Maja Vujašković Đureinović is winner of the Mark Awards in the PR/CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER OF THE YEAR category. She has been speaking to Cord about woke communication and why inclusion and diversity are important for her company.
IKEA traditionally supports the LGBT+ population in Serbia and publicly defends its position. Why is inclusion and diversity important for your company?
Inclusion and diversity are part of IKEA’s DNA. We believe that everyone has the right to the same treatment and opportunities for development regardless of any aspect of their identity. We believe our differences make us better and believe that we are a better company because of them. We always start from our coworkers and importance of creating an inclusive workspace and than of advocating for these values. We believe that diversity and equality are not only good for us, coworkers and society but also for business. Many studies show how much more creative and successful teams can be when different team members bring different opinions and world views. We are brand for many people and we believe that if our coworkers are inclusive, they can better feel and understand the needs of our consumers, and create for them an environment in which they are comfortable to talk freely about their life at home, so we can then offer relevant solutions.
You run several different markets, is woke communication strategy applicable in every market?
We are mostly engaged in areas of sustainability, diversity, and inclusion. Although different markets could have different social and cultural backgrounds, these topics are quite relevant everywhere. Of course, to be very relevant to consumers on certain market we need to look into what is really close to people’s hearts and what can have a positive impact, in order to create a positive change. The goal of woke communication is social change, and for this a certain brand and communication can only be the initial catalyst. Change can only happen in cooperation with other social actors and consumers.
How “slippery” is the woke terrain? How do you avoid crises?
It is generally slippery. The potential for a crisis is greater if the engagement of the brand is driven by commercial interests, and if it is not followed by an honest, strategic and long-term approach in which the brand is willing to invest its financial, communicative and expert resources in promoting positive changes in society. It is a much more complex and broader engagement than a campaign and is fundamentally integrated into the brand’s business strategy. In this sense, I think that the effect is most significant when the brand decides to act in areas that are close to its field of business, because in those areas it has expertise and can achieve a fundamentally positive impact. It is crucial that with such initiatives the marketing and communication teams have the essential support of the organization.
What does the Mark Awards recognition mean to you and how will it affect your future career?
I am very proud, because I see it as a colleague- to-colleague recognition, and a moment that celebrates our profession and achievements. This recognition is not only for me, but for the entire team and the many other colleagues at IKEA who contributed, because as I have already underlined several times, the success of the initiatives that got me nominated are really the result of many years of efforts by the entire organization.