Is your marketing inclusive?
Posted on 26th June 2023
Research shows that inclusive marketing delivers better results. When your content reflects diversity in a positive way it helps to build your brand. You’ll also show how your products or services are relevant to a much larger audience and increase your sales opportunities.
Often, marketing material isn’t intentionally designed to be ‘exclusive’. It’s an unconscious use of images and language that just doesn’t include everyone.
Making your marketing genuinely inclusive is a long-term commitment bit it’s worthwhile. Tests of more than 10,000 advertisements around the world each year show how it can make a difference.
No tick box exercises
It isn’t enough to include references or images of underrepresented individuals or groups in your marketing. This will have little or no effect on your brand. However, positive inclusion can build your brand in the longer term and influence short-term sales.
The international tests show how the effect grows over time. Customers were asked to rate advertisements based on positive marketing that set a good example for others. This helped to create a benchmark to show differences in performance.
Three ways to achieve a good ROI
1. Including everyone in your story – companies that successfully create inclusive marketing aren’t treating it as a standalone subject. They are including the whole community in their brand story. For example, they might feature people with wide-ranging needs and backgrounds in ‘slice-of-life’ environments. They can show how their products and services are relevant to everyone’s experience.
2. Showing different viewpoints – strong brand messages are as important as ever. Resourceful marketers are now sharing them from many different perspectives. They appeal to a wider audience by using familiar examples.
3. Challenging assumptions – many of us make unconscious assumptions about who can benefit from different products or services. Showing different use cases in marketing content can certainly shake up these stereotypes and highlight a positive approach to inclusion. There’s evidence that when this is done well the whole audience will empathise with the examples shown.
Take positive steps
A good way to start is to review all your existing marketing content. This might include everything from your logo design and colour choices to your printed advertisements and social media posts. Do they showcase variety and inclusivity? Could you do better?
When you’re planning your marketing, include specific examples and stories that show how you meet a variety of needs. Ask your customers how they felt about working with you. Think about the language you use and make sure it’s clear, engaging and doesn’t unintentionally exclude anyone. There’s always room to improve, so keep everything under review and use feedback when you receive it.
Inclusive marketing requires more than simply ‘showing’ a variety of different people. The point is to tell engaging stories that everyone will understand. More importantly, companies must live up to the positive and inclusive brands they build. It’s not enough to show diversity and inclusion, they must deliver it too.
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