Diversity Week 2012: Our Industry’s (Annual) Diversity Moment
Diversity is a critical component of today’s business landscape. The cable communications industry has been ahead of this curve for some time now, “walking the walk” each year with an internal and external commitment to this crucial business imperative. As huge proponents of diversity and inclusion, Scripps Networks Interactive was once again a proud supporter of our industry’s Diversity Week, which took place earlier this week in New York City.
Diversity Week 2012 kicked off Monday with the Women in Cable Telecommunications’ (WICT) Leadership Conference and Chelsea Clinton as its Opening Session keynote speaker. This year’s theme, “Connect > Engage > Transform,” provided a fantastic leadership development opportunity for cable professionals at all levels of their career journeys. As part of Monday’s lineup, HGTV General Manager Kathleen Finch, HGTV Host Genevieve Gorder (Dear Genevieve, HGTV Design Star) and Scripps Networks Interactive SVP of Corporate Communications, Cindy McConkey, served on panels highlighting leadership and rising female innovators.
On Tuesday, Scripps Networks Interactive Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Ken Lowe, was part of the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Cable’s (NAMIC) General Session kickoff panel titled, “Why Diversity Matters in Cable.” The session proved to be a harbinger of timely and relevant talking points delivered throughout the two-day conference.
Also delivering for conference guests were Cooking Channel General Manager, Michael Smith, and Scripps Networks Interactive EVP of Human Resources, Chris Powell, who served on panels highlighting diverse original programming and diversity for all industries. Not to be outdone was Cooking Channel Chef G. Garvin (Road Trip with G. Garvin), who was a featured guest at NAMIC’s L. Patrick Mellon Mentoring Luncheon.
My Diversity Week experience in 2012 mirrored that of 2011. As a marketer, I couldn’t help but find some specific takeaways from this year’s event that were a bit more consumer-focused:
1. Latinos’ increasing economic impact
Latinos possess a buying power of $1.3 trillion. They are expected to grow at a 142 percent rate between now and 2050 (vs. 42 percent for the rest of the population). And there are more now second- and third-generation Latinos that make up this group who, by the way, may not know Spanish. Marketers need to know this!
2. Cable’s new value proposition
Content distributors on new platforms (i.e. Netflix, YouTube, etc.) are gobbling up library programming once run on cable networks. As this trend increases, the creation of original programming will be cable nets’ new value proposition to consumers.
3. Say something nice or don’t say anything at all
There is a tremendous need for brands to market to and create programming for the African-American, Latino and Asian communities that positively reflects these groups and their respective cultural nuances. Properly-targeted programming will reap tremendous rewards for networks that do their homework.
Wrapping up this week’s festivities was the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual fundraising dinner Wednesday celebrating the achievements of organizations and individuals, and their commitment to diversity. It was an emphatic exclamation point to Diversity Week, reaffirming our need to ensure that who we are and what we do – across every platform we touch – continues to reflect our society’s mosaic landscape!
For more photos from Diversity Week, please click here.