CMO Momentum: How unconscious bias and stereotyping is costing marketers money and customers

Dr Jennifer Whelan speaks at CMO Momentum


So, how can we think more inclusively, both within an organisation, and also to better represent a brand? Whelan stressed the heart, head, and habits idea.

“Heart is about getting a better understanding of the lived experience of someone who is different to you. It’s a broadening of perspective for a culture of inclusion in the organisation, but also for a richer, more in-depth view your customers.

“Head is really a set of critical thinking tools and skills to help de-bias our decision making. Tools like using a devil’s advocate, consulting dissenters, and hypothesis testing are very important.

“Habits are behavioural nudges or an elbow in the ribs. We know we are much more likely to be successful in forming a new habit if we break it down into smaller things you do a lot. Repetition is the key to habit change. So, small tweaks to things you do every day to create an inclusive environment.”

Of course, Whelan said the biggest challenge when it comes to creating an inclusive culture is time, and a lack of time prevents organisation from doing inclusion properly.

“The irony is, you are much more likely to be in unconscious autopilot mode when you are under time pressure. And stress also leaves you at the mercy of the unconscious brain. There’s never a time when you have all the time in the world do to this. But we can priorities inclusiveness, make small wins, stop doing things a certain way, and think about the compelling case of why we should do it, which is it’s better for the bottom line, and better for your organisation and customers.”

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