While inclusion and diversity have always been essential, they have become even more essential for marketers due to the industry’s current pandemic and cultural climate. Simply put, we’re dealing with two huge issues right now: a people crisis and an economic issue. By putting our efforts into inclusion, equity and diversity, we can provide a powerful solution to both problems we’re facing.
However, it’s not as simple as changing a few policies and calling it a day. Instead, organizations need to work to expand these efforts to include the challenges of working during a pandemic. We are at a pivotal point where advertising, marketing and public relations agencies can use the images they want to reflect the world they want to see, where societal and gender roles are smashed, subcultures are celebrated and diversity is emphasized.
What is the definition of diversity and inclusion?
Understanding these two words is crucial if you plan to adopt them into your marketing plan. To keep it simple, these terms are used to include a group of unique individuals who integrate with one another. It’s the idea of accommodating and welcoming people who have been excluded historically, whether that’s for their ability, sexuality, gender or race.
When considering how to include it in your marketing portfolio, it’s essential to ensure that everyone’s voice — no matter their cultural background, age, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic or racial background — gets heard.
What does the current marketing landscape look like?
More than 92% of marketers agree that there is more opportunity for growth in the marketing and advertising space. However, just because they agree to the statement doesn’t mean that this idea is being openly embraced by all marketing and advertising agencies.
It’s clear that there is a lack of inclusion and diversity in marketing campaigns from both small and big firms, which has resulted in many people outright calling these companies out for these problems. Due to these issues and the current advertising climate, businesses are working to find ways to integrate inclusion and diversity into their campaigns.
But how exactly do you get started doing this? Your brand must find a way to become inclusive in their language, themes and imagery used throughout its campaigns. That work has a lot to do with the type of audience you’re looking to market to, whether it deals with specific body size, gender, race or age.
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The stats are on your side
Being more inclusive means better exposure for your company and showing your authentic culture. This can come with some pretty amazing benefits. For example, more than 71% of LGBTQ consumers say they’re likely to interact or purchase from an advertisement that represented their sexual orientation. Or take into account the fact that 69% of Black customers are more likely to buy products from a brand that positively showed their ethnicity or race.
Plus, these ideas of diversity and inclusion are not going anywhere. By the year 2042, more than 50% of the American population is expected to be composed of minority groups.
Embrace diversity and inclusion in your own organization
If you want to represent diversity and inclusivity, you need to start in your own organization. If your company does not include the population it’s trying to represent, it will be hard to connect to them. You’ll have less ability to execute when there is more distance between the market you’re trying to reach and your team. Since none of us are entirely unbiased, it’s essential to have culturally competent people on your team to help influence the decisions you make in your business.
Understand your demographic
You need to understand who your demographic is and how you can connect with them. If this specific demographic sees an advertisement or goes to a webpage but can’t find themselves represented in any way, they’re not going to be drawn to your company.
To truly integrate and create inclusive content, you need to do more than post an image on a website. This effort needs to be reflected in your writing style guide, user experience, team structure and the way you conduct business.
Be real with your intentions
If you’re just regurgitating what you think you should be saying, your consumers are going to notice. You need to make sure that you’re living your value proposition from the inside out if you want to drive change and truly embrace inclusion and diversity. While people want to see a reflection of themselves in your advertising, don’t go overboard or make decisions that don’t make sense just because you want to portray your brand as inclusive.
Brands that encompass diversity and inclusion
Many brands are already integrating these ideas into their marketing campaigns. Some examples include:
- Proctor & Gamble: While they are best known for their toiletry items and cleaning products, the corporation works hard to ensure inclusivity with its products and marketing campaigns by using its platforms to send powerful messages towards challenging issues relating to diversity and identity, and including people from diverse backgrounds into their advertisements. A great example is their Emmy nominated commercial called The Talk.
- Microsoft: When Microsoft learned that kids who had physical disabilities were having difficulty using traditional controllers, they worked to solve this problem by creating alternative controllers that made it easier for visually impaired or disabled kids to play. They even opened a way for disabled people to communicate with the company to request customizations. This ultimately resulted in a campaign called “We All Win.”
There are so many ways to integrate diversity and inclusion into your marketing or advertising agency. However, it’s important to remember that this is an ever-evolving process. Your organization will need to consistently add these ideas into your marketing process, because there’s always room for improvement.