Spotlight on: DEI services marketing

Move over, ESG. DEI has arrived.

Editor’s note: This post is not about marketing your internal DEI program, an important related topic we have covered elsewhere (Is DEI in Your DNATelling Your DEI StoryProof of Good Citizenship). This post is about positioning yourself as a leader in helping clients with their DEI problems.

It hasn’t been all that long since environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues were the hot new topic in professional services marketing. As regulators around the world approved disclosure and reporting requirements for ESG metrics and initiatives, ESG evolved from previously separate homes under corporate governance, compliance and disclosure, environmental, and other topics to form its own discrete service area. Newsletters, podcasts, conferences, advertising and other dedicated marketing and business development initiatives soon followed. Today, ESG is firmly ingrained as part of corporate culture, and dedicated ESG advisory practices are common in professional services firms.

Now, it’s DEI’s turn.

Like ESG before it, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is seeing the rise of disclosure and reporting requirements. Driven partly by the #MeToo movement and the increased calls for social justice following George Floyd’s murder, and partly by decades of failure to address the underrepresentation of Blacks, women and other groups on corporate boards and in upper management, new regulations in the US, Canada, Europe and the UK demand that companies expose their DEI metrics to sunlight.

As a result, DEI is emerging as a service area in its own right. And advisors who implement timely and thoughtful DEI communications plans may soon claim a first-to-market thought leadership advantage.

Advisors who implement timely and thoughtful DEI communications plans may soon claim a first-to-market thought leadership advantage.

Your DEI marketing toolbox
It’s one thing to identify DEI as a marketing priority, or even just an opportunity. It’s another to act on it with purpose. These steps can help you establish DEI credentials and leadership:

  • Add DEI to your services taxonomy.
  • Identify teams and individuals in your organization who can provide different DEI-related services and perspectives.
  • Create a multidisciplinary DEI capabilities outline to be used by practitioners in different specialties. A digital piece will provide the best experience because it lets users navigate by what’s most important to them; however, a printed piece can also be helpful.
  • Develop an internal playbook to guide professionals in talking with clients and prospects about key DEI issues and services.
  • Assemble key players to brainstorm coordinated topics for webinars, blog posts, podcasts, publications and other thought leadership opportunities. Create an editorial calendar with the flexibility to accommodate developments as they arise.
  • Repurpose thought leadership and promote on social media.
  • Work with a PR firm to find opportunities for your team to speak or be quoted on DEI issues.
  • Use paid media to supplement or jump-start your DEI profile in key industries or locations.
  • Monitor analytics and search terms and adjust your efforts accordingly.

Special initiative marketing is a great way to optimize resources around multidisciplinary areas like DEI. To learn how Right Hat can help, schedule a meeting with Dawn Michalak, Director of Business Development.

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