As its EEO-1 report released last year, indicated, nothing that Twitter was doing was working for diversity or overall business growth. With its user base growth stalled, stock price tanking and ad sales growth plateued Twitter has no choice but to change course.
The biggest failure at Twitter was its inability to link its growth goals and diversity. As Pew Research noted, African-Americans are Twitter's most loyal user base and its failure to understand, serve and sell ads against its most loyal customer base is a recipe for disaster. This weekend's house-cleaning opens the door to a fresh start and sustainable way forward.
Jack Dorsey (CEO) and Twitter are now free to pursue a simple and effective business strategy based on super-serving its most loyal customers as a way to grow the business.
Dorsey, if he chooses, is now free to do three things that will jump start growth.
1. Adopt a Diversity Scorecard linked to business growth. The five main pillars are:
- Employment (hiring, promotion and retention of African-Americans who understand the market)
- Advertising (utilizing AA agencies to market to its large and installed based of users and gain insights they cannot glean elsewhere.
- Procurement. Identify African-American product and service providers who can help them super-serve the market.
- Programming and Content. Work with African-American content creators to enhance curation and develop tools that help diverse creators grow their audiences on Twitter.
- Philanthropy and Community Development. Identifying and support service and educational organizations that support and build goodwill in the African-American community
2. Model best practices for diversity employed by companies who have large African-American customer bases and leverage diversity for sustainable growth. Comcast Corporation comes to mind. In 2010 the cable company, with subscriber a base of roughly 20 percent African-American launched an ambitious Diversity Strategy around a Diversity Scorecard. With growth across all five Diversity Scorecard pillars, Comcast is now able to super serve its African-American consumers, leverage those insights to all of its subscribers and has seen growth in revenue, cash flow and seen its market capitalization rise from $44 Billion in 2010 to over $132 Billion dollars today.
3. Hire Senior Executives and recruit Board Members who believe diversity is a key to future growth, not merely a cost of doing business. Companies that embrace diversity are thinking big about all the ways to grow its businesses and realize its not simply about hiring or making charitable contributions, but about super-serving loyal customers and growing the overall pie. Since so few companies actually understand or believe diversity of a growth driver, those who figure it out reap outsized benefits (and loyalty) in their respective markets.
Because of its large and installed African-American user base and demonstrated willingness to clean house, Twitter has the greatest potential of any company in Silicon Valley to become the model of diversity and growth.