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The Pursuit of Diversity in Public Relations

When you implement the right public relations strategy you create beneficial relationships with your customers. Yeah, that’s pretty easy to say, but considering there are some big brand name companies that have suffered from lackluster PR it’s not as easy as it sounds. Narrowing the market down to your target audience is only part one of your business venture sagas. 

Part two consists of understanding your consumers and reaching them in a positive way that they’ll remember and want to support. How do you do that? By getting to know them, who they are, what makes them tick. And if you’re in the business of public relations that means learning how to communicate with people from a multitude of cultures, races, and ethnicities. Diversity is about inclusion in all respects and understanding the importance of diversity in public relations is the first step to a successful strategy that could lay the foundation for your longevity as a business. Leading Lady PR strives to celebrate diversity and fluidly incorporate different points of view in our day-to-day projects. Not only is this a good idea, it gives you an edge, and I’m here to tell you why. 

    Working in PR allows you to connect with your consumers and use that connection to learn better ways to reach them. And as PR professionals were called to deliver more effective messages to our target market raising brand loyalty and gaining potential customers as well. One of the many benefits of diversity in PR is that it allows your company to reach more people more effectively. Here are the facts: the U.S. is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse countries in the world. With 54% of our population consisting of minority groups and those numbers are only going to grow. Business is not a stagnant entity, it needs to evolve and grow with the population and so does your marketing and PR strategy. If you don’t effectively connect with your consumers you run the risk of making them feel left out and losing a substantial portion of your target audience.  Your consumers have unique identities, shared experiences and distinct preferences that you should know how to cater to and connect with. 

    In order to effectively reach your audience, locally and internationally you have to develop diversity competencies. The thing is most of us in PR don’t receive a prep course in this. But it’s something you have to be aware of as well as maintain an in-depth understanding. The Institute for PR goes into detail about these competencies. Sustaining diversity in PR starts with the knowledge of a diverse world. That means having cultural self-awareness and understanding how social, political, economic and historical factors and events affect diverse groups. This reminds me a lot of the make up the industry. How is it okay to only offer a handful of shades for women with a virtual rainbow of skin tones?  That would be an example of inadequate cultural self-awareness. And that turns people away significantly dropping your optimum potential; just like not being educated on your consumers’ cultural history could seriously wreck your brand and your business. Being aware of your customers’ cultural history is a huge part of building that beneficial relationship PR strives to build. 

    Having a PR team with a multitude of cultural mindsets and experiences allows you to have a more in-depth understanding of how to successfully reach your target audience. Diversity is like good music; you need a multitude or varying sounds and rhythms to make something harmonious and unique. But in order to create that harmony, you need the skills to communicate and successfully interact with diverse groups. That requires teamwork and cross-cultural communication. You can’t effectively reach your audience if you’re only connecting with one voice. That’s a one-way ticket to limitation. In order to accumulate growth is to reach the varying cultures, races, and ethnicities within your target market. So PR should be a multifaceted corporation of people that are easily adaptable and have the ability to empathize and respect other cultures and perspectives. But somehow the statistics on the PR industry don’t reflect that diversity. According to the Bureau of Labor only 15.3% of Hispanic/Latinos, 7.3 Asians, 8.7 African Americans hold PR jobs. But by 2042 more than half the U.S. consumers will be of ethnic descent. The U.S. is the most multicultural nation in the world, so our PR should reflect that right? 

    Public relations must accurately represent diversity in the consumer market and understand the target audiences’ cultural identities and personalities in order to be successful. And Leading Lady PR will gladly lead the way. A change we should see in a more diverse PR industry is the number of ethnic executives.  LLPR is already there with our own personal Girlboss, Erica Patterson. As PR professionals we should represent people from all walks of life. There isn’t one right way to connect with someone but there are so many wrong ways. Failing to diversify keeps you in a corner when there’s so much more beauty out there that’s willing to communicate with you if you’re able to understand them and reach them effectively. Don’t sell yourself short, build with diversity and watch your business grow. 
 

 

Sources:

https://www.prsa.org/diversity/

http://www.instituteforpr.org/diversity-and-pr-practice/

http://blog.pancommunications.com/blog/prspeak/2015/01/diversity-public-relations-need

https://www.holmesreport.com/latest/article/diversity-in-the-pr-industry-a-lot-more-work-to-be-done