When you want to increase your market base or fan base, a good option may be to reach out to or connect with a group that is less represented in your market. This can be a rewarding enterprise, but it can also be a difficult one. While diversity is a hot topic today, courting diversity can blow up in your face if you mishandle the message.
Some brands have tried to send a “we’re pro diversity” message without really thinking much beyond a surface concept of “diversity.” One of the most infamous in recent memory is Pepsi, which tried to portray Kendall Jenner as a model of diversity in an ad campaign that hit all the wrong notes and turned out to be a major embarrassment to Pepsi. To avoid that happening to you, consider these metrics for creating a winning pro-diversity PR message.
Authenticity – Instead of creating a veneer of diversity that everyone can see right through, look for ways in which your company is authentically diverse. Start from the inside, with your team. Look for diversity of thought, as well as diversity of culture. Find a way to shape this so that the message is coming from a place of real, authentic diversity developed out of your brand’s strengths.
Reflect Their Voice – Your brand, for whatever reason, may simply lack diversity of culture or perspective. But that doesn’t mean celebrating diversity is off limits. Look to your market, both current and prospective. What are they saying, thinking, feeling, or wanting? How can you connect with those perspectives and desires in an authentic way that shows respect for their ideas? Answering this question will help your brand leaders become better listeners and promote a better understanding of your prospective market.
Find Your Story – Diversity, at its core, is anchored in story. How well does your brand’s story resonate with your prospective audience? If it doesn’t, can you tweak your story to communicate in a language they understand with an emphasis on issues and perspectives that matter most to them?
Make Connections – When reaching out to a new market or when trying to appeal to a more diverse audience, it’s always best when someone else is reaching back. In many cases, this begins by determining which media channels or other opinion makers your target market values. Who are they listening to and why? When you think of these media channels and influencers more as partners than as means to your ends, you will forge a deeper, more authentic connection that will more easily complement the connection that channel already has with your prospective audience.
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