This article originally appeared on Nielsen.com.
Members of Nielsen’s Sustaining Active Black Leadership and Empowerment (SABLE) employee resource group spent the month of February in the community, in our offices and with our clients celebrating Black History Month. A key focus for the group this year was using insights from our 2018 report on Black consumers—From Consumers to Creators: The Online Lives of Black Consumers—to demonstrate the growth opportunity these consumers present for our clients, and the imperative facing businesses to hire African Americans, who are essential to a thriving business.
“An engaged African American associate community and visible Black leadership are absolutely essential to Nielsen’s sustainable growth,” said Lafayette Cope, SVP of Technology and Executive Sponsor of SABLE for Nielsen. “We’re in the business of measuring people, and that means our people must be reflective of the diversity we see around us. Twenty-one of the top 25 most populous counties in the U.S. are already majority multicultural. SABLE’s efforts help ensure we’re staying ahead of these trends, and can continue to provide winning solutions for our clients.”
Engaging our clients
Our SABLE leaders in New York celebrated Black History Month with an immersive event called “The Black Digital Experience.” Throughout the evening, guests explored the importance of understanding Black consumer behavior and how brands should authentically—and appropriately—engage with this community.
Andrew McCaskill, Nielsen’s SVP, Global Communications and Multicultural Marketing, began the evening with a presentation that leveraged insights from our From Consumers to Creators report. He demonstrated that, in order for companies to win with the general market, they must also win with African Americans, who wield $1.2 trillion in annual buying power.
Mia Scott-Aime, VP, Communications at Nielsen, led panelists TJ Adeshola, (Twitter), Michael Smith, (Michael Smith Media, LLC) and Naima Cochrane (Music Sermon) in a discussion about how companies can seize this opportunity by reaching out to Black consumers in culturally authentic ways. The panel contextualized Nielsen data with third-party perspective, providing actionable insights for attendees.
Engaging our associates
Several SABLE events also focused on increasing our internal associates’ awareness of the business case for diversity and inclusion.
SABLE leaders from our Global Technology & Innovation Center (GTIC) in Oldsmar, Fla., hosted a conversation with Chief Information Officer Kim Anstett. Kim, who was joined by Lafayette, talked about how a diverse workforce brings value and is necessary for a thriving and innovative business. She encouraged those in attendance to actively seek out voices and opinions different than their own in their decision-making processes. In an increasingly diverse U.S. population, which is expected to be a majority multicultural by 2044, talent that represents the world around us is essential.
Other events around the country focused on celebrating the achievements of Black Nielsen associates and the legacies of African American civil leaders, and driving engagement in our overall diversity and inclusion strategy. SABLE fosters engagement through internal events like these to drive greater retention of our diverse associates. The only way we can continue to provide our clients with a view of what’s next is if our workforce is reflective of the increasingly diverse world around us.
Engaging our communities
SABLE also took their message of Black empowerment to their communities across the country.
Associates in our Emeryville, Calif., office hosted a group of high school students from Oakland Tech for a primer on what we do, practical technology projects and career counsel from our engineers and tech professionals. The event galvanized student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, which will help prepare them for a job market that demands STEM skills. Students also interacted with diverse professionals, who are historically underrepresented in STEM fields. In fact, according to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, only 7.7% of scientists and engineers employed full-time are Black. Nielsen, as a company chock-full of STEM experts, has a responsibility to increase diversity in these fields. SABLE’s Oakland Tech visit, along with several other engagements prove our commitment to fulfilling that responsibility.
Our SABLE associates in New York also supported the careers of diverse students in STEM fields by hosting a group of students from Howard University. Students networked had a candid conversation with a group of our African American leaders after learning about Nielsen’s capabilities and commitment to telling African American consumer stories.