The conversation around inclusive marketing is important and one we need to be having to ensure long-term improvement.
What is inclusive marketing?
Inclusive marketing is seeing and understanding all of your target audience and authentically representing them in your marketing material.
Brands and businesses of all sizes have a responsibility to represent and understand all the differences within their target audience including (but not limited to):
As said by Ramat Tejani “It’s about showcasing to the world, what it is that you do without shutting the door in people’s faces.”
Everyone in your target audience wants to see themselves in your marketing. And more importantly, they want to know that you ‘see’ them too.
Keeping an open mind and awareness to make sure your evolving audience is always reflected in your marketing requires more energy than using “diverse” imagery. It requires deep thinking, knowing and consideration consciously and subconsciously about the people you want to serve as a business.
In the words of Jon Colclough from Mass Appeal, “The fact is we live in a diverse society – and the advertising we create should reflect that.”
Why is it important?
If your customers don’t feel that you see them, they will find someone else who does.
Consumers are increasingly noticing the brands and businesses who make a conscious effort to buck stereotypes and authentically represent all of their target audience. And similarly, consumers can see when a brand is exuding tokenism, misses the mark or isn’t making an effort at all. This initiates action in the form of protesting with their pockets or speaking up on social media.
“Diversity is not a marketing strategy”
Krystle Watler from Virtue powerfully stated, “Diversity is not a marketing strategy”.
Diversity is a commitment that covers the whole scope of your business, internally and externally. Consumers are in tune and will see straight away if your brand is authentic in its approach to diversity or showcasing diversity just in one campaign to “jump on the bandwagon”.
Having a human first approach to accurately reflect your target audience starts inside your business. “The foundation of good inclusive marketing is driving good inclusive culture” said Kristen Ogdon from Microsoft.
You need to show your commitment internally at home before you can start saying it externally.
Most importantly, your output needs to align to your business mission statement. What does your business stand for, what is authentic and true to your business and what does it make sense for you to champion?
Audit your existing marketing
Ask yourself these questions to audit your existing business and marketing inclusivity:
How did you go? Every business has room for improvement and here are some tips on how to get there…