Earlier this month, Cosmopolitan Magazine had a major social media fail. The magazine pushed out a post on Twitter talking about the rise of a new trend called “hair tattoos”. The problem was that it was actually hair designs and parts that Black Americans have been doing for decades. Black Twitter created the hashtag #cosmoheadlines to make fun of the cultural appropriation that so often happens in the beauty industry as well as Cosmo’s lack of Black American cultural knowledge.
Cosmo’s major fail is a prime example of why Marketing teams need to be Diverse to shed light on various cultural trends. The advertising and marketing industries are known for being mostly male and mostly white. This is problematic when you advertise in a country that is extremely diverse. Having a diverse team is about being aware of what is happening in mainstream culture, but also subcultures. And the most important piece is having your team understand that mainstream culture comes from subcultures. In the age of social media and Google it’s hard to understand how Cosmo didn’t realize the trend was new and then that brings up the question of did they know and didn’t want to give credit. Either scenario is one you don’t want your brand to be a part of.
Having a diverse marketing team will alleviate cleaning up a lot of the social media and marketing messes that are created by brands. It’s not just about giving credit where it’s due, but also being sure not to offend an entire racial or ethnic group of your consumers. A diverse marketing team can help your brand get to better insights that will lead to better creative ideas and finally inclusive and accurate advertising. When you have a diverse team you get diverse perspectives that can shed light on what may be deemed offensive to certain groups.
America is a diverse melting pot and advertising and marketing should be reflective of that. To truly be inclusive in your marketing your team needs to be inclusive as well. Diverse opinions, backgrounds, and lifestyles should be values and sought out when forming a team. There have been countless studies that prove that diverse teams outperform other teams. Diversity comes in many forms age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. When it comes to marketing, race and gender might be the most important ones. There are countless examples of advertising offending people due to lack of cultural knowledge and gender bias.
If your team is running a multi-cultural campaign or a campaign that is targeting a certain group of people, be sure to run the idea and creative by more than one person from that group. This process will help putting out offensive marketing or an idea that isn’t based on accurate insights and cultural knowledge. While one or two people cannot speak for an entire group of people, they can certainly shed more light that someone not of that group. If your team is not diverse, you should push for more qualified diverse talent. In the meantime, you can always seek out diverse opinions from partners and consumers. How has diversity helped your team perform better? How does your company promote diversity when it comes to marketing and advertising?
Filed under: Marketing Tagged: #blacktwitter, #cosmoheadlines, black twitter, Cosmo, Cosmopolitan, diverse audiences, diverse teams, diversity marketing, multicultural marketing, the need for diverse marketing teams, total market approach