Know the Meaning of Inclusion? (Hint: It’s Not Just Diversity)

Lilly_Wyatt_700px.jpgby Diane Streleckis - Whether it’s connecting with customers or attracting and keeping the best employees, companies recognize the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their practices and communications.

But multiculture communication leader and Socios PR founder Lilly Cortes Wyatt finds that often, people in business miss one key point. “Inclusivity isn’t just about race or gender or sexual orientation. It’s about different worldviews, different backgrounds coming together to tell relevant and authentic stories,” she said.

Lilly Cortes Wyatt is a featured panelist in IABC Philadelphia’s packed line-up of DEI experts for its virtual half-day event on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET. Find out more about Empowering Voices and Breaking Barriers: An IABC Philadelphia Symposium

Wyatt shared more insights to help communication professionals achieve a vital goal—to reach the people for whom their messages are intended in a world where homogenization has long since passed its shelf life.

Build Trust Through Inclusive Messaging

“Inclusive communications build brand loyalty,” Wyatt said. “It drives purchasing decisions. It curates meaningful connections. It boosts an authentic and intimate connection.”

Create Representative Personas—and Do Your Research

Personas are a popular way to make messages more human and relatable to audiences. But when they’re not representative, they can hurt as well as help.

“So many times, I’ve seen marketing campaigns and rolled my eyes, thinking, ‘No, that is so stereotypical,’” Wyatt said. With Socios, “I set out to break the stereotype. I looked at myself (as a Latina) and thought about how I wanted to be portrayed.”

“We’re in a state of evolution,” said Wyatt. “Who are you trying to reach? Can you do a focus group? A survey?” Research-based personas that are as diverse and different as the audiences being targeted allow for more specific communications.

Have a Culturally Intelligent Team in Place

Assemble communication professionals from diverse backgrounds to craft messages. Hire partner firms with those diverse perspectives if necessary. Having diverse team members and partners allows you to “collaborate to build the fabric of multicultural communications. And that achieves more effective and powerful brand loyalty,” Wyatt said.

Don’t Just Translate, Trans-Adapt Language

Communication professionals know more than most that words matter. Their nuance must be respected. “Make it culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate,” Wyatt urged.

She shared that the inspiration to start her own firm came from a poorly translated English-to-Spanish translation for a community college, which she saw on the side of a bus. “The Spanish was so bad. So, I called the college’s communication department and said, ‘Who does your translations? I want to help you.’ And now they’re my client,” she said.

Recognize This Approach Is Not a Quick Fix

Getting the results inclusive communication can bring is more than simply checking a box. “It might be hard because people aren’t used to it,” Wyatt said. “But it’s the wave of the future. Nothing stays still.”