Nielsen: Measuring the Impact of Consumers with Disabilities

A recent study leveraged the breadth of Nielsen's measurement capabilities to quantify and define the impact of consumers with disabilities, according to John Burbank.

John Burbank is President of Strategic Initiatives at Nielsen (No. 41 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list).


John Burbank

Fostering an inclusive environment for associates with disabilities and those who care for disabled family members is essential to our overall diversity and inclusion strategy here at Nielsen.

Our dedicated associates who serve as members of ADEPT (Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together), one of our nine employee resource groups (ERGs), have helped create such an environment within our offices, as well as our communities, and their work has been recognized with a 90% score on the Disability Equality Index. One of the more powerful initiatives ADEPT has undertaken, though, is the design of a study leveraging the breadth of Nielsen's measurement capabilities to quantify and define the impact of consumers with disabilities.

The study culminated in our recent report, Reaching Prevalent, Diverse Consumers with Disabilities, and is the first on consumers with disabilities. The report provides rare and valuable insight into the lives of people with disabilities and their families. First and foremost, our research found that people with disabilities are widespread within the U.S., making up 19% of the total population. Second, people with disabilities are diverse and represent all demographic characteristics. Finally, consumers with disabilities are powerful, representing a $1 billion market segment according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And when we delved a bit deeper, we found that power is especially evident in certain cases and categories.

For instance, consumers with disabilities make more shopping trips, spend more per trip than the average consumer and spend less of their total dollar volume on deals and coupons. In the store, consumers with disabilities spend 20% more on pet food and 19% more on pet care than the average consumer. When it comes to food, consumers with disabilities spend 11% more on bread and baked goods and 8% more on packaged meats. All of these purchasing characteristics and preferences indicate that consumers with disabilities make up a powerful and significant consumer group for retailers and manufacturers who are able to engage these shoppers.

As a caretaker for a family member with a disability, this information struck close to home. I've found, oftentimes that people with disabilities, in the workplace or otherwise, do not feel empowered to "raise their hand" and ask for assistance when needed. My hope is that the information in this report makes it in front of leaders at companies around the world who realize the strength people with disabilities can have both as employees and as consumers. As they begin to better understand consumers with disabilities, leaders and companies can design products and provide services that meet their needs and encourage them to thrive the workplace.

John Burbank is also the Nielsen Global Leadership Sponsor for ADEPT.

To learn more, download Nielsen's Consumers with Disabilities report. The report is also available in Braille.

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NIELSEN

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We recently inducted the class of 2018 for our Diverse Leadership Network (DLN) in Chicago, marking our fifth class of the program. The DLN, a 15-month leadership development program, is our most diverse leadership program and provides opportunities for high-potential, mid-level leaders to learn from senior leaders within the company, collaborate among their peers, and apply their skills to practical business case studies.

The 2018 class includes 40 talented associates from the U.S., Canada and Mexico and across every function of our business. Participants met with their coaches for the first time during the orientation. DLN coaches are senior leaders who guide participants throughout the 15-month program and provide strategic guidance for non-DLN related experiences as well. Some of our more than 90 associates who are DLN alums spoke at this year's orientation event, sharing strategies and tips for optimizing time in the program and enjoying networking and learning from their fellow classmates.

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DLN graduates are expected to complete business impact projects that will provide process improvements and innovation for our business. That's why we also invited senior leaders to share the company's strategic priorities for FMCG/Retail, Total Audience, Gracenote and more. Participants will use the content of these presentations to guide their problem-solving process on business projects that will be assigned later in the program.

As part of the program's initiative to foster external relationships with clients and other brands, Eugene Campbell, Director, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability for Allstate and Co-Chair of our African-American Advisory Council, gave a keynote address during the orientation. Eugene spoke about the unique opportunity afforded to DLN participants, and how this class should utilize their coaches and other resources to aid in their leadership journey.

DLN IMPACT PROJECTS

Meanwhile, the DLN class of 2017 has continued their development in the program and recently completed four business impact projects that will be beneficial for many aspects of our company and our clients.

Development and Socialization of Multicultural Solutions

A team of DLN participants developed a strategy to both aggregate and socialize Nielsen's multicultural solutions with clients. The team created a multicultural solution roadmap, that points our client teams to the appropriate Nielsen product that helps our clients better reach multicultural consumers. They also created a task force that meets monthly to increase client awareness of our multicultural solutions. This project is essential to our business, because it shows our clients that we know the importance of multicultural consumers and are able to accurately measure their unique consumer preferences and behaviors.

Sales Engineering Process Improvement

Another DLN team created a streamlined process for our data to reach our clients. First, they engaged with both our sales engineers and client service teams to assess the areas where there were opportunities for increased efficiency. Then, the team developed a detailed responsibilities structure, which ensures that tasks are properly allocated and prioritized. The end result of this project is a better flow of information to our clients, which allows us to drive their business goals more efficiently.

Internal Cultural Adoption of Total Audience

A third team worked to socialize and evangelize our Total Audience system for internal associates. The group developed a strategy to both educate our employees and build their interest in our Total Audience measurement, which seeks to measure viewership across the many platforms available to consumers today. By creating this engagement, we ensure that our associates know the best way to incorporate Total Audience solutions into their client relationships and that our clients have access to our best audience measurement tools.

Experienced Hire Talent Assessment Model

Our final DLN team studied Nielsen's need for a way to assess prospective experienced candidates for Nielsen jobs. They helped Nielsen select Pymetrics, a talent assessment company that will use a candidate-friendly, AI-powered, bias-free set of games to assess a candidate's fit for a role.

"The DLN team was instrumental in helping us get to the talent behind what's next, by evaluating the marketplace for talent assessment solutions," said Chris Louie, SVP, People Analytics and Talent Assessment and sponsor of the DLN talent assessment project. "They leveraged their diverse set of experiences—different perspectives shaped by their current functional and geographic homes and their personal experiences as candidates. This provided unique perspectives on what a useful cross-Nielsen solution would look like. This project is a prime example of the superior results that diverse teams can produce when empowered to do so."