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Reframing Diversity: Changing the Diversity and Gender Stereotypes Conversation (Stylus Trends Day 2018, London)

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Diversity remains to be a big issue in business, organisations and branding today. It is primarily because the very essence and meaning of Diversity have been misunderstood and misinterpreted with the dominant meaning of Diversity becoming synonymous with inclusion and organisational policy. Diversity is a much bigger conversation in business and society, however. It is the very backbone of Humanity. In order to unlock the true value of Diversity in business and society equally, we need to reframe the Diversity conversation and offer more (diversified) angles on how to look and understand its full potential. Diversity doesn't only concern inclusion and social representation but also value creation, creativity, culture and business strategy all leading to a meaningful and sustainable growth. In the new world, Diversity is an asset to be maximised, not a liability to be minimised and tolerated. Businesses and brands need to adapt to this mindset to fully utilise Diversity in its essence.

This presentation was prepared for an expert roundtable talk at Stylus Innovation + Research Advisory in London, May 2018.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Reframing Diversity: Changing the Diversity and Gender Stereotypes Conversation (Stylus Trends Day 2018, London)

  1. 1. PhDr. Martina Olbertova, Founder & CEO, Meaning.Global Reframing the Diversity and Gender Stereotypes conversation Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova @MartinaOlb
  2. 2. © Martina Olbertova 2017 2 Confidential material HELLO. My name is Martina Olbertova. I am a Global Brand and Cultural Strategist and Founder of Meaning.Global, a strategic brand consultancy powered entirely by meaning. Meaning is the inner compass every brand and organisation needs in order to navigate their vision and strategy. It is the most valuable asset that a business or a brand can ever strive to create as when brands don’t make sense, they can’t hold value. And yet, meaning remains to be the most understated value in business to date. My aim is to help brand owners, CMOs and CEOs rebuild their brands from the inside out, rejuvenate brand value and instill a new cultural relevance to boost brand equity. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  3. 3. Meaning.Global| Credentials | January 2018 © Martina Olbertova 2017 3 Confidential material meaning.global! : Helping global brands create, articulate and scale sense and meaning across the markets worldwide. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  4. 4. Confidential material WHAT DOES IT MEAN? This Is The One Question At The Core Of Everything That We Do – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  5. 5. What Diversity means – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  6. 6. Definition of Diversity – •  The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. •  It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. •  It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. •  It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. Source: http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~asuomca/diversityinit/definition.html Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  7. 7. •  Two-way stream of communication vs. top-down hierarchy of global planning •  Crisis of traditional globalised values (West) vs. authenticity / diversity / humanity •  Tension of global vs. local with an increasing importance of local markets •  Pressure on cultural relevance in delivering sustainable brand and business value •  Inability to systematically create cultural relevance stunts value creation & growth The world has changed. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  8. 8. Globalisation and homogenisation are no longer relevant mechanisms for brand management, value creation & growth. We use top-down approach to global brand development, planning and management in an interconnected world whose very relevance is driven by diversity, local resonance and cultural nuances. THE RULES OF INTERCONNECTED WORLD Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  9. 9. •  Humans are developing faster than organisations can catch up with. Due to this acceleration of change, many orgs today are no longer fit for purpose. •  Top-down organisational culture doesn’t work properly anymore as new more opened, collaborative and divergently thinking generations are entering workforce. Leadership is replacing former principle of Bosses based on control and gatekeeping of information. Empowerment is replacing power. •  Moreover, there’s an increasing pressure on accurate social representation to mirror the state of our current reality & open up a pool of available identities. •  Diversity is extremely important not only to people to lead meaningful and authentic lives but also to organisations as a vital self-organising principle. Embracing diversity is key to creating a balanced well-performing business. Why is Diversity important today – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  10. 10. •  These changing world dynamics call for a serious discussion about the very essence of Diversity: –  what Diversity really means and why it’s important –  what it should mean in its many ways of social & commercial expression –  how it should be used to maximise value for businesses, organisations and brands, as well as societies as a whole •  To create a more inclusive society, and not just business or marketing, we need to reframe the Diversity conversation and and understand the many expressions it has in our everyday lives. •  Interestingly, the Gender Stereotypes debate is directly tied to the Diversity debate because the lack diversity in portrayal of humanity leads to stereotyping. These two debates are two sides of the same coin. Reframing the fundamental role of Diversity in our world – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  11. 11. Five key lenses on Diversity in the society, business and marketing – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  12. 