Diversity is important to achieving a more resilient, vibrant economy. It helps companies increase profits and innovation. It’s not just about attracting a mix of employees. It also means penetrating untapped markets and doing business with diverse suppliers who are agile, cost-effective, and provide innovations to meet the needs of corporations better and to serve their customers better.
During the past five to eight years, diversity has become one of the top five strategic imperatives for every CEO running a large corporation, according to Robyn Streisand, founder and CEO of The Mixx and Titanium Worldwide.
Streisand started her own graphic design firm, The Mixx in 1996 when her employer for 10 years moved to Long Island City from Manhattan.
After a few years, the company evolved from a graphic design studio to a creative services agency. However, making the transition from print to digital was painful because “None of my creatives knew anything about digital,” said Streisand. She “overcame the challenge by changing some of the team and bringing in resources that were digital savvy.”
Streisand realized the benefits of diverse certification from various business development and third-party certifier organizations for women, minorities, veterans and other groups.
She’s also taken the time to learn how to leverage her certification. “It was like going back to school,” she said. But it was worth the time. “I got opportunities that I might not have ever gotten before … It’s become a key differentiator for my company.”
Her company was getting accolades from clients for the higher quality work it did compared to conglomerate agencies and she started receiving requests for proposals (RFPs) for much larger-scale projects. However because she had only a boutique agency with 20 employees, they were not asked to do bigger projects.
Streisand then decided to have the capability to offer anything that a large company can by organizing a best-in-class network of diverse, independent agencies with expertise across multi-disciplinary fields, using one point of contact. She had a rigorous selection and vetting process to ensure quality and cultural fit. Importantly, the agencies had to work collaboratively and not competitively. Titanium Worldwide was born five years ago to compete more efficiently and effectively for large-scale opportunities against major agencies and holding companies.
While it does not have a global presence yet, Titanium Worldwide is signing business and has attracted very senior procurement executives to its advisory board. Clients understand the unique value Titanium brings.
The large companies have a significant role to play in helping small businesses grow. At the same time, small businesses should be able to help large companies become agile, innovative, and responsive to changes in the market.