In my video this week, I describe the study findings about workplace gender bias cited in a December 6, 2014 New York Times article by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg (“When talking about bias backfires”). The article offers fascinating insights for professional services marketing.
“. . . new research suggests that, if we’re not careful, making people aware of bias can backfire, leading them to discriminate more rather than less.” Sandberg and Grant write, “When we communicate that a vast majority of people hold some biases, we need to make sure we are not legitimizing prejudice . . . Instead, we need to communicate that these biases are undesirable and unacceptable.”
These points offer critical lessons for the function of professional services marketing. Professional services marketers in some cases legitimize a number of outmoded stereotypes when they talk about the biases held about the function. (I’m not even going to write them down. If you’re reading this post, you know what they are!)
But the old stereotypes are actually no longer even true. They are certainly no longer desirable.
I call on professional service marketers to be explicit about their disapproval of the old biases about professional services marketing. Instead, you must talk about the organizational benefits of overcoming outmoded perceptions.
“We want to see this [insert stereotype] vanish, and we know you do, too.”
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