How Marketers Can Answer the Call for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

February 19, 2021

Woman alone in a meeting room

Brands in every industry and across the world – including LinkedIn – are responding to increasingly louder calls for social justice by boosting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives at their organizations. Creating economic opportunity for the entire global workforce is part of our core mission, so we recognize our responsibility to help build that future, both within our workforce and for our hundreds of millions of members and customers. As an organization, we are building toward a world where professional organizations are a reflection of the communities in which they operate. And as LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, we are being thoughtful and intentional in our marketing when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Do you want to create tangible change in your marketing efforts? Join us for our upcoming event, “Evolve Your Impact: Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Matter in Marketing,” on Friday, February 26 at 1 pm EST. During this one-hour virtual event, leaders from Salesforce, Microsoft and Nationwide will speak to the unique role marketers play in driving these initiatives within and beyond their organizations. 

Marketers Shape the Narrative

While systemic and cultural changes must come from the top down, B2B marketers are in a position to positively move the conversation forward, as we tell stories that shape people’s perceptions and even the culture at large.

Marketers understand that people want to do business with brands that align with their values: The majority of consumers (70%) believe it’s important for brands to take a public stand on social and political issues, and 64% of them took an action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive. And marketers recognize they must pivot to align with these shifts. Frankly, a focus on DEI makes for more effective marketing; it’s just good business practice. Your customers are diverse and your marketing should reflect that by equitably amplifying their voices in the stories you tell.

Take Inspiration From Other Marketers

LinkedIn recognizes that marketers are being challenged to take action with their efforts regardless of where their companies are in their DEI journeys. The key is to be authentic and transparent. You can take inspiration and direction from Salesforce, Microsoft and Nationwide, organizations already taking steps to address this in their own companies and marketing.

Salesforce is Driving Equality for All Stakeholders

In an effort to be transparent with all of its stakeholders — employees, customers, partners, local communities, and society at large — Salesforce publishes its  Equality Data report annually. The company admits that, while it has made more progress in some areas and less in others, there’s still much work to be done in terms of its DEI efforts.

About 47% of the company’s U.S. workforce is currently made up of underrepresented groups (Women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Multiracial, LGBTQ+ employees, People with Disabilities and Veterans). To achieve its vision of building a workplace that mirrors society, Salesforce aims for 50% of its U.S. workforce to comprise underrepresented groups by 2023. The company is also working to double the U.S. representation of Black leaders (VP+) and of underrepresented  (Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Multiracial) leaders by 50% by 2023.

According to Cristina Jones, Senior VP of Customer & C-Suite Marketing and Brand Partnerships at Salesforce honored on the EBONY Power 100 list, “As creatives, as marketers, as humans, it’s time that we all recognize the value of our own voices to drive change. With authentic, inclusive storytelling from brands that are walking the talk, we can help bring about the change that we want to see. That has never mattered more than right now.”

Microsoft Believes in the Transformative Power of Diversity

Microsoft also believes in the transformative power of engaging many different perspectives, and empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. It also embraces transparency, and shares its efforts around building a diverse workforce. Microsoft’s U.S. workforce comprises:

  • 5% Black or African American employees 
  • 7%  Latino/as and Latinx employees 
  • >1% Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander employees
  • 35% Asian employees, which include more than a dozen different ethnic groups

To improve representation at all levels and in all roles, in particular for Black and Latinx employees, Microsoft is prioritizing its commitments to strengthen intentional career planning and talent development efforts. Other measures to boost racial equity include systems of accountability and strengthening Microsoft’s culture of inclusion.

When it comes to acting on diversity in its marketing, Microsoft may be further along than many organizations. Some examples include a guide for retailers on how to reach more shoppers with an inclusive approach and a Marketing With Purpose Playbook.

Microsoft’s Head of Multicultural and Inclusive Marketing MJ DePalma says, “Authenticity and genuineness are the most important brand attributes to build trust. … Ensure your brand mission is expressed throughout how you do business — including your advertising — because how you do business in today’s world is your marketing, and that is authenticity by design.”  

Nationwide Holds Itself Accountable for Helping to End Systemic Racism

Nationwide, one of the biggest insurers in the U.S., has long advocated for ending racism and inequality. Examples of its commitment over the years include partnerships with the National Fair Housing Alliance and National Urban League; and education through relationships with Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the Executive Leadership Council. It also drives economic empowerment by way of a partnership with The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit. More recently, Nationwide has established a Social Justice Task Force to identify additional, tangible ways the company can increase its impact on societal issues like racism.

The company also shows its commitment to DEI through its corporate makeup: The company’s Board of Directors is 27% diverse and its C-suite is 25% diverse and 25% female. Nationwide’s supplier diversity program fosters the promotion, growth and development of POC-, women-, lesbian-, gay- and veteran-owned enterprises. Over the years, this has resulted in more than 3,400 jobs and more than $1 billion in spending.

As Nationwide’s Chief Marketing Officer Ramon Jones says, “At Nationwide, we firmly believe black lives matter and that words without actions are useless.”

Join Us for “Evolve Your Impact: Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Matter in Marketing”

No person or organization is doing everything right, but every marketer needs and is seeking guidance for learning, growing and deepening their DEI efforts. Knowing this is a big – yet essential – mandate, LinkedIn is empowering our community of marketers to develop equity every day. As part of that, we’re hosting our Evolve series of events, designed to deliver guidance on how to:

  • Best communicate DEI efforts
  • Develop diverse and inclusive marketing campaigns
  • Inspire authentic, company-wide action

On  Friday, February 26 at 1 pm EST, Microsoft’s MJ DePalma, Saleforce’s Minea Moore and Nationwide’s Ramon Jones will share insights, trends, and best practices at the intersection of diversity, marketing and advertising.

Be sure to register to learn ways you can boost diversity in your marketing and advertising efforts.

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