Diversity And Inclusion And Multicultural Marketing Are Not The Same

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Sometimes when you finish writing an article, you may struggle a bit to find a catchy headline. You look for something that could immediately break through the clutter, maybe something with a sense of humor, sometimes a breaking news approach. However, that’s not the case for this article. Sorry, but this time I went with a direct headline. Why? Because I believe it is crucial to address this topic in a very straightforward manner.

Over the past few months, we have witnessed an uptick on the debate around the importance of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) for Corporate America, and this is excellent news. After all, we live in the most diverse and multicultural society America has ever seen. Furthermore, for the next two decades, we are on the path of becoming a “minority-majority” country. Any effort to enhance this debate and make our business environment more reflective of the societal changes we are witnessing should be welcomed and supported.

The not-so-good news is that for some corporations, D&I may be competing, or worse, replacing existing multicultural marketing programs, at least from a resource allocation perspective. Don’t get me wrong; I believe both concepts are equally important, and I understand they may be considered related. But the risk of treating them as the same thing is what may hurt a brand’s bottom line.

In my experience, a strong D&I program is necessary for corporations to build an organization that reflects the society and marketplace they operate in. Diversity helps in bringing the right representation, and inclusion is a must to having these voices heard at the decision-making level.

An effective D&I program can serve as a springboard for an inclusive approach across all stakeholders, including not only employees but also suppliers, retailers and consumers. And precisely because retailers, and consumers should be engaged in this effort, the multicultural marketing discipline and its expertise is required.

D&I efforts are not truly complete without a multicultural marketing strategy, and multicultural marketing strategies may be incomplete and ineffective if developed without people who understand the new demographic paradigm of America.

I spoke with Gonzalo del Fa, President of GroupM Multicultural, a leading multicultural media planning and buying agency, and Chairman of the Board of the Culture Marketing Council, the association that represents multicultural advertising experts.

Please Read the full article and Gonzalo del Fa's POV on Forbes here.

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