Marketers should double down on efforts to boost diversity and inclusion in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, according to Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, the FMCG manufacturer.

Past crises – be it an economic crunch, a war, or a pandemic – have demonstrated that efforts to address these critical issues frequently “take a step back,” he argued.

“That’s what we’re very worried about right now,” Pritchard told the 2020 Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Summit held online by Adweek, the trade title. (Fore more, read WARC’s report: P&G’s Pritchard calls on brands to prioritize diversity and inclusion in a crisis.)

“The people who are the most vulnerable – the most marginalised, the people who have been historically discriminated against – tend to have suffered disproportionately during these times of crisis. We also see rises in in racism and hate crimes and those kinds of things.

“And what’s so distressing about it is that the very people who are marginalised and discriminated against are those who are on the frontlines, who are keeping this country going – [and] keeping the world going for that matter.”

P&G’s initial response to COVID-19 was to serve the “broader needs” it could help resolve, with 30 brands donating products in some 30 nations, its brand chief reported.

“But we recognised very quickly that there were many families and communities in need that don’t have access to the most basic products in terms of the kind of household-cleaning products and other kinds of products,” Pritchard said.

P&G has thus worked with a variety of non-governmental organisations and relief agencies to help vulnerable communities, as well as sponsoring events that raise money with this same goal in mind.

Another example is a joint effort from the We Are All Human Foundation, an advocacy group, and companies like PepsiCo, IBM and P&G on “Hispanic Star Month of Action”.

This programme aims to support Hispanics affected by COVID-19, and is coupling donations with volunteering and information sharing.

Another case in point involves highlighting the gender disparities that have been further exaggerated by the COVID-19 crisis: “We’re focusing on something with Time magazine very soon on inequality with women,” Pritchard said.

“The fact is that women have the double jeopardy of inequality at work and then inequality at home. What we’ve seen is this instinctive snap back to women doing more of the home duties, and home-schooling, which makes it a disproportionate effect.”

Sourced from WARC