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New study on class cues confirms suspicions on workplace diversity

(NEWS) New study evaluates the effects of class, race and gender on job applications.

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diversity

It’s best to be a rich, white guy in America. Also, water is wet

Newsflash, you guys: in America, rich men have the most fun, the best jobs, the most money – they’re basically winning, and doing it way more often than any of the rest of us. A new study by the Harvard Business Review reaffirms this unfortunate fact of life, and discusses specific ways in which class cues and gender can effect recruitment decisions.

The field experiment focused on the legal sector, and analyzed data based on four nearly identical (fake) resumes for four (fake) law students. The legal industry can be especially unforgiving to those who fail to emit some sort of elite pheromones.

The way of the world

If you’re at a top law school like Harvard or Yale, the recruiters swarm you. If you’re a top law firm, the students swarm you for internships. If you’re a student without a degree from a top school, or an internship with a top law firm, you’re probably out of luck unless you want to go into an “inferior” area like non-profit work. The legal profession has its own 1 percent, and it always has that new-suit smell.

Basically, if you want the big name and the big bucks, you better get that big internship.

But if you’re a woman or you didn’t grow up in a wealthy household, you probably have to be a whole lot better than everyone around you to even get an interview.

Proof is in the pudding

The Harvard Business Review created four sample resumes, sent out to 316 offices of 147 top law firms in 14 different cities. Each fake candidate attended the same school, earned the same awesome GPA, served on the law review, and listed the same work experiences. Gender was signaled by first name, and class status was signaled by things like awards, extracurriculars, and hobbies: Sailing vs. Track and Field, classical music vs. country music, athletic award vs. athletic award for those on financial aid, peer mentor for first year students vs. peer mentor for first-generation college students.

Unsurprisingly, the resumes bearing male first names and upper class hobbies fared significantly better than all others. In fact, the upper class male candidate received more interview invitations than all other candidates combined.Click To Tweet

Slightly more surprising was the fact that being wealthy didn’t seem to make up for being a woman. The lower class female and male candidates each received more interview invitations than the upper class counterpart, making rich women the least desirable candidates of the four.

Why was having money hurting women’s chances?

The HBR conducted a second experiment to investigate. They sent the same four resumes out to 200 practicing attorneys nationwide, asking each attorney to assess one of the resumes to determine whether they’d like to interview them. They also asked each attorney to rate the candidate on relevant factors based on perception, which are proven to vary between men and women, like competence, likeability, organizational fit, and career commitment.

As before, the upper-class, male candidate was everyone’s favorite. The survey found that attorneys perceived both higher-class candidates as better fits with the (high class) culture and customers of the top firms.

But higher-class women were viewed as less committed to working a demanding job.

That means these attorneys, and 20 more individually interviewed attorneys, believe women are more likely to leave a job for an easier role, or for “family” reasons.

Beating a dead horse. (Not really, chill PETA)

That’s right, you guys. Because women are capable of growing, birthing, and parenting children, their plates are already full, or might, you know, eventually sometime in the future be full enough? And upper class women probably already have enough money, right? So why on earth would they ever choose to pursue a career? Just another example of women behaving illogically, I guess…

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The HBR study ultimately cites intersectionality as an explanation for their findings: “When it comes to understanding sources of advantage and disadvantage, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Like everything else in the labor market, privilege works differently for men and women.

How do we fix it?

Well, if you’re an employer, you can request initials instead of full names, to mitigate gender bias. You can also forgo information like extra-curriculars and hobbies, which have more potential to reveal class cues, though attendance at a top tier university will continue to send those signals.

As a candidate, you can also choose to omit this information on your resume, and to avoid listing awards and honors that might indicate class or background. But for many candidates, that would mean eliminating all or most of their impressive accomplishments. Everything’s a trade off, but if you’re after that 1 percent lifestyle, some tweaks might be worth making.

#SelectiveClassCues

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Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Business Marketing

How ecommerce brands can increase sales, even on tiny purchases

(MARKETING) These tips and tricks are prime ways to boost the dollar amount spent at checkout and close more deals — even on the tiny purchases!

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online sales

There are many marketing techniques aimed at acquiring new customers. Makes sense, right? More customers, more money. But how do you increase sales with your existing customer base? The Average Order Value (AOV) = Total Revenue/# of Transactions. This number is important because it indicates how much each customer is buying. Here are some ways to increase your AOV:

First, it’s crucial to appeal to human nature. People like things for free. So, by setting a minimum to receive free delivery, buyers are more likely to continue browsing and eventually buying, in order to avoid the shipping fee. While we all know that spending $50 when I only meant to spend $37 isn’t ideal, but I’d rather pay $50 for two products, than $43 for one and shipping. It feels like a better value.

Over half of customers will discontinue their transaction when they found out there are additional costs. MORE THAN HALF. Don’t surprise people the wrong way — we don’t like it.

Second, have you ever been to Costco? Ever left Costco with exactly the amount of food you needed? No, of course, you haven’t. The concept of buying in bulk appeals to our sense of value. Oranges are $1.09 per pound but buy a 10 lb. bag and get it for $8.50. Next thing you know, you’re feeding your child’s soccer team as well as the opponents. Offering a discount on package deals and large quantities at least gets your customers thinking about purchasing more.

We all rationalize the need for a good deal. My roommate used to buy two 12-packs of the giant muffins because “They were on sale.” A discount on a package might entice someone who was looking for a little more variety but was hesitant at first.

