diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion work together to elevate creativity, productivity, and overall happiness in the workplace. The global pandemic has laid bare inequities rooted in healthcare, justice, education, and economic systems.

PR professionals can help raise awareness by advancing dialogue and discussion to understand challenges and issues that are lurking beneath the surface.

Businesses of all sizes are investing time and energy into diversity and inclusion programs and are paving the way for acceptance and change. PR plays a critical role in communicating such principles of a business.

To authentically represent clients and brands to wide audiences, a PR team needs to have diversity too, otherwise audiences may sniff out unauthentic brand initiatives. PR professionals can improve the state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and put it on the front burner. There are various opportunities in PR which can share diverse perspectives as given below. 

Language

If a sizable chunk of a customer base or target audience uses a language other than English, it would be useful to translate press kit materials into that language and add them to online newsrooms. The language can also be used in outreach to applicable media. This would help to diversify a conversation and expand it to reach more people. 

Widen Perspectives

When telling stories, using inclusive language can widen perspectives. Instead of using ‘I’ or “U’, use ‘we’. Getting and sharing thoughts from people outside the immediate group can also help widen perspectives. People from a variety of backgrounds can be given responsibilities, and listening to what everyone has to say helps. Increased understanding of unconscious bias and racism is essential for those who are responsible for communicating with the public. 

Lead by Example

Other than supporting people regardless of religion, sexual orientation, and race, PR professionals should exhibit that they actually care about diversity and inclusion. At Slice Communications, a client had been fired because he had made blatantly racist remarks in an email. The client was excellent in terms of revenue, but the organization was not willing to work with someone who was clearly out of line with its core values. 

Visuals

In press kit materials, it is wise to use the widest criteria possible for diversity and inclusion. It is important to analyze whether the images chosen represent the target audiences. Are the visuals representative of diversity? Diverse stock photos can be used, or there can be photo shoots of in-house diverse and inclusive teams that shows that the organization prioritizes representation. Sensitivity to differences in gender, race, culture, and ability is vital. 

Communicating Inclusively

Advocating for others would help to communicate inclusively. Empathizing and being kind can enhance communication goals. By  looking inwards before communicating outward for the next PR announcement or product launch, media campaigns that reflect diverse and inclusive culture can be created.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.