‘Bring your true self to work’ is an often-used phrase. For David Brown, it’s a lesson he learned as a youth and carried with him into adulthood. Today, he imparts it daily to students and fellow PR professionals. Yet, he’s constantly reminded of its importance. For example, during the country’s recent racial reckoning and on a visit to his 100-year-old grandmother.
Diversity, Equality & Inclusion
No company, not even timeless luxury brands, is immune to today’s social, racial and political movements. While luxury brands once were able to float above social issues, that’s not the case today. How should these ‘timeless classics’ navigate the current landscape? In short, much the same way other brands do.
In the case of the 2020 election, getting the comms right was absolutely urgent and critically important, writes the author. Telling the right story, to the right audience, on the right platforms over time garnered change, faith, the audacity of hope and impact.
As hiring freezes are (hopefully) lifted amid the COVID vaccine’s arrival and (hopefully) economic rebound, the Biden team’s latest cabinet announcements raise a timely question for PR pros: How should brands announce new or incoming leadership?
PRNEWS is pleased to announce this year’s Top Women in PR honorees. Our honorees demonstrated significant passion for their work even beyond their (virtual) office doors, often taking on pro bono communications work, in addition to advancing women leadership and/or diversity initiatives, both inside their respective organizations as well as in volunteer capacities outside of office hours.
PRNEWS welcomed Aba Blankson, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the NAACP, as the keynote speaker for this year’s Media Relations: Next Practices Virtual Event. The NAACP thoughtfully handled a barrage of communications challenges in 2020, from COVID to social justice and race relations, always keeping in mind the needs of its audience—the Black community and its advocates.
For many in PR, because of their own day-to-day experiences, the thought of accessibility for an audience may not register when strategizing communications. But the truth is that 61 million Americans live with a disability, according to the Center for Disease Control. And that is a sizable number to acknowledge when trying to release important information.
For it to be most effective, DEI efforts need to expand beyond being a function of HR, according to panelists at this week’s PRNEWS webinar, “Communicating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Actions to External Stakeholders.” The question, then, becomes what PR’s role should be.
DEI initiatives permeate the PR industry. Are they effective? A recent survey finds 74 percent of respondents saying they are optimistic about their organization’s commitment to DEI. However, only 53 percent say DEI training is required, and 40 percent report their organization’s budget does not fund DEI. The enthusiasm for DEI exists, but the industry has a long way to go.
Female-led WE Communications has an enviable track record on gender diversity. Last week it named 20-year WE veteran Elizabeth Herrera Smith EVP and head of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We asked about ways PR can bolster its ethnic diversity and how small and mid-size communication shops can kickstart DEI.