Diversity and Multicultural Marketing: Six Keys For Success
Horizon Media (HMI) and Sightly have been partners for more than five years to drive outcomes for our brand clients. Recently, we met to share insights about our diversity and multicultural marketing best practices.
Sightly: Brand Mentality™ and United Outcomes Power Multicultural and Diversity
Like a lot of companies, last year was a turning point for us. First, we debuted our new Brand Mentality™ platform, which allows brands to move at the speed that’s really required today for marketing and media.
The news cycle is faster than ever, amplified by omnipresent social and viral media. And the only way to be able to keep up is to establish who your brand is and then use machine learning and automation to move quickly and adapt your media approach in response to events as they unfold.
Here are a couple scenarios that we’ve seen…
- A competitor does something newsworthy or controversial. Do you perceive it as a risk and avoid it? Or is there an opportunity there for you?
- There are calls for brand boycotts, or other social issues are heating up the news. How do you respond?
Consumers expect brands to be part of these cultural conversations now. We’re seeing brand loyalty change in an instant based on how brands choose to participate or sit on the sidelines during these big moments.
Brand Mentality helps marketers control when and how they’re taking part in these cultural narratives.
Second, against this backdrop of developing and launching Brand Mentality, we were also acutely aware of the racial injustices and other difficulties faced by underrepresented groups.
We realized that if we’re going to challenge marketers to be more accountable for their brands, then we really have to do the same thing.
That’s what led to the formation of United Outcomes.
We’ve always said we’re outcome obsessed. Now we’re applying that same approach and mentality to three main focuses: mentorship, internship, and diversity in hiring.
Getting high school and college students from underrepresented groups involved early in marketing and media helps them discover which parts of the industry they might be most passionate about. And then we can give them resume-building opportunities to fuel diversity across the whole industry.
Horizon: The Boyd Initiative, Promoting from Within & Project Embrace
Diversity, equity and inclusion is Horizon Media’s DNA. We live by this ethos every day and choose to work with clients and partners such Sightly, who are equally invested in pushing this forward.
At Horizon, we are committed to being a true organization of belonging by creating an enlightened work environment that truly reflects our diverse and unique communities. Our goal is to cultivate an environment where everyone has equitable access to learning and advancement and where our diverse community of employees really are nurtured.
We were fortunate to have a great foundation in place at Horizon to develop these programs, but for companies that need launching points for their DEI programs, a great way is to work with third party programs that already support these goals.
One such program is The Boyd Initiative, which teaches students from HBCUs the fundamentals of media and advertising, getting them out of the textbooks and connecting them with companies like ours.
Horizon is employing an intern from The Boyd Initiative this summer in its first virtual summer internship program. By working with third party organizations like this, you can quickly see how your company can walk the walk, promoting inclusion and diversity.
Equally important is cultivating a feeling of belonging once we bring someone into our organizations, fostering an environment that encourages people to be their full and authentic selves.
One way that our organizations elevate that is by promoting from within so that we’re continually investing in our people, making sure they feel valued. Belonging matters. In 2020, more than 30% of the open positions at Horizon were filled internally.
We believe belonging is not just for our employees, but also for brands and the customers they serve. Inclusive and culturally relevant marketing practices drive every conversation day in and day out. These practices are no longer optional, they are imperative.
Our commitment is that multicultural voices will continue to be heard and amplified. Horizon Media does so through Project Embrace, which is our agency-wide effort to empower our teams to think and act inclusively about the audiences we are trying to reach on behalf of our clients.
Now, more than ever, marketers need to transcend linear thinking to reach and engage multicultural audiences. We help our teams and clients apply diverse and inclusive thinking that leads to authentic and culturally rooted media strategies.
We’re proud to have most recently worked with Sightly on a successful QSR partnership in reaching the Hispanic community. It was through this partnership that we understood the importance of Brand Mentality, which gives our brands the finer controls they need to avoid threats without making wholesale changes to their marketing that often wind up blocking multicultural media.
We all know this is an important industry issue that negatively impacts the multicultural population, especially with the constant “urgency of now” that brands face. We look forward to continuing to work together with Sightly to leverage Brand Mentality, which aligns excellently with Horizon Media’s cultural first strategic approach.
In Summary: Six Keys for Building Diversity & Multicultural Marketing Programs
For building diversity, equity and inclusion programs:
- Dedicate a business function or passionate group of employees.
- Determine the resources you can commit—financial, time, job experience, etc..
- Partner with groups that already have a network where your company can make an impact.
- Look for ways to provide ongoing support to interns and mentees. Help them discover their passions, act as a reference or check back in with them.
For refining your multicultural marketing practices:
- Be authentic to your brand’s/company’s mentality; authentic in your multicultural approach and messaging.
- Remember what happens when you assume. As we engage with multicultural audiences, we can also learn from them. That feedback loop makes for more informed media in the future and better brand interactions for both marketers and consumers.