With the continued growth of digital marketing and an increasingly diverse consumer base, embracing diversity and closing historical gaps make sense both in terms of doing the right thing and to the bottom line. More and more companies want creative marketing that is inclusive, respectful and of course, effective. Inclusion at its core makes economic sense but there is more to it. Inclusion also sends a message about your brand, your reputation, and who you want to do business with. Many large companies already recognize the benefits of embracing diversity in their marketing practices. Growing companies can do the same, since any exclusion in marketing practices results in just that – exclusion of potential customers. It is important though to keep in mind that diversity is not limited to race. Your brand’s ability to convey inclusivity is defined by communicating to people directly, across races, genders, age range, socioeconomic status, disabilities, and other factors. Staying competitive requires marketing content that connects to a diverse audience of consumers. When people recognize themselves in messaging, they are more likely to respond.
The first step in embracing diversity is …wait for it… embracing diversity! Redefine and prioritize it within your company as something that is essential to growth and innovation. Help diversity become an organic part of your company. Diverse ideas come from diverse people, minds and thought processes. The more you prioritize it in your company the more your actions and activities will live up to your commitments. Does your marketing campaign appeal to and empathize with a diverse audience? If that audience is not represented in the creative process then possibly not. Make sure that your marketing team or agency embraces, employs and reflects diversity in their approach. Representation engenders inclusion. It doesn’t happen overnight but the more you value diversity and inclusion (and live those values) the more you will reflect it in your brand.
Embracing diversity in marketing also requires being informed and aware. Researching and learning more about target demographics are crucial. Some well – intended companies completely miss the mark with diversity marketing. You can probably think of a few. For smaller companies, the first diversity campaign might not be the time to try to bring some “edge” to your brand. The last thing you want to do is to offend others, damage the brand or have inclusion efforts land with a thud. For starters you can ask yourself some high level questions when creating marketing content. Are you using content that could be offensive to some due to racist origins or stereotypes? Are you amplifying voices and/or spokespeople who may have a history of being insensitive to diverse groups? Are you appropriating cultural elements of any minority groups? Are you using “token” representation in your campaigns? Those are a start but if there’s even a doubt in answering any of these, run – don’t walk – and seek expertise.
Diversity marketing that includes and appeals to a diverse group of people is important, and speaks to the motivation and intent behind your campaign. This ultimately reflects upon your brand. Getting it right can be fruitful economically but more importantly helps reflect your brand as one that is committed to inclusion. As you take on diversity marketing, it is important to ensure that your practices align with your message. If you haven’t already, get informed and adopt diversity marketing. Do keep in mind that it is not an overnight process, rather one that occurs over time. As your understanding of inclusivity grows be sure that you’re listening to your customers. Data and customer feedback are golden and you can evolve your campaigns as you gather both. Go for it and build diversity into your ongoing marketing practices by ensuring that your marketing team or agency reflects diversity and inclusivity.
Not sure if your brand is embracing diversity and has inclusive practices in your marketing? Feel free to contact us. As a minority-led and women-led business we would be happy to have an open, candid conversation about your brand.