12. Diversity as Humanity – The Natural State of Things 1 Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  13. 13. 1•  Diversity is Humanity. It is the natural state of things. Diversity is all of us together – we all are different but essentially all the same. •  In an ideal world, none of this would matter. We wouldn’t even need to talk about diversity because it would be obvious that it’s normal. •  Due to the deepened divide in social representation in media and organisations, we need to talk about it and it is a legitimate issue to fix. Humanity in the corporate world has been flattened and homogenised. That’s why we have a problem with Diversity. •  Diversity is a key to Humanising Businesses and aligning them with the underlining principles of Humanity to flourish in the 21st century. For this to happen, we need to change the ways in which organisations operate from the inside out to have a fundamental respect for Humanity. The Human angle of Diversity Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  14. 14. Diversity is Humanity – we all are different but essentialy are the same Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  15. 15. KEY Q: ARE MARKETS MACHINES, OR LIVING SELF-EVOLVING ORGANISMS? vs We have become accustomed to see markets and manage organisations as machines. This point of view creates siloes and fragments value creation. But what if they’re really more of living self-evolving organisms? Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  16. 16. versus The Old vs New World Paradigm tensions – - NEW WORLD LOGIC - •  Bottom-up approach •  Self-organization •  Custom-made production •  Individualized value •  Physical AND cognitive diversity •  Inclusion by respecting Diversity •  Embracing Change as means to re- create the status quo •  Horizontal (portfolio) careers •  Leaders and followers •  Intrinsic motivation •  Respect to be given naturally •  Being in control and empowered •  Work / Life Balance - OLD WORLD LOGIC - •  Top-down approach •  Command & Control •  Mass production •  Homogenized value •  Physical diversity •  Inclusion by Integration •  Embracing Stability as means to conserving status quo •  Vertical (ladder) careers •  Bosses and subordinates •  External motivation •  Respect to be earned hard way •  Being controlled and overpowered •  Work / Life Compromise Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  17. 17. Two main organisational models today – ‘OLD’ ORG ‘NEW’ ORG Organic cultureSilo culture Command & Control | Push mindset | Boss exercising power through obedience Personal Empowerment | Pull mindset | Leadership making impact through a cause D&I is a patch solution to a systemic problem, where the very culture disables true diversity. Diversity needs to be contextualised to be truly embraced by orgs. Humanity moves this way Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  18. 18. •  D&I needs to become synonymous with Humanity and Humanisation of Businesses. •  Not just a debate topic on ‘How to better portray Diversity’ •  Diversity needs to inform and redefine the very structures and operation models of businesses to allow organisations to ‘Be more diverse’ •  Then the Diversity can happen almost as a by-product of this systemic holistic change in the business operations model. Diversity needs to become Business Humanisation – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  19. 19. 2 Diversity as Value Creation – Co-Creating a Better Future World Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  20. 20. 2•  Diversity isn’t only physical but also cognitive. •  Physical diversity is about inclusion and equality of social representation. Cognitive diversity (the intrinsic) is primary to value creation. •  Cognitive diversity (different mindsets, thinking styles, abilities, individual strengths) is where the true magic is hidden for businesses. This diversity helps organisations increase engagement, collaboration and creativity. •  Diversity will be strongest and most impactful when both types come together and create organisations that best represent societal diversity while allowing people to be their whole selves at work. •  Physical without cognitive can lead to quotas and token (simulated) diversity. •  Cognitive without physical can lead to invisible diversity that is hard to sustain. The Value Creation angle of Diversity Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  21. 21. Visible features of race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, education Conserving status quo (‘push model‘) Outside-in approach to diversity Solution by formal appearance Problem: Can think the same way Invisible features of brain wiring, neuro- diversity, thinking styles, backgrounds Re-creating status quo (‘pull model‘) Inside-out approach to diversity Solution by divergence of thinking Problem: Can look the same way visibly CognitivePhysical Two Key Forms of Diversity – they both are important: Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  22. 22. Source: The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence (Deloitte) The Changing Generational View of D&I – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  23. 23. The Changing Generational View of D&I – Diversity Individual mix of unique experiences, identities, ideas, and opinions Inclusion Teaming, valuing a culture of connect- ivity, and using collaborative tools to drive business impact, driving inspiration from differences Older generation mindset: MINIMISING LIABILITY Younger generation mindset: MAXIMISING ASSET Diversity Demographics, equal opportunity and representation of identifiable demo- graphic characteristics Inclusion Equity, fairness, integration, accep- tance, tolerance of gender, racial and ethnic diversity within the organization Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova Source: The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence (Deloitte)
  24. 24. D&I’s usual take on diversity is physical – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova But this is NOT DIVERSITY. This is a NON-UNIFORMITY which is a BIG qualitative difference!
