May 25, 2020 — the day George Floyd was killed — sparked an unprecedented level of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Business, universities, healthcare organizations and more used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag nearly 3x more following May 25 than in the first six years of the movement, according to analysis of that content.
With that outcry came Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) commitments. Fortune 500 companies declared what they would do to address these serious issues; their D&I initiatives.
Now some six months later, we’re seeing companies post progress updates. Some are strong — it’s clear they have made distinct, real change. But some can feel a bit trite. This begs the question: how do you know it’s the right time to issue an update?
Strategic guidelines for issuing a proactive communication
- Ensure you have strong progress to report. Even some of America’s most prominent brands don’t have an update since their initial commitments and D&I initiative kickoffs in June. There must be specific, tangible, noteworthy steps to detail – otherwise, it may be best to hold.
- Provide specifics about internal practices, not just donation numbers. While it’s great to highlight financial contributions, it is most impactful to share those in conjunction with changes you have made internally too.
- Make it measurable. The strongest examples of proactive D&I updates we found provided specific goals & metrics for measuring success. Just as it’s a best practice for marketing plans, it is here too.
- Provide a sense of timing and location for your next update. It’s especially helpful to provide readers a sense of when and where they can expect to see your next update.
Corporate D&I report examples, ranked
Best In Class: Adidas
Adidas’ update includes all the above elements — and then some. It shares specifics on internal meetings, initiatives and hiring goals. It also has detailed information including how their money will be spent at the organizations and more. We especially like the “accountability” section as well as the messaging and language used throughout the post.
Strong Contenders: Target, Netflix, Boeing and Minnesota Vikings
Target shares a detailed plan for a newly created committee, which we like. We appreciate their level of transparency on which executives are involved. We also like how the plan was visually laid out on the page, but wish they included more detail on their goals progress (adding numbers, percentages, dates, etc.).
Netflix took a different approach. The company focused in detail on a specific action they took as part of their larger D&I initiative: transferring a percentage of their capital to Black-owned banks. This results in a strong thought leadership piece in addition to a transparent update on the promises they made.
While Boeing didn’t provide information in their press release update on internal matters, we like the specific and clear style they took with announcing donation detail. It’s obvious that they put a lot of time and effort into these initiatives already — an ideal takeaway for their audience. It also shows where their funds will be allocated (to specific initiatives, programs, etc.).
It’s clear The Minnesota Vikings have been hard at work. Their scholarship announcement, in particular, was strong. They not only provided an update on the scholarship initiative they launched in June; they had a winner that they announced & shared a well-produced video that showed the recipient receiving her scholarship on Zoom.
It’s tempting to join in with the many companies issuing proactive D&I initiative updates. However it’s important to consider whether you have the right ingredients for a meaningful update before your company issues a report or pushes related stories and social posts. Consumers (and press) easily detect — and rarely appreciate — marketing fluff.
This article was authored by Liz Murphy, Account Director, Consumer at sister company SHIFT Communications.
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