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Marketing Daily reports on new research from analytics company GWI suggesting that "while corporate America may be lost in the weeds about the best ways to further diversity, equity and inclusion goals, consumers think they are headed in the right direction."

According to the story, the research shows that "70% of Americans say DEI is important. Of those, 81% say such efforts matter, helping to provide fair and equal opportunities.

"Racism, however, is relatively low on the list of concerns, ranking 10th, following issues like domestic violence, poverty, healthcare reform, and access to mental health help. Only 42% named anti-racism efforts.

"Predictably, the study finds considerable shifts by generation. Gen Z, the youngest cohort, is most concerned about DEI and is twice as likely as other groups to cite anti-racism and trans rights as important social issues. They are also the most activist, with 60% saying protesting injustice is essential.

"For millennials, reproductive rights, including access to abortion, is the top issue. Gen X consumers say they are more concerned with LGBTQIA+ Pride. And baby boomers are worried most about ageism."

The story also says that "while people want companies and brands to do more, there are still massive gaps in understanding, with 37% of the sample saying they themselves aren’t taking any practical steps to address social issues. When they have, those actions include educating themselves (40%), supporting diverse businesses (27%), educating others, including family and friends (25%), or engaging with brands and organizations on social media (13%)."

KC's View:

One of the problems with DEI is that much of the discussion about the issue, at least in certain quarters, seems to position it as a kind of charity or distraction - not a core business strategy that looks to broaden the base of employees and customers.  The fact is that businesses have to exist within a cultural framework, and to a growing degree, customers want them to be conscious of context.

One other thing that occurs to me:

Baby boomers often criticize younger people for being self-obsessed, which I think is funny considering that this study concludes that the DEI-related issue about which they are most concerned is ageism.  Really?  Because while I don't want to be discriminated against because of my age, and certainly think I have plenty of gas left in the tank and can contribute to the cultural and business dialogue (hence MNB!), I hardly think that's the most pressing DEI-related issue.