United States-based diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultancy Flexability enlisted the services of Flow Communications to help it build its brand presence and its business online.
The challenge with Flexability was to elevate the firm’s presence in the somewhat crowded DEI space, and position it as a thought leader in this sphere.
The work Flexability does in encouraging employers to nurture more equitable and inclusive workplaces – building understanding among employees for the lived experiences of women, persons with disabilities, immigrants, the LGBTQIA+ community, and so on – is incredibly important. Yet often, it remains unseen.
A brand audit by Flow concluded that Flexability could cement its authority in the DEI arena by more carefully curating its social media presence, anchored by strong thought leadership pieces in the form of blog posts on its website and LinkedIn articles linking back to the site. This enhanced online presence would also contribute towards its business objectives of growing the consultancy arm of the firm.
Key to this strategy was a strong focus on compelling, thought-provoking content published by Flexability executives, authored and curated by Flow. This was to position them not only as authorities in the workplace equity space, but also to show the human side of diversity by showcasing their individual stories and journeys.
Simultaneously, this would highlight Flexability staff as empathetic, three-dimensional human beings who understand prejudice and unconscious bias, and who try to find constructive solutions for workplaces to become great, productive places to work, underpinned by mutual respect.
The #MyAbility content marketing strategy was driven by a strong focus on blog posts, published on the Flexability website, as well as LinkedIn blog articles, targeting a professional audience.
Flexability’s mission is to build diverse, dynamic and productive working environments. With the tagline “changing the world by changing workplaces”, Flexability helps companies and organisations foster an inclusive mindset among their employees.
Its goal is to encourage employers to take a look at their company culture and implement policies that help to attract and retain excellent people, who feel safe and content in a space where they can be their “full selves”.
Flow Communications, based in South Africa but with the agility and ability to work around the globe, was brought on board to help position Flexability as thought leaders in the DEI space in the US.
Flow, as the winner of several awards in the content marketing and blogging space, suggested the strategic use of blogs as an effective way to get the voices of key Flexability people into the public discourse, while also educating and informing the public about issues relating to diversity.
The #MyAbility blog series would profile Flexability thought leaders and see them igniting topical conversations in the diversity space based on their personal experiences, thereby positioning them as DEI authorities and as relatable professionals, while helping to grow their business.
The #MyAbility campaign’s objectives were as follows:
To position key Flexability staff as thought leaders by profiling their personal experiences of diversity and inclusion
To create quality, topical long-form content about diversity in the form of articles and blogs
To use social media, particularly LinkedIn, to spread the word about these blog posts dealing with diversity and inclusion, and attract engagement
To spark conversations online through blog content shared on LinkedIn
To grow Flexability’s LinkedIn following through #MyAbility content, among other types of posts
Campaign target market
The awareness campaign was targeted chiefly at the business-to-business (B2B) market in the US – Flexability does not aim for prominence in the consumer space as it obtains most of its consultancy work through B2B leads.
Hence, the “hero” social media platform for disseminating the articles and linking to the blog content was determined to be LinkedIn, with its professional audience demographic.
We wanted to target professionals and decision-makers in the DEI space, to spread the word about Flexability’s services, to position the company as a credible thought leader with them, and to grow business.
One of the strategic considerations was that people – and businesses – do not like to be “preached” to when it comes to their workplace practices. For this reason, a series of didactic blogs (“this is what you should be doing to improve your workplace culture”) spoken from a lofty moral perch would not work.
Instead, we had to approach the blogs from the perspective of ordinary people sharing everyday experiences of race, gender, representation and identity to broaden understanding and let others know they are not alone in their challenges and struggles.
It was hoped that through the sharing of knowledge and personal insights, people would feel empowered to make positive changes in their attitudes – and their workplaces.
The content also had to have an uplifting message and payoff – hence the #MyAbility tag, focusing on the positive, unique and rich elements that each diverse individual brings to a team, instead of their (outward) differences. So, the approach was to humanise DEI through these personal stories.
Working closely with Flexability staff, Flow’s skilled team of writers (many of whom have extensive journalism backgrounds) set to work, conducting research and interviews, and writing a series of quality blogs for the Flexability website.
These articles were supplemented by eye-catching designed graphics designed by Flow, illustrating the concepts discussed and incorporating the Flexability staff and key quotes/take-outs, to gain maximum impact on social media and draw in readers.
Flexability staff spoke candidly and passionately about their personal experiences of feeling like an outsider, such as learning to cope with learning and physical disabilities – and even “invisible disabilities” such as ADHD – as well racism, gender disparities and other forms of exclusion.
While describing their own diversity journeys, and those of others, they offered inspiring insights about discovering their own “superpowers”. The result was a richly nuanced and thought-provoking series of compelling reads, highlighting the importance of empathy and compassion in the workplace – and in everyday settings.
#MyAbility blog topics included:
With about 20 #MyAbility blogs being published on the Flexability website, the following results were achieved:
More than 6 000 #MyAbility blog visits during the campaign period
From June 2021 to June 2022, opinion pieces accounted for 11% of Flexability website traffic and were instrumental in driving people to the Flexability site
Most of the blog traffic was redirected from LinkedIn, where Flexability shares thought leadership
Flexability reported its best ever business results in the same period as the campaign ran
The results show that the #MyAbility blog series had a marked impact on awareness of Flexability’s offerings, with the uptick in web traffic directly attributed to the use of topical opinion pieces as an entry point to exploring the firm’s consultancy offerings. More importantly, vital issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (particularly in the workplace) were humanised and presented in a format that was easy to read and relate to, as well as being informative.