  25. 25. Diversity (natural differentiation) non-Diversity (natural sameness) The Semiotic Dimensions of Physical Diversity – Doesn’t look like diversity but is diversity Looks like diversity, is diversity Uniformity (orchestrated sameness) Doesn’t look like diversity and isn’t diversity non-Uniformity (orchestrated differentiation) Looks like diversity but isn’t truly diversity Contrary relationship Contrary relationship Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  26. 26. •  When it comes to business and value creation, Diversity & Inclusion are not actually the issues to solve. •  Uniformity and organisations being out of touch with society and the evolution of culture is the real problem in the corporate business world today. •  That’s why we need to redefine what diversity means to create better future for business, as well as people. Organisational D&I needs a major reframe – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  27. 27. The solution to diversity in organisations might be to hire people in groups. This will naturally make you aim for diversity. Hiring individuals will always make you choose candidates closer to the norm. If you hire more people at once, you’ll get more variety as you’ll incline towards choosing different types of people. ~ Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman @ Ogilvy UK Diversity in HR Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  28. 28. 3 Diversity as Inclusion – The Social Representation & The End of Stereotypes Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  29. 29. 3•  Diverse representation inspires creation of new identities and widens the pool of social roles available which translates directly into human aspiration and pursuing individual goals in life. •  New role models, diversifying the society, stretching it from the inside out •  Implications for a radical acceptance, self-love and social belonging: More positive body image, inclusion increases relative happiness •  Opening up the gender from the rigid binary dimensions of traditional masculinity and femininity (a bossy woman who has passion and natural leadership abilities / a weak man showing his emotional vulnerability) •  We need the inclusion of the feminine principle (soft skills, collaboration, communication, harmony) as an opposite of male principle dominance in the corporate world (hard skills, competition, gatekeeping, confrontation) The Inclusion and Representation Angle of Diversity Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  30. 30. Unilever Launched Unstereotype Alliance in 2017 •  Unstereotype Alliance set to eradicate outdated stereotypes in advertising was launched at Cannes Festival in 2017 •  Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women says: “Stereotypes reflect deep-rooted ideas of femininity and masculinity. Negative, diminished conceptions of women and girls are one of the greatest barriers for gender equality and we need to tackle and change those images wherever they appear. Advertising is a particularly powerful driver to change perceptions and impact social norms. UN Women is excited to partner with the foremost industry shapers in this Alliance to challenge and advance the ways women are represented in this field.” •  Kathleen Hall, CVP Brand, Advertising and Research, Microsoft, adds: “Advertising is a reflection of culture and sometimes can be ahead of the curve and help effect change. We are proud to be a founding member of this UN sponsored initiative to ‘unstereotype’ through the power and breadth of our messaging. We are all in.” Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  31. 31. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova UNILEVER (DOVE): REDEFINING FEMININITY / ‘REAL BEAUTY’ A progressive view of femininity based on cultural diversity and a diverse body image.
  32. 32. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova A progressive view of femininity and beauty based on cultural, age and racial diversity. UNILEVER (DOVE): REDEFINING FEMININITY / ‘REAL BEAUTY’
  33. 33. TRADITIONAL MASCULINITY non-traditional non-masculine traditional masculine non-traditional masculine traditional non-masculine ‘THE NEW MAN’ can be see as problematic as it’s traditionally unmanly EFFEMINITE/SOFT MASCULINITY CULTURALLY PROGRESSIVE …GENDER CODES ARE DEVELOPING DIFFERENTLY ACROSS CULTURES – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova There are different benchmarks of cultural relevance in different cultural contexts around the world.
