In an ad campaign for a new bicycle, the bike company Pinarello used Instagram to promote their new product, an electric road bike. The ad implied that women needed an electric bike in order to keep up with their male counterparts. They received a lot of backlash from their followers about stereotyping women.
Pinarello is not the only company who has faced repercussions from ads and marketing campaigns that were racist or sexist. When we base our thoughts on stereotypes, we do not take into account the diverse viewpoints and life experiences of everyone, and therefore will end up offending an entire group of individuals, as Pinarello did. The pitfalls of not embracing diversity and not creating an environment of inclusion can have tremendous consequences. The E-Bike may have been a great product, but they will now be remembered for the ad instead of the bike they created. If their marketing team had been more diverse and included women, or if they had used a focus group of their targeted audience to test the ad, perhaps they would have seen that it was indeed sexist and could have chosen a new marketing strategy.
We can learn from the mistakes of others and recognize the significance of diverse teams. In technology transfer, creating diverse teams and appreciating the value diversity brings to those teams are of the utmost importance. If you want your company to appeal to a wide array of individuals and be representative of the larger population and the people you serve, you want to create teams of individuals with diverse backgrounds and ideas. This also leads to retention; people will stay with your company longer when they feel they are valued for the new ideas and perspectives they bring.
Learning from marketing teams and other companies who do not recognize the importance of diversity will help us become better companies that do recognize the importance and value of embracing diversity. When we embrace diversity, everyone wins.