This isn’t going to be a how-to guide on diversity efforts. It’s more of a reflection on what you can do as a business (or a person).
On the two panels I participated in at Re:co, I tried to emphasize recognizing your own power and your business’ power. Harnessing that power and making it work for good is likely a better approach to drastically changing up your business.
Let me explain. You’re in charge of marketing and content for your company. You hire models or put together ads. If you want to be more cognizant of diversity, your first step would be taking a look at the models you hire. You don’t need to be a top-level executive to make this change.
All of this is not to say that you should insert a black person into your next ad. Instead, take a look at where you can make a change. If your three cafe employees are all white men, it doesn’t make sense to have a racially diverse barista photo set. In fact, this misrepresentation would certainly backfire. Also, if that is the case for your cafe, you have a hiring issue.
Race is also not the only diversity indicator. And adding a single person for their color is certainly the wrong approach, too. Reflect on this.
Voice & Personality
Another change to look at is your company’s voice and personality. Have you ever taken a look at your company’s fan demographic and wondered why it’s skewed heavily in one area? Your company’s lexicon is another way your brand is presented online. If the words are heavy in pop culture references and memes, I hope the majority of your target audience is younger.
If the company’s voice sounds like a surfer bro, but your customer base is not, then you have a disconnect. Maybe it’s time for a brand voice audit.
Who and what you cultivate in your community is an extension of your brand. This can be both online and in-person.
If you’re a cafe and able to host events, give space to local groups. If you want to diversify the types of groups you’re seeing, extend the invitation instead of waiting to be asked. Maybe it’s just not clear for people on your website or social media that you welcome new groups.
For donations and other charitable giving, find a few social causes and cultivate that community. Perhaps you’re passionate about the US refugee program. Search your local network for organizations that work with refugees. Do what’s in your power. That can include offering some job skills training, space for practicing interviews, or hosting a job fair.
Your contribution to change relies solely on you. You don’t have to start a mentoring program to contribute to the change. Do what you can where you can.