Earlier this year, it was reported the American pop star Beyoncé Knowles- Carter backed-out of entering into a multi-million dollar deal with Reebok due to the lack of diversity of the people she’d be working with.
According to reports, during one of the meetings with Reebok, Beyoncé was alleged to have said:
“Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin colour, and where I’m from and what I want to do.”
She instead opted into a deal with its fierce rival Adidas (see the article by the Independent, 5th April 2019).
This is a valuable lesson to learn for public services trying to influence and engage with local people, especially those from BAME backgrounds.
There was a time when providing a good service would be enough for people/customers to engage and partake. However, our decision-making as people has become more nuanced.
Throughout my career, I’ve advised service leads on how to tailor marketing communication activities that will appeal to the BAME community such as:
- Ensuring promotional materials have BAME representation
- Tailoring messaging for BAME communities
- Provide information for translation service should it be required
As a rule of principle, this process is followed irrespective of the target audience: be it BAME, young people or even young mothers. It is important to have a clear understanding and obtain the necessary information to:
- Understand their interests and motivations
- Ascertain the best channels of communication
- Provide an offer which will ignite engagement
Living in a more conscious society
Today, society is changing and people are becoming more conscious about the kind of brands and organisations they choose to associate themselves with. It’s important for a company’s employees to show the local people they are serving throughout all levels its hierarchy.
Our client ELFT (East London NHS Foundation Trust) is a great example of getting this right. The Trust has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC twice in a row, with half of its board coming from a BAME background, including its CEO Dr Navina Evans.
From a marketing/communications perspective, this is a great example to position the Trust effectively amongst members of the BAME community from a recruitment perspective. ELFT is a Trust that not only talks about diversity but demonstrates diversity with real results (Trust Director is Top 100 Ethnic Minority Role Model).
Population health is a big topic in the NHS and there’s a great focus on connecting with hard to reach groups such as BAME and men. The best resource of the NHS is its people. It’s vital that the heart of the NHS, its workforce, is as diverse as the people we want to engage with.
A one size fits all strategy is unlikely to work among diverse communities, this also applies to communications. Specific channels will need to be targeted that will appeal to BAME communities as well as working with community leaders such as Imams, Rabbis and other religious leaders.
“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”
— Author Unknown