In the last post, we wrote about the concepts of mindfulness in your marketing. This time, I’d like to delve a little deeper regarding another session I recently attended on Diversity & Inclusion. The conversation was extremely engaging and taught many about what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Here again the focus is on the word empathy.
There is a focus in all of our communities to become more diverse, but what does that really mean?
For us in the arts and events space, we welcome all individuals regardless of background, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are making decisions or providing the inclusion necessary for true equity.
Art, in all of it facets, is representative of individual artists and by giving exposure and a voice to those artists in your community, you can elevate the different cultures and begin to make connections that really matter. Embracing different genres alone allow you to engage a diverse population of artists and arts organization and from there, the relationships and conversations can grow organically for the benefit of all involved.
We are all engaged in some form of audience development. By celebrating different cultures and different backgrounds we weave a tapestry that invites more people to participate and feel a sense of true inclusion. Important to all of this are the methods by which you reach these potential audience members. The tools they use to communicate are as diverse as their race, gender and heritage. Be sure that you are also aware to those different channels so that everyone can participate equally in your programming.
With all of that said, diversity, equity and inclusion really begins at the top level of your organization.
Look at your board of directors and leadership. How diverse are the points of view you are listening to? How representative is your organization to the community you serve? Is the representation equitable and fair?
Too many boards are stuck in the old ways of doing business and are lacking from the ability to listen to their changing communities to best reflect the residents and guests that take part in your events. Worse yet are those few organizations that try to “check the boxes” when it comes to diversity and inclusion and wind up with token representatives from different racial, ethnic or gender backgrounds but without a real voice in the decisions being made.
These are very tough conversations to have, but the success of our organizations, events and of our society hinge on the ability for us to all join together and celebrate our communities and reflect our neighborhoods and cities.
Many organizations already have diversity policies that should be celebrated and used as models for the future. There are many of our fellow event promoters affiliated with municipal or state governments where diversity continues to be addressed on a daily basis. They know the importance of listening to those from different backgrounds and different cultures wind up creating better and more impactful events for their audiences.
Mindfulness, diversity, equity and inclusion are some pretty deep topics for a column usually focused on marketing, but there are times when we all need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Marketing is a sum of all of the parts of our organizations and events. From the individual tactics we use on a daily basis to the brand traits, our success is dependent on our ability to showcase the communities in which we operate. Embrace the diversity of your neighborhoods and use it as a launch point for more successful events and the amazing community building opportunities they present.