Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI, or DE&I) has become a key goal for global and national organizations that are committed to fair representation and equality for all.
But having a goal and taking action toward it are two very different things.
That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that PR practitioners and communication specialists begin strategizing steps they can take to produce inclusive campaigns.
If you’re a PR professional ready to play your role in promoting DE&I, we’ve got a special guide in store for you.
Today, we’re sharing practical and simple ways you can incorporate DE&I into your PR strategy.
Create inclusive campaigns
Planning and producing inclusive campaigns is where it all starts. In this section, we’ll explore several ways you can implement DE&I into your campaign production process.
Use an inclusive communication style
Using inclusive language practices is one of the simplest, most important ways to infuse DE&I into your PR campaigns. Here are a few quick tips you can implement to do just that:
1. Refer to people correctly / use inclusive language
i.e., “Black” when referencing a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense, should now be written with an uppercase b, according to The Associated Press’ new writing style guide.
2. If you serve a global audience, create your campaign in multiple languages
If you market to a global audience, consider using an AI text generator to write your PR copy in multiple languages. If you serve specific countries, use the generator to write your campaign copy in those countries’ corresponding languages.
For instance, Remote, a brand that offers international payroll processing, has created its site and campaigns in four different languages:
Since it serves French, American, German, and Dutch customers, Remote chose to create versions of its site in those specific languages.
3. Pay attention to pronoun usage
Always look up a person’s pronoun preferences before referencing them in quotes or attributions. Many people have them written in their social media bios or in their LinkedIn profiles.
When in doubt:
- Stick to “they”
- Use their name only
- Or find a creative, inclusive way to reference the individual without mentioning a pronoun.
4. Don’t discriminate
Don’t base representation in your campaigns on factors like sexual orientation, gender, race, age, marital status, or socioeconomic background, for your campaigns, regardless of your personal opinions or beliefs. Include everyone.
5. Don’t give in to social stigmas
Never allow unfair stigmas to influence your communication style.
For instance, if you sell sensitive products, it may be tempting to plan discreet ways to promote them to avoid social backlash.
But a truly inclusive campaign cares about the betterment of all. In other words, whether you’re promoting Viagra online, hair regrowth products, or anti-wrinkle creams, showcase your products and the people they help, loud and proud.
This practice helps create a safe space for customers to engage with your brand and product offerings.
TL;DR: For sensitive product brands, incorporating DE&I can help alleviate stigma and foster open conversations.
6. Focus on your brand’s commitment to delivering custom solutions
Use language that helps your target audience feel like you’ve designed a service or product just for them. A simple way to do this is by giving them the option to take advantage of custom solutions.
For example, DentalInsurance.com offers dental insurance across the US. If you choose “get a quote“ from its drop-down menu, it takes you to a page that says “Find the plan that’s right for YOU”. Then, you have options like “plans by state.”
Once you narrow down your search by location, you can, for instance, check out dental insurance benefits in Florida.
Needless to say, this can help employers and individuals searching for dental plans feel confident that DentalInsurance.com cares about their specific needs before recommending a plan. In other words, goodbye random, hello custom.
Include images, examples, and stories that feature under-represented groups
Celebrate racial diversity, people of color, and cultural differences among minority groups by featuring them in your campaign images, examples, and stories.
For instance, in its guide on how to become a flight attendant, Jobcase referenced an infographic featuring people of color:
To incorporate more DE&I into this article, Jobcase could consider swapping its current featured image (of a white man) for a photo that showcases flight attendants from multiple backgrounds and genders. It might also consider covering what it’s like to become a flight attendant in various countries around the world.
Work with subject matter experts and PR professionals from diverse backgrounds
From informing your campaigns to producing aligned content, working with subject matter experts and PR professionals from diverse backgrounds can help you refine your DE&I approach on a granular level.
Consider the fleet management brand Samsara, for example.
By embracing DE&I within the company’s workforce, including leadership and management, Samsara team members bring a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table.
This diversity of thought leads to more informed decision-making when it comes to developing and improving Samsara’s fleet management software and GPS tracking solutions. The team’s different perspectives uncover innovative features, address unique challenges, and ensure the software meets the needs of its diverse client base.
Taking a DE&I approach from the backend like this, not only helps companies like Samsara put their money where their mouths are, but it also helps them plan and create inclusive PR campaigns, practically effortlessly.
7. Sponsor DE&I initiatives
Go the extra mile by sponsoring events, fundraisers, and initiatives that align with your brand values and promote DE&I. Take lots of professional photographs during in-person events and don’t forget to utilize social media to stir up a buzz.
If you’re sponsoring an online DE&I initiative, pull out all of your digital marketing tools. For instance, start a user-generated content (UGC) campaign, frequently post in social media Stories, and set up automated, segmented email campaigns. You might also consider running PPC ads and social media ads, and locking arms with influencers if you have the budget for them.
8. Talk about the inclusion initiatives you’re committed to
Your target audience wants to know that you take DE&I seriously, but it’s important not to let them dig for the details.
Show off your commitment loud and proud by crafting a DE&I mission statement and posting it on your site’s About Page, Home Page, on social media, and in campaigns when natural.
For instance, take a look at the following mission statement by SoFi, a firm that offers private loans for college and other lending products:
Not only does SoFi talk about its commitment to hiring a DE&I team, but it also highlights how this diverse approach helps the organization innovate faster, for the betterment of its customers and employees.
Pro tip: You can also include a shorter version of your statement as a footer in your DE&I-focused content.
Incorporating DE&I into your PR strategy is key to promoting fair PR and marketing practices. It’s also one of the best ways to humanize your PR initiatives and play your role in making the world a more supportive environment.
If you’re ready to embrace DE&I, save this article for reference. Then, meet with your team to start strategizing and planning. By incorporating the tips we shared today, your organization can get one step closer to promoting and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion — for all.
To your success!