Allyship and Intersectionality

There are an infinite number of ways you can be an ally

Allyship and Intersectionality – these two topics are now indeed hot within the diversity, equity and inclusion world, and both these topics do truly come together.

Many more companies and organizations, for profit, non-profit and governmental are now focusing on the importance of allyship in building a cohesive work environment and better serving customers, clients, citizens and residents.

My favorite definition of allyship and being an ally was written by Katherine Turner of Global Citizen LLC, a leading diversity consultant and practitioner I enjoy collaborating with. Katherine defines an ally as “a person with relative privilege and power who builds trusting relationships and acts in solidarity and with accountability with people and/or groups with marginalized identities without detracting from their power and voices.”

A second diversity construct that is getting a lot more focus now is intersectionality, coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap. We cannot look at someone as only one dimension of their diversity, but that every person is their own unique combination of many different aspects of their diversity.

Each person is their own unique mix of diversity attributes (graphic courtesy of Syracuse University Libraries)

Some aspects of our complex diversity make up give us relative power and privilege in various settings, and some aspects give us relative marginalization. For example, being white and male provides me relative privilege, being gay relative marginalization, and being older can be either an advantage or disadvantage given different environments.

Because of intersectionality, every one of us can both be allies to some people, while others can be allies to us. Every one of us can simultaneous be an ally and use an ally.
• White men and white women can be allies to people of color
• Men can be allies to women
• Heterosexuals can be allies to members of the LGBTQ+ community
• Able-bodied people can be allies to people with disabilities

And so on.

And being an ally means taking action – standing with others, listening to them, supporting them and pushing for equitable treatment and respect for all. And being an ally is a two-way street – both the ally and the person being allied with gain insight and value from allyship. Do read my earlier blog “Allyship is a Two Way Street – 5 Points.”

And look at all the various aspects of your own diversity, and consider how you can be an active ally to others. You and the world will be better because of it.


The Importance of Diverse Marketing Teams in Creating Inclusive Campaigns

Diverse marketing teams can best reach a growing diverse marketplace.

As a diversity consultant, I continue to welcome guest blogs from excellent writers and researchers who offer practical insights in these areas to supplement by expertise.  Here is a thoughtful and useful blog from Sean Begg Flint of Position Digital.

Diversity is an increasingly important issue in workplaces, with many companies now striving to champion diversity in all that they do. The creative industry stands to benefit hugely from such improvements, particularly when it comes to creating inclusive campaigns. Read on and we’ll explain why diversity matters in marketing – and what companies can achieve by ensuring that their teams are as diverse as they are talented.

Why is building a diverse marketing team important for creating inclusive campaigns?

Diversity isn’t just a vital consideration in terms of fairness. It’s also worth thinking about because a diverse team tends to be a more competent one. And nowhere is this more evident than in the creative industry, where the experience of key team members is key to the creation of truly inclusive campaigns.

Campaigns speak to new audiences.

If the team behind a campaign is a diverse one, then brainstorming sessions will always draw on experiences from many different cultures and backgrounds. This results in a campaign that’s capable of speaking to a range of audiences, allowing a company to target its products to new markets. And of course, brands are less likely to accidentally cause any PR-related disasters if their campaigns are the work of a more diverse marketing team.

Messaging steers clear of unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is a real issue in the creative industry, but hiring a diverse marketing team is a great way to solve such issues. If a team is truly diverse, then it’s unlikely to face issues resulting from a common unconscious bias amongst those planning its campaigns. So, resulting campaigns will be inclusive by nature – and audiences will soon pick up on this.

Embarrassing mistakes can be avoided

Creative campaigns go viral for all the wrong reasons with increasing regularity. While a viral campaign is often great news in terms of building brand awareness, it isn’t so welcome when that surge in awareness causes damage to the brand’s reputation. This is a real risk if a campaign causes offence, or appears to lack inclusivity. Hiring a diverse marketing team means gaining a better understanding of a range of different cultures, which can stop campaigns from going viral for all the wrong reasons.

These ads from Wells Fargo can appeal to multiple aspects of someone’s intersectional diversity.

Talented Team Mean Better Campaigns

All great marketing teams begin with a meticulous recruitment process, through which companies seek to hire the best talent for the job. If such processes are planned with diversity in mind, brands can only improve their chances of hiring top talent and gaining a new team member who will soon prove to be a real asset. Champion diversity during the recruitment process to build a brilliantly capable team, well-positioned to deliver truly creative campaigns.

Diversity matters, so don’t overlook it

The best marketing campaigns are always the result of the combined efforts of a diverse team of people, whose knowledge comes together to create disruptive messaging that really works. Hire a diverse team and you’ll ensure that your next campaign is inclusive, intelligent and culturally sensitive.

About the author:

Sean Begg Flint is the founder of Position Digital, a digital marketing agency for ambitious startups and growing brands. He is passionate about purpose-driven content marketing and using outreach for good.