By Nicole Thomas, Associate Director – Global Insights Lead
No company wants to offend consumers with its advertising. Yet, we’ve all seen the headlines when it’s happened.
Of course, the offense is always unintentional, leaving many of us wondering: Didn’t the company seek input from people with differing perspectives? All too often, the answer is no or not enough. Maybe the teams behind these campaigns lacked a multicultural point of view. Or maybe people on the team didn’t feel safe and empowered to share a differing opinion during the creative or approval processes. Either way, this makes companies susceptible to blind-spots and to unconscious bias showing up in their consumer-facing efforts.
Why does this matter? It matters because if a brand gets it wrong, the consequences are real.
Millions of dollars lost. Thousands of hours wasted. Strong brand equities now stained. And most importantly, some consumers have abandoned these brands.
Today more than ever, consumers hold brands to a higher standard. We expect brands to be culturally sensitive. We expect them to be inclusive. We expect them to reflect our ideals. And when they don’t, we purchase elsewhere.
How ABLE is setting a new standard for ERGs supporting businesses
Clorox isn’t yet perfect at this, but we strive to be. And our people are helping to make us better.
Last year, ABLE, Clorox’s African-American employee resource group (ERG), created a Business Insights Committee (BIC). The BIC has directly partnered with four Clorox brands: Clorox, Pine-Sol, Kingsford and Burt’s Bees. As a result of this ongoing effort, the BIC has amplified the growth trajectory for these brands.
We did this by proactively educating our employees and creative agencies about African-American culture, providing insights, feedback and ideas to improve relevancy in the African-American community. For example, the BIC worked closely with the Pine-Sol® team on strategic, creative, music and casting choices as it developed its new “Clean. Your Way.” campaign.
ABLE BIC is delivering on its mission to be a consistent resource for Insights to drive Clorox’s growth with African-American consumers. We offer access to ABLE’s community for quick-turn surveys, reviews or feedback on ideas to target African-American consumers.
Our goal is to help Clorox employees become even more culturally savvy. This will help us make better, more inclusive choices in our advertising so our brands can thrive among rapidly changing demographics and achieve good growth that’s profitable, sustainable and responsible.
The value of ERGs
All are active in fostering community, helping diverse voices be heard, hosting events inside and outside Clorox locations and developing Clorox people.
Here are some recent stories about culture- and capability-building efforts by other Clorox ERGs, including SHOW (women), VetNet (veterans) and Pride (LGBTQ employees and allies):