How One Startup Is Trying to Bridge the Diversity Divide

As Americans continue a long-overdue reckoning with our treatment of minority populations, particularly African Americans, organizations are scrambling to reach out to more diverse audiences and talent. They want to (finally) do the right thing, but they aren’t sure where or how to look. After all, only 5% of the folks working in the advertising and PR sectors are black – how do you leverage a network to tap new talent when the network doesn’t exist? Listening holds the answer, and fortunately people are out there ready to help them do it. SwayBrand is on the cutting edge of that effort.

SwayBrand is an exclusive tech platform and marketplace that connects brands and agencies with our influencers: ambassadors from diverse cultures who are committed to particular causes and ideals. Combining influencer marketing with cause marketing by helping influencers and brands vet each other promises to help address a major issue: roughly a quarter of all deals fail because of poor brand ambassador selection. With influencer marketing growing to a nearly $10 billion slice of the marketing industry, this would be a valuable service in and of itself. But the benefits don’t stop there.

Working with influencers will inevitably help brands and agencies in their listening efforts, because it will greatly widen their frames of reference. Working with culturally diverse influencers means discovery of more trends, and earlier discovery of trends that will go mainstream. It means deeper insights about subcultures and market groups that they’d never have been able to discover or identify. And it means exposure to vast pools of new talent.

That last point is crucial for marketers as we move forward. Companies in the top quartile of executive diversity are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile. It feels good to do the right thing. It feels even better when doing the right thing is good for the bottom line. All those good feelings can be yours – if you’re ready to listen.

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