Ever wondered how to create the most valuable and useful team in your business? Continue reading to find the answers by learning tips on building diversity, embracing uniqueness, fostering a collaborative event, and knowing when to call it quits.
We’ve all seen an unfortunate or offensive brand campaign and thought, “How did that get approved?” Like a can of soda to end a protest or cultural elements appropriated into a “new” mainstream trend. The answer may not be about who was in the room to make the decision but who wasn’t.
Companies often take for granted that no matter the target audience, campaigns thrive with insight from a diverse set of contributors. And while the importance of diversity is not unique to marketing, the nature of our work is simply more visible to the outside world, creating more room for celebration and critique. It’s essential to highlight our responsibility as corporate marketers. Here are some ways we can do better.
Build a diverse team
First, building a team with diverse cultures, experiences, and perspectives inherently leads to a more promising vision. A team that is representative of society as a whole is better equipped to serve and speak to that society through product, messaging, and content. When people from different backgrounds collaborate, they devise creative solutions that other team members may not have thought otherwise and act as a sounding board to filter ideas that might alienate a group. Companies are beginning to understand the importance of diversity within teams and leadership; however, there is still a long way to go, making it critical to utilize hiring and recruitment tactics that boost representation.
Bridging the gap begins by acknowledging that we are all different and bring something unique to the table. The objective of a diverse team is not to debate until everyone agrees but to ask questions, understand and empathize with those who disagree. Encourage team members to share their perspectives and actually listen before acting. Nurturing individuality and inspiring team members to lead authentically will naturally showcase their strengths, thereby promoting a well-rounded team.
One way we do this at Stuf is to start each team status with a “Topic of the Week”. While topics range over a wide variety of categories, they consistently allow us to discover something new about our colleagues and give us the space to share a tidbit about ourselves. Through this simple ten-minute-per-week exercise we gain insight and appreciation for team members’ experiences, perspectives, and opinions.
Foster a collaborative environment
Simply having a diverse team isn’t enough; you must also ensure team members are empowered to share their ideas and provide constructive feedback. People won’t speak up if they believe they won’t be genuinely heard or taken seriously. Implement processes that foster creativity and input from team members with various communication styles. Try a mix of group brainstorming sessions, smaller breakout groups, and surveys that enable individuals to contribute asynchronously. Creating an environment where everyone feels valued and encouraged to share ideas will result in diversity of thought, which is vital to innovation. Therefore, incorporate different perspectives and ideas into your next campaign or project throughout the process and in the final deliverable.
Know when to call it
Trust your gut; if it feels wrong, chances are others may feel the same. It’s hard to walk away from a once-promising concept, but it becomes an easy decision when it is not based on the time or effort exerted but on the expected outcome. Not every idea will succeed; don’t be afraid to admit it and move on to the next opportunity.
Diversity in all aspects of business and life is a competitive advantage and leads to more creative ideas and innovative approaches. It also creates opportunities for the company to promote inclusion and create an environment where employees feel valued and inspired to reach their full potential. For marketers, this environment drives better results and creates a strong culture of trust and engagement among audiences.