We are heading to a hyper diverse society: Is your strategy the right one?
When we are invited to a company, we often hear the same stories from managers and communication strategists. Most of them are already working with a long-term strategy towards a more inclusive communication, both within the company as towards external stakeholders. Of course we applaud their great intentions, but their strategies are often lacking effectiveness. The 6 main reasons why their strategy isn’t working are the following:
1. Lack of research
You can’t expect results from a strategy that is based on assumptions and stereotypes. It seems like a basic, but many managers implement strategies that are based on ideas that they have, without any research backing them up. That’s why we always advise to start with research, whether qualitative or quantitive, to clearly outline the current status. Creating a strategy with a lack of information is a loss of time and a huge financial cost that can easily be avoided.
2. Outdated plans
Many strategies are simply outdated. They were created 10 or 15 years ago and seemed brilliant at the time, which can make an update look unnecessary. It isn’t. The world has changed, society has changed, people have changed. We can’t compare the state of our global, hyper diverse, connected society with how things looked a decade ago. The world has moved on and so should your strategy.
3. Playing safe
For many managers and brands, change seems scary. They are afraid to lose customers, they think it’s too risky or they don’t see the opportunities that an inclusive strategy creates. They don’t recognize the added value, so they play safe with their strategy and stick to what they know. But nothing great has ever come from playing safe. Of course we understand the concerns, which is why we create a process that can easily be tracked and results that can be measured.
4. Failed implementation
Sometimes it all looks great on paper, and that’s it. The implementation of the strategy never succeeded because the tools to transform the strategy from plan to action were missing. The right people weren’t there, it didn’t seem like a great investment at that time, they didn’t have the right network, etc. When the great strategy only exists in your mind, it doesn’t exist at all. That’s why we support our clients through every step of the plan: from research to analysis, implementation, evaluation and follow-up.
5. Labelling is not a strategy
Some companies have the best intentions, but they try a little too hard. These are the managers who do everything to be as inclusive as possible, but they end up labelling people and creating different boxes for all of them. It creates awkward situations and it can seriously harm their brand and image. “Let’s paint everything pink and get more women to visit our stores!” is the perfect example of what not to do.
6. No strategy at all
And then there are brands who don’t have a strategy at all. They want to work on it, but they don’t feel like inclusiveness is a priority. They stick to short-term projects and don’t implement a long-term strategy, because they don’t think it’s important. But we love to deliver wake-up calls and create awareness where it’s necessary.