Brand Purpose, Belonging and Business Results Underscore J&J's D&I Strategy

By Thought Leaders Archives
Cover image for  article: Brand Purpose, Belonging and Business Results Underscore J&J's D&I Strategy

Long before diversity and inclusion became corporate table stakes, Johnson & Johnson worked tirelessly to make it intrinsic to its culture. And it didn't even start in this century. It began in 1886, when three brothers were inspired to solve a universal need: provide first-aid bandages for wounds suffered by everyday people, regardless of background.

J&J's purpose-driven mission remains constant. Today, the company continues to serve as a leader in diversity and inclusion, leveraging its award-winning D&I strategies for both social impact and corporate performance.

Donna Wilson, head of D&I multicultural marketing, shared how J&J has effectively integrated multicultural strategies with brand imperatives to deliver impressive outcomes for global brands across J&J's businesses. She underscored how the D&I mission was developed using a customer-centric and data-driven approach by tapping into voice-of-employee insights, using a global survey across 7,000 J&J employees.

Wilson also shared results of J&J's recently released study You Belong: Diversity & Inclusion Impact Review, which captures the company's commitment to its D&I mission:

  1. Advance our culture of inclusion and innovation
  2. Build a diverse workforce for the future
  3. Enhance business performance and reputation

The connectivity and acceleration points across these areas are “something our businesses have been asking for,” Wilson said. “Our teams want to shape and share D&I successes and see how culture and people drive results.”

One example of how J&J fosters a culture of inclusion and innovation is its 12 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which empower the 20,000 employees who participate to help each other build relationships, reach their potential, and share valuable customer insights. The ERGs also serve as “internal focus groups,” Wilson said, allowing the company's brand teams to capture user insights in an agile way.

Another is the company's D&I Honors Program, which recognizes teams that not only advocate for D&I, but also use it to drive innovation and business results. These winning teams have become role models at J&J.

Additionally, more than 105,000 J&J employees have received unconscious bias training, which helps the company build a base for the successes showcased in programs such as D&I Honors, that link D&I with business outcomes.

Here are five important ways J&J has strategically integrated D&I into business strategies to drive performance:

  • Message-driven:The #HowWeFamily campaign for 60-year old brand Tylenolexemplifies the power of diversity and inclusion in action. Bringing together the company's credo (focusing first and foremost on customers, employees, and community drives financial returns), Tylenol's brand purpose, and the reality of changing family demographics, the program celebrates the beauty of diverse family situations and provides them a platform to be authentic without fear of judgment or rejection. In just two months, the program drove 1.2 billion earned media impressions and 8 million video views.
  • Product-driven: Listerine's rollout of green tea–flavored mouthwash in Malaysia to address the cultural needs of local consumers during the busy holiday season reached 86 percent of the target audience and achieved three times the market penetration of its rival.
  • Insights-driven:Generation NOW, an internal initiative to future-proof the Johnson & Johnson workforce, gleaned insights from millennial moms on advertising concepts for JOHNSON'S Baby relaunch, resulting in ads with higher quantitative testing scores.
  • Execution-driven: J&J has infused a multicultural lens across key brands, including Aveeno, which capitalizes on tentpole moments such as the Hispanic Day Parade in New York to increase brand awareness and affinity in the Hispanic community. Aveeno also successfully activated a cross-platform digital media and influencer campaign during the 25th ESSENCE Festival, which is the largest celebration of African American beauty, health, entrepreneurship, music, and pop culture.
  • Talent-driven: There is a sense of urgency at J&J in addressing the fact that, according to the U.S. Census, the U.S. will be a multicultural majority nation by 2044; this means that African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics together will comprise at least 50 percent of the population. According to Wilson, not addressing this growing multicultural community means “leaving money on the table.” So, she arms J&J's divisions with robust metrics to make the business case for investment across marketing and talent.

Johnson & Johnson's multifaceted approach to D&I provides a comprehensive blueprint of what success looks like. The challenge for any company embracing D&I is maintaining momentum, so remember founder Robert Wood Johnson's energizing words, “It's a go!”, as he rallied and inspired his first fourteen employees — eight of which were women. That inspiration remains alive and flourishing today, as belonging, purpose, and representation continue to be fundamental to J&J's corporate DNA.

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