Corporate presence: designing a gender inclusive brand

This week, Patrycja discusses the role and benefits of building a gender inclusive brand. It is not enough to focus on internal processes, policy and behavioral shifts, companies need also to take into account how they are perceived internally to retain their talents.

By Patrycja Riera, CEO, Inclusionem

Aligning corporate goals to brand strategy

We don’t often think of how the public face of an organization should be part of the diversity and inclusion efforts.

Too often we see images, language and symbols that show gender imbalance and lack of inclusion. 

And, the messages we communicate project what’s happening inside, and often show that organizations must improve their thinking process and execution.

We already know the business case for diversity and inclusion, but there is also a convincing brand business case that companies cannot afford to ignore anymore. Today we must be very intentional in crafting messages that project externally what is being done internally.

brand identity

Five pillars of a gender inclusive brand

External presence

  • Create an external presence with a focus on current but also future employees, partners or consumers.
  • Promote the visibility and portrayal of women in your branding materials challenging stereotypes and historic gender imbalance. 
  • Reflect your gender equality goals in your commercial arrangements, partnerships and shared activities.
  • Encourage and support your partners and suppliers who are on a similar mission.

Questions: Does your language, imagery and tone express a gender inclusive brand? Are you engaging women in the communication of who you are and aspire to be? Does your brand represent to the current needs and interests of women you are targeting?

Employee Experience

employer branding
  • Show that you promote diverse careers available for women and what contributions they make.
  • Address the needs and aspirations of current and future female employees in your recruitment campaigns.
  • Highlight programs, policies and initiatives you already have in place to build inclusive workplace.
  • Don’t forget about those who are already working for you.
  • Raise profile of those eminent women and celebrate their impact, as it provides role models for other women.

Questions: Are female leaders visible in your firm? Do they occupy stereotypical gender roles? Are you aware of what women value most in your employment offering?

Engagement activities

  • When presenting your company externally, strive for gender balance in spokespeople.
  • Participate in panels where women are included.
  • If not, challenge the behavior among conference organizers
  • While your people are attending conferences and other type of events, ensure your representation is also gender-balanced, especially in senior positions which historically, women are less likely to occupy.

Questions: Are your public spokespeople gender-balanced? Is input from a broad range of perspectives in internal and external forums significant to your organization? Do you reinforce gender-stereotypes in roles performed at functions you organize and attend?

Awards, recognition and honour systems

  • Aim for gender balance in those who you are profiling in your organization.
  • Submit proactively women in your team for external awards and recognition programs.
  • Make sure to review your valuation criteria and if they are not gender-balanced, re-design them to be so.
  • Be aware what language and imagery you use and ensure that it does not lessen the role and status of women.

Questions: Do the ‘heroes’ celebrated by your organization represent the accomplishments of both women and men?

Workplace, Symbols and Barriers to Inclusion

  • Design an equal access to roles and opportunities for both men and women.
  • If not, redesign workplaces and processes to enable it.
  • Include women in tendering process and on evaluation teams.
  • Remember that symbols of success must fairly elevate the contribution of men and women all together.  

Questions: Are the needs of all genders incorporated into design, infrastructure and equipment in your organization?


A team effort

Creating a gender balanced workplace is a shared responsibility and the job of every department. We cannot leave creating inclusion to leader’s and CEO’s. There is a compelling story to tell and lessons to learn from it.

Every organization has a story to tell and it should, not only for branding purposes, but as an inspiration to individuals and other organizations.

You can contact Patrycja Riera on linked in