Next, recommending products is a great way for customers to lay eyes on new things. Not everyone is a browser — some people go straight to a specific section. By using information from previous purchases and browsing history, showing related, best-selling, or recommended products is an awesome way to generate more clicks and potentially increase sales.

Finally, help us lazy people by including a gift-wrapping option at checkout so that people buying remotely for others out of town can send things directly. In order to wrap, they would have to send to themselves, wrap, then send again or deliver to the receiver. The former sounds like it’s worth $6.99 to me!

In conclusion, there are always ways to boost sales with your existing, loyal, customers. If buyers are only purchasing one thing at a time, reflect on why this is. Perhaps a few sweeteners or additional opportunities could lead to long-term growth. Remember human nature and happy selling!

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Business Marketing

A more environmentally sensitive Pantone color of the year

(MARKETING) Why is Pantone’s coral color causing a ruckus? Marketing is just marketing, right? Maybe not…

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pantone unofficial color of 2020

Every year Pantone declares the Color of the Year and for 2019, the institute declared Living Coral to be the “it” shade calling it “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” And it totally is. Imagine bright red orange swimming in a sea of crystal blue water.

Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman even goes so far as saying it that Living Coral was what “consumers craved” and that it incites “human interaction and social connection” which might be a stretch. It is just a color after all.

However, some found this messaging to be anything but convivial and well, off-color.

Jack Railton-Woodcock and Huei Yin Wong, partners at Jack and Huei, a Melbourne-based design agency, took umbrage with this decision and for good reason.

Their native Australia has front-row seats to the dying of the Great Barrier Reef and for them, coral is anything but lively. If anything, it’s on life support.

To call attention to the tone-deaf decision, the duo preemptively christened Bleached Coral as the Color of the Year 2020.

Touche.

The duo furthered their burn, saying, “It’s the responsibility of all of us, creative or otherwise, to find creative solutions to big problems, and right now there aren’t many problems facing humanity that are bigger than climate change.”

Oof, way to pull back the curtain, guys.

As much of a buzzkill as this pair might be, they’re not wrong, and they bring up the larger question of social responsibility in marketing.

But it’s just marketing, right?

Wrong. The very root of marketing is aspirational. We see ads for luxury cars, we imagine ourselves behind the wheel and believe that maybe we can get there. We see beauty products that promise flawless ageless skin and maybe we decide to take better care of our skin. We see Living Coral and we’re blinded to the reality that the coral just might be a thing of the past.

Yes, Pantone’s Color of the Year is one of those fun end-of-year things we in marketing get excited about, but when you’re living in a world where climate change is our reality and we see it in unnatural weather patterns and the dying off of one of our greatest natural treasures, it’s time to take pause. We can do better.

These days it’s hard to please everybody. Try as we might to make everything for everyone, if we’re going to attempt to talk about a unifying the human race through color, we sure as hell shouldn’t choose a color that reminds us all that our environment is in rough shape and it’s largely humanity’s fault. Bleached Coral isn’t the color we need, but right now, it’s the color we deserve.

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Business Marketing

Genius: How a Yoga studio is using AI to help the masses

(MARKETING) Here’s an interesting case study in how yoga, a 5,000+ year industry is using modern technology.

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yoga

Yoga is everywhere. From small town strip mall studios and big city meccas with guidance from YouTube gurus to Instagram-able practice with goats. If monitoring your breaths and balancing your body is your thing, it’s not out of reach.

However, despite its ubiquity, getting into yoga can be intimidating.

Sure, you’ve picked up a mat at Target, you’ve purchased all the Lululemon pants and Outdoor Voices bras, but actually getting on the mat and moving your body can be overwhelming if you’ve never practiced before.

Well, Would-Be-Yogis, push those fears and worries out of your mind, take three deep breaths and get on the mat, because you’re about to start posing at your pace.

Introducing the YogaBot from Austin’s own Yoga Yoga. It’s a fascinating case study in how a 5,000+ year old industry is using modern technology.

Over the past 20 years, Yoga Yoga has guided thousands of yoga students from their first class all the way through advanced teacher training and now, to help improve students choose the right path for themselves, they’ve created Design Your Yoga.

With the intention of helping new and advanced students achieve their yoga goals, Design Your Yoga is an automated experience that begins on their landing page.

Once you arrive, the bot asks you if you’d like to “Design Your Yoga.” After an initial greeting, the bot begins by getting to know your skill level.

Asking a very straightforward, “Have you done yoga before?” you are then offered nine responses ranging from “Never” to “I am a yoga therapist.”

Once you answer, you are asked further questions regarding what you’d like to achieve from your practice, what styles you’re familiar with, and when and where you’d like to practice among a few others. At the end, the bot will ask for your email address to send you a customized yoga plan. Easy peasy.

Their algorithm has thousands of possible combinations promising to make each yogi’s practice results unique to them.

“For years we’ve been working on ways to better personalize our services to the needs of each individual student. Design Your Yoga is our solution to delivering an exceptional user experience with a plan a student can follow and stick with,” said Yoga Yoga CEO Rich Goldstein.

Landing page bots are nothing new, and more often than not, they’re annoying as hell. However, this one actually seems helpful, which is refreshing.

From a marketing standpoint, Yoga Yoga CMO Marc Lefton said, “As marketers in a city as creative and entrepreneurial as Austin, we wanted to make sure we use every tool we can to bring yoga students the information they need as fast as possible.”

He’s not wrong. It worked. After trying it out for ourselves, we can’t help but be a little more ready to get on the mat. First, we’re going to need to put down the tacos.

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