It’s All About Belonging

Our quarterly DC Communicators event last month brought out a number of communication professionals on Monday, September 30. This event focused on tips and tools to support your organization’s efforts to reach diverse audiences. Our panel of experts explored best practices, digital tools and platforms marketers can use to achieve their business goals, while also supporting their efforts in equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

 The Panelists included:

  • Joel Payne is a leading Democratic Strategist, former Director of African American Paid Media for Hillary for America. 
  • Karina Hurley is the Director of Strategic Communications at the American Association of Retired Persons.
  • Anthony Shop is the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder of Social Driver.
  •  Teresa Danso-Danquah is the NextGen Initiatives Manager at Disability:IN.

As the panelists talked about their personal experiences with reaching new audiences, it was clear communicators in the room took away new strategies on how to investigate the nuances of their target market, shape their public relations efforts around their consumers, and understand and identify differentiating opportunities to connect with an audience on a personal and cultural level, among others.

As marketers, we understand the challenges of reaching a diverse audience. Half the battle is actually taking the time to understand our specific target market.

“Companies would love to reach diverse audiences but don’t necessarily want to do the work to get there.”

Top-down marketing is becoming less effective while bottom-up marketing is more popular. Brand extensions can be used to cater the branding to the audience. It can be chosen by the individual for the time, thus not forcing them to out themselves in a situation they don’t feel comfortable in doing so.  The employees should make the company’s marketing strategy because they interact with the customers on a daily basis. Therefore, they have a good understanding of what they need. For example, Dominos had been advertising how fresh their pizza was for years, but after listening to what their customers really wanted, Dominos marketers learned that people were most interested in getting fast pizza. This is why they catered a whole campaign to guaranteeing your pizza is delivered in 30 minutes.  

The event fostered a growing awareness of the many facets of diversity, beyond race and gender. Although disability spans across all races, genders, and socioeconomic status, it remains the “forgotten or hidden minority” due to its misrepresentation in the media.

“We should be using people with disabilities to represent people with disabilities,” said Teresa Danso- Danquah, Manager, NextGen Initiatives, Disability:IN, “this is a missed opportunity to market to the community and a missed economic opportunity …”

To solve this problem Teresa reached out to people in their everyday life to be photographed and created Disability:IN, a free stock photography that authentically represents disabilities in the media. 

It’s no secret that minority groups are a growing market due to their increase in spending power. While many companies have made an effort to target a diverse audience, they have not taken the time to understand what they truly need to feel welcome. 

Along with reaching these diverse communities you need to support them.”

One example he gave was including ads in local businesses that feature your audience’s interests, aspects of their daily life, and most importantly THEM! This will help your audience see your brand as something they identify with. 

We’d like to thank everyone once again for being part of this great community and we look forward to seeing you next time!

Attend our next DC Communicators

Be sure to visit our website for more vital information from our DC Communicators event. See you there!

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