  34. 34. Radical acceptance of human imperfection is not necessarily on the radar of all countries from an evolutionarily standpoint. Physical beauty is still seen as an aspirational feminine value. TRADITIONAL FEMININE BEAUTY CULTURALLY PROGRESSIVE MASCULINE / ANDROGYNOUS FEMINIITY‘THE SUPERWOMAN’ unisex The non- traditionally feminine women can be see as problematic as it’s traditionally unfeminine Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova …GENDER CODES ARE DEVELOPING DIFFERENTLY ACROSS CULTURES –
  35. 35. 4 Diversity as Creativity – Power of Divergent Thinking Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  36. 36. 4•  Diversity drives Creativity. Diversity is the core of innovation. Cognitive diversity is the core resource for creativity, both individual and collective. •  Divergent thinking actively uses diversity of outcome to create new inspiring ideas and approaches for the development of new concepts, ideas, solutions. •  Neurodiversity is the diversity conversation waiting to happen yet. We all are the same as humans, but we all are wired differently. Neurodiversity is the secret weapon behind cognitive diversity. •  Neurodiversity makes people more creative because they think in non- apparent ways. Their thinking is naturally divergent because it breaks the norm. We need to incorporate more of the non-apparent ways of thinking to create new value in the future and break the social taboo. The Creativity Angle of Diversity Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  37. 37. Creativity was named the #1 business skill for the future of value creation. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 Creativity will be the third most important skill in the entire world of work. The 2010 Global IBM report cited Creativity to be the most important leadership quality for the future CEOs. Source: https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/31670.wss Creativity the #1 Skill to Lead Business Change – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  38. 38. Human brain is malleable. Neuroplasticity of the human brain makes it possible to learn, unlearn and relearn. By actively rewiring your brain circuitry, you can train your brain to start thinking in different and creative ways. Neuroplasticity empowers Creativity Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  39. 39. Human perception is created through the synaptic connections in our brain. People are the ultimate pattern recognition machines. Our cognition, observations and reality are built on patterns of mental connections. Confidential material Diversity is embedded in the ways we think – Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  40. 40. Meaning.Global| Credentials | January 2018 © Martina Olbertova 2017 40 Confidential material The ways in which we make meaning in naturally diverse – Brand patterns mimic the human synapses in the brain. This is how brands create networks of mental associations in our minds. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  41. 41. Meaning.Global| Credentials | January 2018 © Martina Olbertova 2017 41 Confidential material THE #1 TASK FOR MARKETERS “Create mental chains of brand connotations in people’s minds.” Diversity naturally powers value from the inside out. Meaning is the most valuable asset for brands to create to respect how humans create value. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  42. 42. 5 Diversity as Culture – The Cultural Relevance Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  43. 43. 5•  Diversity is the core inherent principle of culture. •  Diversity of perception stands at the core of semiotics and cultural intelligence. •  Without understanding the systemic nature of culture and its dynamic mechanisms, it’s not difficult to be offensive and culturally insensitive when it comes to diversity. We’ve seen many cases of that recently. •  The reason why this happens so often is a complete lack of knowledge of how culture works and what is the essence of Humanity that brands should effectively mirror to create cultural relevance. •  Cultural relevance is quickly becoming the core product of brands in the 21st century. The ability to be ‘on culture’ is key to brand valuation. The Cultural Relevance Angle of Diversity Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  44. 44. Maltesers disability campaign most successful in a decade “Cultural relevance, meaning accurately portraying human diversity, is key and it directly feeds into boosting brand valuation and equity.” Elevating lived experiences, diversity as natural, mirroring culture Adidas 2017 Calling All Creators led to boost of brand valuation by 58% and annual jump in sales of 20% Nike’s Nothing Beats a Londoner portrays diversity of London as the natural part of life Diversity in Advertising – successful campaigns Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  45. 45. Pepsi Kendal Jenner ad in its failed attempt to cannibalise the global message of Unity and Diversity. Cannibalising on culture for profit, shallow thinking and a vague execution, emulating token diversity with no real authentic or granular meaning behind Puma’s House Hustle faced a serious backlash for glamourizing poverty and drug-dealing culture Both H&M and Dove faced a wide backlash on the social media for racial and gender insensitivity. Diversity in Advertising – unsuccessful campaigns Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova
  46. 46. Stylus roundtable | 10 May 2018 meaning.global PhDr. Martina Olbertova PhDr. Martina Olbertova Founder and CEO, Meaning.Global E info@martinaolbertova.com W meaning.global THANK YOU.! @MartinaOlb

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