  • Engage in a genuine and authentic dialogue to get to know your candidate/employee and rely on a relational style to get deeper into important discussions and really get to know them and their culturally diverse background and thinking. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; it will be well received as long as it is coming from an authentic and genuine place.  Everyone prefers relational or discussion style interviews even when their dominant style is non-relational. These types of discussions allow them opportunities to get a sense of what they will experience in your company.
  • When recruiting allow candidates to discuss and/or demonstrate what they can offer your company freely and in their own style. Avoid unconsciously trying to confirm your expectations of the candidate or using techniques to require candidates to perform under pressure
  • Allow individuals time to make their point. Allow for silence. This is something that everyone can benefit from, but it is imperative in interviews with candidates from underrepresented groups. One formula is to allow at least 12 seconds to pass between an individual making a comment and you talking. This allows them time to consider adding more to what they have said and shows a genuine interest in what they have to say.

It is important for your recruiting teams to represent and reflect your brand values; your hiring manager and HR team are the best model of what typical behavior individuals can expect should they be offered and accept a position at your company. Are they representative of the candidates you seek? Your team therefore must consistently demonstrate a strong understanding, acceptance, and value of cultural differences between all employees and candidates. 

  • Leader accountability

Q; Are you accountable for a diverse representation and if so how are you measuring your HR department and leaders on their level of cultural awareness and diverse thinking during the employee/candidate lifecycle?

Q; Does your hiring and HR team truly and genuinely represent your brand?

Q; How does your recruitment department reflect your brand and values and support any candidate regardless of the representations?

Building a strong talent focused Marketing HR team who are involved in the recruitment process puts you in the best position to attract and retain high quality diverse thinking candidates, which in turns leads to better marketing.

So if you want better, more authentic & representative marketing, ensure your recruitment process reflects exactly that – share your culture, encourage all employees to find their different and share it proudly!