Generally speaking, if you look at something long enough, you will find a pattern. This is true in nature, as seen by the changing of the seasons and the migration patterns of animals. We find patterns in our daily routines; on the fabric we use to make clothes and upholster our couches, with flight patterns of aircraft, some people have a pattern of bad behavior, and others a pattern of excessive spending. The point is that patterns are all around us.
Furthermore, the organizations that operate manufacturing the products that we buy, creating the technology we interact with, and providing the services we seek are no exception to this phenomenon.
Moreover, the history of organizations builds on patterns. Whether it be a pattern of excellence’ or a pattern of lousy business dealings,’ organizations have a pattern to the way they subsist within industries and in the marketplace.
Diversity deserves a seat at the table to accurately represent stakeholder groups. The needs and expectations of stakeholders have expanded. To this effect, organizations must evolve to meet these needs and exceed expectations or face the threat of extinction.
Namely, stakeholders’ expectation that their needs be considered in all aspects of an organization’s business operations heavily influences the choices organizations make and how these acts get communicated, to who, and at what point in time.
Is it possible, however, for a single person, a homogeneous group, or an organization made up of like-minded individuals who come from similar backgrounds and who have had similar life experiences as well as share the same beliefs and values, to deliver any meaningful insight on the expectations of a diverse stakeholder group?
The advertising industry is currently grappling with this same issue. Primarily; target audiences are not being targeted at all because humans have a behavior pattern of grouping in clusters of similar people. White males have historically dominated advertising with very few women and fewer minorities. Currently (2021), 82.6% of advertising professionals are white, while minorities make up about 40% of the US population.
When people cannot identify with advertising, it affects more than their personal view of the product and brand. There are direct implications for advertising firm profits because Google research shows that 69% of black consumers will keep their money in their pockets when they do not feel brands represent them and intentionally develop advertising and marketing that reflects the identity of the group in a positive way.
Some top brands have expressed concern surrounding this issue. Verizon Wireless, General Mills, and HP Inc. recognize the need for inclusion not just because it is a socially responsible business but also because they know reaching a bigger target audience using relevant creative communications has the potential to increase profit margins. This insight resulted in these organizations communicating with eleven ad agencies expressing the lack of diversity as a liability.
Therefore, the agencies received one month to provide data including, how many women and minorities are employed and what positions they fill, along with an action plan to demonstrate how the agencies will diversify in the upcoming year.