Driving Diversity, Inclusion and Change with Technology and Marketing — TechTalks Recap
Did you know that a 2019 survey conducted by Adobe illustrated an astounding 62% of consumers said that advertising that showcased diversity had an impact on the way they perceived that brand’s products and services?
To add, more than 6 out of 10 interviewees stated that diversity in ads was extremely important. So, with such high statistics in favour of diverse marketing, why is the technology industry behind on following this trend?
In this month’s Copy House TechTalks, Managing Director of Copy House, Kathryn Strachan, joins Louise Power, Founder of iOrbit and The Power Hour CIC, Kay Scorah, Founder of Turning the Tables Conference and Robert Hopkin, Co-Founder of Axis, to discuss diversity, inclusion and change within technology and marketing.
You can watch the full TechTalks episode on-demand here, or read the highlights below.
Transforming the Social Stigma Around Technology to Drive Diversity
Despite the fact that 85% of large global enterprises believe that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation, many technology businesses are far behind. So how do we change the perception of technology and introduce a diverse culture?
We can start by making careers in technology more accessible to diverse groups and individuals. Recently Copy House joined forces with BIMA and volunteered for Digital Day. This is where some of the Copy House team went into local schools and introduced technology careers to young people.
“Introducing these opportunities to students aged 14-16 is crucial. I participated in it because it gave me the opportunity to showcase to them what digital careers entail. I was able to introduce the benefits of it, and the ideas the students came up with during their challenges were exceptional!.”
“It’s important to introduce these options very early on. That way, girls are aware that the technology industry is not gender-specific, and they can branch into it.
There have been countless times where I’m the only female in the room and it can feel as though my opinions aren’t heard. So if we change the stigma around who works in technology very early on, it can open great opportunities for the future.”
By transforming the social stigma surrounding technology jobs, companies can have a wider selection pool of candidates for available job positions. The panellists discussed how it’s crucial for the younger generation to see that there is room for them to be a part of the tech community and have an impact. It’s up to companies and businesses to showcase the opportunities available.
“I’m a huge advocate for schemes that essentially stimulate the supply side and create further opportunities for a variety of people to be a part of the community.
For example, offering paid internships; tech returns, e.g. when women leave the field, they can easily come back or transitional programmes that proactively target certain groups and help individuals change careers and move into tech.
So instead of working on your recruitment process by selecting candidates from a small pool, increasing the supply by introducing schemes can open up further opportunities and expand your pool of candidates. This in return can increase diversity in your industry.”
Diversifying Your Recruitment by Being Brave and Not Blind
Kay delves into the need for companies to start straying away from the norm and implementing recruitment processes that encourage positive discrimination.
An example of this is a work from anywhere and anytime policy. Kathryn embedded this way of working into the Copy House culture to allow employees to spend more time with their families and plan their work around their personal lives as opposed to the traditional 9 to 5 office hours.
It heavily encourages diversity within the recruitment process because parents can work around their children’s schedules, and employees who live internationally, or have family abroad, can go back and forth with ease. Most importantly, it opens up the recruitment process to anyone around the world.
“I started my business as a single mom, and I began supporting startup and growth companies. One of the reasons I started was because I wanted to transform my adversity into an opportunity.
I was always intrinsically entrepreneurial, and I always wanted to work for myself, but having a small child at that time left me with very limited options in terms of how I could extend that flexibility.
So I began supporting my clients from a virtual space, and in that space, I realised, ‘Wow, isn’t there a massive disparity for women here?’ So with this knowledge, I was able to employ women by offering this flexibility within the tech industry.”
Diversity is More Than Just a Checkbox
When creating a diverse marketing campaign or building an inclusive and diverse company culture, you must do your research!
Diversity and inclusion is not just a matter of ticking a box or filling a quota. It requires you to do some genuine research and understand how you can incorporate other races, religions, sexualities, preferences etc.
“At the moment, there’s a lot of black families in Christmas commercials. And we were just killing ourselves laughing because they’re all eating white folks food. And the audience, who were mainly black people, were laughing and questioning, ‘where’s the rice and peas?’
So if you want to look diverse, don’t just check a box, research!”
It’s exceptionally important to thoroughly research information before creating a campaign. Simply including one person from different walks of life is incredibly transparent and ingenuine.
Therefore, hosting a focus group or creating a diverse internal setting can push your marketing further because it will become more authentic.
“Sometimes it’s obvious that marketers are looking to include an X amount of black people or Asian people, or people with a European background etc.
I think it’s not about making diversity stand out, that will just make you look as if you’re forcing diversity. You can show diversity in so many different ways.
For example, your supply chain, who you liaise with, the people you hire, whether you work with small businesses, whether you hire people based on skills or qualifications. There’s so much more to it than a shopfront full of different people.”
Moving Forward with Diversity in Mind
Driving diversity is more than just including different minority groups in a campaign. Technology companies must start building the foundations of the company based on diversity and inclusion to help push the future of technology further.
Whether that’s educating the public on why they should consider a career in technology or creating opportunities in technology using positive discrimination. There are numerous ways we can move forward and change the technology industry for the better.
To hear more insights on driving diversity, inclusion and change with technology and marketing, check out our TechTalks here!