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Latest FleishmanHillard research finds Asia Pacific consumers care about DE&I

FleishmanHillard’s Research and Analytics practice, TRUE Global Intelligence™ has launched DE&I Decoded: APAC, a comprehensive report focused on Asia Pacific consumer perceptions and needs regarding diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).

The report showcases the need for organizations to drastically rethink the way they are engaging with stakeholders and provides a guide for brands that want to act more relevantly and authentically to meet the needs of stakeholders in the region.

“We’ve long known that DE&I is not a monolith in the Asia Pacific region, but with this new data we’ve gained the richest detail we’ve ever seen about what matters to which populations,” said Lynne Anne Davis, Asia Pacific regional president, FleishmanHillard. “From diversity of gender and religion to equity in important economic issues like housing and income, DE&I doesn’t look the same in any two markets in the region. It’s really important to understand these differences as a brand and as an employer to be able to deliver on these values with a range of stakeholder groups.”

Munavar Attari, managing director, FleishmanHillard India said, “DE&I consciousness is at the centre of organizations. Our research highlights that India has high familiarity with DE&I considering the country’s already diverse and culture of plurality. 

He added, "Majority of the respondents are enthusiastic to find initiatives that can enable transformations in their organisations as well as in communities where they operate. Top three areas that need to be addressed in India are educational inequalities, workplace harassment and freedom of belief.”

The DE&I Decoded: APAC research found:

  • DE&I is important in APAC. Definitions may differ by market, but APAC respondents expect topics, including race, ethnicity and gender to be a central consideration in all communications and business strategies. Fifty-one percent of respondents agreed in the importance of “making people with different backgrounds more included in society” versus only 11% who preferred to keep the current societal structures.

  • Economics are a major factor in facilitating change. Across Asia the population is active in advocacy, with 84% noting that they advocate for at least one issue. Economic issues including economic status, employment status and income top the list, followed by more commonly recognized DE&I topics like gender, social status / class, cultural background and religion.

  • Taking decisive action counts. Organizations taking actions on DE&I are being prioritized over those without commitments or plans in APAC today. Ninety-four percent of respondents cited at least one action that companies could take to showcase an authentic commitment to DE&I.

“What we saw in the data is a unique lexicon for DE&I that stakeholders across the business world, governments and beyond can use to build a more equitable and inclusive society,” said Leela Stake, FleishmanHillard FH4Inclusion lead and co-lead for the True MOSAIC DE&I practice. 

She added, “While the language used to discuss these topics differs, the need for change is high. Especially when it comes to the elements needed for all to build a better life – education, income and safety. We saw respondents actively taking a stand and pushing for change in these areas.”

Steps organizations need to take around DE&I in APAC:

  • Communicating about DE&I. APAC consumers (90%) expect companies to act and communicate about DE&I; however only 3% of respondents noted that they remember getting information on the topic from their employers.

  • Defining the strategy with actions and goals. Meaningful action starts with a plan and actionable goals. They can be modest to start, but require commitment, communication and transparency.

  • Prioritizing dialogue and education. Rather than one-way communication, organizations need to engage in conversation around DE&I topics and invest in additional training and education. Thirty-six percent of respondents expect employee training on the topic and 83% expect companies to have a DE&I leader.

  • Customizing communications by market. While there’s temptation to send a single communication, language used to discuss DE&I varies greatly by market. Communications and plans need to be tailored for each market and speak to the elements of their global DE&I strategy that resonate in that market.


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