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Diversity goes beyond tick boxes and t-shirts!

  • 2020-12-02

How embedding the right values at the core of your organisation can help you reach a diverse audience.

“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force” - Publilius Syrus 

There are 6,500 languages spoken today, more than 650 ethnic groups, over five gender identities and millions of people worldwide with disabilities. Within these groups, are individuals with different expectations and preferences. This shows that diversity clearly goes beyond tick boxes and t-shirts, it requires a more nuanced approach. We hear organisations and individuals advocating for and supporting diversity and inclusion (D&I) yet if you follow a lot of them closely, their commitment is not sustained. You will also notice that often than not they’re advocating about a cause they know nothing about. 

Today we shed light on the importance of effecting change from the heart. With D&I being the topic of the moment, this begs the question, how can businesses that have been questionably inauthentic in their approach to matters like D&I begin to adopt what we call change from the heart and what does that look like? 

For us at Eagle, we have coined the term “change from the heart” which describes the act of making a difference by staying true to your values. This will allow you to become a prominent voice within your sector, strengthen the perception of your brand with the consumer, build a community and gain allies. 

We believe that to effect change, whatever we set ourselves to change must be rooted in our values as people first, before driving it through the organisation. Otherwise, we will not be prepared to see that goal through when confronted by resistance. 

To put this into perspective, it is ironic that it was the values of Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United and England Footballer, that drove him to campaign to reduce childhood poverty, stemming from his experience having received free school meals as a youngster. Despite MP’s rejecting his appeal, his commitment triggered a surprise U-turn from the government. On the contrary, Greg Clarke, former Football Association (FA) chairman who was championing inclusion within the FA, was forced to resign, after using ‘unacceptable’ language to refer to black players. His speech eventually showed that his personal values were not aligned with the FA’s alleged support of inclusion as a result putting the FA under public scrutiny on whether they’re truly in touch with their commitment to D&I. 

As brands and business owners, we need to genuinely ask ourselves, what our values are before we start proclaiming our commitment. Like Marcus Rashford, some people have an innate passion for inclusion based on their upbringing or background whereas others like Greg Clarke need to be more intentional and solicit for the expertise of others with a solid understanding, to broaden their perspective. 

Here is our 4 step guide to kick-starting your commitment to D&I, if you do not already have it as a core value.

1. Build relationships with truly diverse organisations

2. Make visible both internally and externally your commitment to your values

3. Educate your leadership and embed a diversity and inclusion framework that is sustainable

4. Recruit diverse teams 

As a black-owned agency, we hope to see a time when trending topics will not be the decider between whether a cause is worth supporting or not. Change from the heart starts with seeing the value in everyone, regardless of our social class, ethnicity or spending power. As Marcus Rashford has shown, change makers can eventually convert the naysayers. 

“You’re either part of the solution, or part of the problem” - Eldridge Cleaver 

Pick a side!

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