Growing up as one of nine children on a farm in northwest Iowa and raised by adoptive parents who were white, I experienced first-hand how identity and ideas of beauty are shaped by what we see around us, the media we consume, and, sadly, the effects when these views lack diversity. Fast forward to today, where years later, in my role as P&G Beauty’s Vice President of Brands for our North America Hair Care business, I now have a platform to inspire change that can reshape how brand builders create and grow brands with equality and inclusion at their core – “baked in” versus “bolted on”. This is especially important as people, especially those who are young and diverse, are increasingly holding brands accountable for positive change, particularly in inclusivity. They want to know what a brand stands for and its values and beliefs. They want to not only know what they are buying, but what they are buying into. They want to see themselves represented in the brands and products they buy. They know brands have powerful platforms to make change happen, and they expect them to do so. Through my work, my mission has always been to acknowledge, empower, and elevate all that is beautiful about diversity by creating products and programs that celebrate and accelerate it.
The need for inclusive brands has been greatly amplified in the period of social unrest we have been experiencing over the past year. Amidst the unrest, many P&G Beauty brand builders felt compelled to speak up and show support through their brands. While born from passion and commitment, not all brands were in a position to speak with credibility. They hadn’t yet earned the right to enter the conversations that were being had - not a great place to be. As I saw brands struggling with how to approach this, I realized they needed some guidance and inspiration on how to start (or in some cases continue) their inclusivity journey. As I searched for a pragmatic way to bring this guidance to life, I kept coming back to four elements that really matter in brand building for inclusivity: Reach, Representation, Relevance and Resonance. And so, the 4R Framework was born. A simple but comprehensive tool that allows a brand of any size not only to assess where it is on its equality and inclusion (E&I) journey, but perhaps more importantly, to map out the path forward.
I refer to this work as a journey because it’s a continuous virtuous cycle of learning and action. There isn’t an end destination where we say our job is done because consumers and the world we live in are constantly evolving and changing. Brand leaders must be constant learners who are prepared and equipped to evolve with that change.
The 4R’s span every aspect of a brand’s operations: the brand’s purpose or ambition; the products it creates; where and how it connects with consumers; and the teams and agencies that bring it all to life. The framework can be applied to many consumer groups, depending on where the brand is choosing to focus, whether those consumers are Black, Asian, Latin X, Native American, LGBTQ+, or People with Disabilities.
For us at P&G Beauty, assessing our brands through the 4R Framework has led to a wealth of insights and learning that has in turn led to change. Brands like Gold Series by Pantene, Old Spice, Aussie, and Olay have all benefitted from focusing on the tenets of the 4Rs to increase, and in some cases step change, their relevance and resonance with diverse consumers through things like product design, more accurate representation, and sustained and meaningful action in support of diverse communities.
And while we are still learning ourselves, we believe the more brands and businesses that can meaningfully engage in supporting equality, the better our world will be. That’s why we are sharing the 4R Framework, and our related learning and insights, for anyone to use – any company, any brand, any industry.
I encourage brands to use the 4R framework to first assess where they are on the inclusivity journey, and from there, pick a place to start, take an action, be authentic about it, and then learn and keep on learning. Even small actions can create big effects over time. Our hope is that doing so will manifest even more positive change in the world – especially in the Beauty industry – than we at P&G Beauty can accomplish alone. For us, that’s what being a positive force for Beauty in the world is all about.
To find out more about the insights and drivers behind the 4Rs framework, please listen to a special podcast from Global Cosmetic News in which Lela Coffey is joined by Tiyales Hayes, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategy and Marketing at BET, and Dr Rolanda Wilkerson, Principal Scientist & Senior Manager of Scientific Communications in Beauty Care at P&G. Link to the podcast: : https://www.globalcosmeticsnews.com/diversity-beyond-numbers-a-mini-series-episode-1/
To learn more about P&G Beauty’s commitment to be a positive force for beauty in the world please visit https://us.pg.com/responsible-beauty/
Vice President of Brands, P&G North America Hair Care.