Diversity and Multicultural Marketing: Six Keys For Success


Diversity and Multicultural Marketing: Six Keys For Success

July 20, 2021

Marissa Price — SVP, Client Services, Sightly
Edwina Morales — VP, Multicultural Business Solutions, Horizon Media

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.

woman reacting to news on phone

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.

young man in park with tablet device

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.

The Boyd Initiative Grads

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.

Horizon Media Project Embrace logo

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:

  1. Dedicate a business function or passionate group of employees.
  2. Determine the resources you can commit—financial, time, job experience, etc..
  3. Partner with groups that already have a network where your company can make an impact.
  4. 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:

  1. Be authentic to your brand’s/company’s mentality; authentic in your multicultural approach and messaging.
  2. 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.

Download the Six Keys One-Sheet to Share With Your Team

all hands in for diversity

One Year Of United Outcomes: What Sightly’s Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Program Has Accomplished So Far


One Year Of United Outcomes: What Sightly’s Diversity, Equality, Inclusion Program Has Accomplished So Far

June 30, 2021

Belonging matters. It’s a term that took on new life in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in May, 2020. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement that followed, Sightly employees and management felt a responsibility to not only support BLM but to take a stand with any group that is attacked because of its color, culture, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc.

We determined there were two areas where we could begin to make an impact: 

  • Emphasizing diversity in hiring and employee development practices and 
  • Developing relationships with programs/organizations that offer mentorship and internship opportunities for under-represented groups through youth education and engagement.
group of diverse inclusive employees

We felt this work was anti-racist and pro-inclusion, and it allowed for all members of our team to participate and share in the outcomes. This is how the Sightly United Outcomes (UO) program came to be—an organic program that arose in response to the BLM movement, with the encouragement of management.

Sightly is an outcome-obsessed company, and our focus on outcomes is central to our approach to diversity, equality, inclusion and positive change. We actively seek to uplift our community by creating opportunities for college students from under-represented groups in our industry through mentoring, internships, and sharing our experiences in speaking engagements and workshops. We look for ways to make an impact in the communities where we work—New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.

This month, we celebrated our first  year of the United Outcomes program. Here are some highlights from the past 365 days.

Summer Bridge with United Activities

Summer Bridge is an internship program that provides low-income NYC students with experience in the tech industry. Student interns participate in workplace challenge projects over the course of three weeks, culminating in a virtual final workplace presentation to a panel of Sightly clients and Sightly Leaders.

“The Summer Bridge internship program was an incredible opportunity to teach young students about the many career paths within the tech industry,” said Kristlyn Lyons, Sightly’s VP of Business Development & Partnerships. “I really enjoyed seeing the students’ interests and passions shine through their work. There was an abundance of creativity, strategic thinking and teamwork that manifested during our time together.”

United Activities Unlimited

This program is meant to insure, transform, and empower individuals of all ages. United Activities provides comprehensive social services, educational supports, enrichment activities, prevention services counseling and workforce development training to an underserved community.

Work, Learn and Grow Program

Over the past year Sightly has worked with Work, Learn, and Grow, a New York City Council-funded initiative designed to build off of the experiences gained in the Summer Youth Employment Program. Work, Learn, and Grow provides participants of the 2020 Summer Bridge Program with career

NYC Dept of Youth & Community Development

readiness training and paid employment opportunities. Students, who must be between the ages of 16-19, go through real interview processes to find the right program.

Alena Pilichowski, Co-Chair of United Outcomes, hired a technology/data science intern through this program and oversaw his day-to-day progress. Of the experience, Alena affirms, “Participating in the Work, Learn, and Grow program was an amazing experience that mutually benefited our student participant, Kenny, as well as Sightly as a whole.

Through the program, Kenny gained invaluable career experience inclusive of a real interview process, onboarding, projects, and weekly check-ins, while Sightly had the privilege of having an incredibly bright young employee providing meaningful work on behalf of the company.”

The Boyd Initiative

The Boyd Initiative is designed to help young Black professionals discover careers in advertising and media. It teaches the fundamentals of media and advertising to participants and connects them with key personnel at some of the most influential companies in the world.

Through Sightly’s UO Program, we partnered with The Boyd Initiative to sponsor a teaching session at which several of our employees spoke about our roles and responsibilities and the career paths we’ve taken. 

From that experience, we hired an intern through the organization and provided practical experience in the industry. Our intern summed up her experience saying, “I wanted to work for a company that listens to the brand’s needs and goals and helps them grow with that intention in mind. I wanted to be impactful in a company, and I knew that my internship role would be important and valued.”

The Boyd Initiative

It’s through partnerships like the one with The Boyd Initiative that we hope to form meaningful connections that will lead to internship and full-time hire opportunities.

Project Morry

Project Morry empowers young people from under-resourced communities to envision and establish a positive future. Young people are given the tools to reach their full potential by access to improved opportunities and learning experiences through programs, such as the upcoming Career Day.

Project Morry

During the 90-minute Career Day session, Sightly members will discuss their backgrounds, roles, career journeys and any additional insights. It is meant to be entertaining for the students, while helping them to learn what part of the industry they might be the most interested in. 

Morry’s Camp was designed as a branch to the entire Project Morry. It was born out of Morry’s dream that all children should experience the gift of camp.

The program works with students through their entire high school career, then helping them apply to college and internships.

VAB IMPACT Diversity Leadership Summit

The VAB (Video Advertising Bureau) is an insights-driven research company dedicated to helping marketers make fully informed media decisions that solve business challenges and drive overall growth. It also provides a stage for new voices, diversity of thought and fresh perspectives with the ultimate goal of driving lasting change and inclusivity within our industry.

At the VAB’s recent IMPACT Diversity Leadership Summit, Marissa Price, Sightly’s SVP of Client Services and colleague Edwina Morales, Horizon Media’s Director of Multicultural Business Solutions joined together to discuss how our organizations approach diversity, inclusion, equality and belonging for employees—and for customers, through multicultural marketing.

VAB IMPACT Diversity Leadership Summit

“We love working with partners, such as Sightly, who drive towards solving diversity and inclusion industry needs across the media landscape,” said Morales. “And most recently and proudly to say, we worked with Sightly on a successful QSR partnership in reaching the Hispanic community. And it was really through the successful partnership that we understood the importance of brand mentality, as we looked to give our brands more control without having to make sweeping adjustments in the marketplace.”

Kamehameha Schools Virtual Student Internships

This summer, Sightly is partnering with Hawaii’s Kamehameha Schools’ Career Pathway Unit Work-Based Learning program to provide virtual summer internships for 

Kamehameha Schools

three college students interested in media/advertising industry careers through its Kāpili ‘Oihana Internship Program (KOIP).

Michele Ching, Sightly’s VP of West Coast Sales, is spearheading the project. Here’s how she describes our objectives: “Our greatest hope is that this internship experience gives Native Hawaiian students hands-on working experience that they can teach others—and grow to take a leadership role in sharing this with the rest of the industry in Hawaii.”

Upcoming Programs

Keep an eye on the In the News section of our website for announcements and updates about our United Outcomes initiatives, like this recent one about the internship program through The Boyd Initiative.