In our marketing trends post of 2020, we briefly touched upon inclusive marketing; that is, creating a platform that is accessible for all. While included in the marketing trends article, we should highlight that making your marketing inclusive and accessible isn’t a one-off or short term task. It’s something to review frequently as technologies and consumer needs alter, and should be seen as a movement, not just a trend.
What Is Inclusive Marketing?
Put simply, inclusive marketing means using campaigns that embrace and celebrate diversity. This may include highlighting unique people, stories, and language suitable for people from a range of different backgrounds, all of which should resonate with your audience. Inclusive marketing should give your customers something they can easily relate to. And while some campaigns reflect people in the real world, rather than Photoshopped versions, they can also be much more impactful in an attempt to break stereotypes and advertising norms.
There are many groups of people in society that are under or misrepresented including, for example, those who identify as LGBTQIA+, those who are disabled, people of certain ages and genders, and also Black, Indigenous, and people of colour including Asian and minority ethnicities. Inclusive marketing seeks to highlight these identities in a sensitive and thought-provoking way. Campaigns take time and effort to properly represent these groups throughout your brand.
“There are so many layers to diversity beyond gender or skin colour. It’s also about age. Geography. Socio-economic diversity. Relatable jobs. Abilities. Sexuality.” – Lorraine Twohill, CMO at Google
Inclusive marketing is, therefore, a progressive movement on issues of social injustice. And to use Inclusive marketing also means to understand and consider the impact of advertisements, not just their intent.
Why You Should Promote Digital Inclusion Within Your Business
Unfortunately, a digital divide exists because of a bias, albeit conscious or unconscious, across race, gender, age and sexual orientation, leaving many people left behind. Everyone should be able to safely and confidently navigate the digital world without prejudice and feel included, so inclusive marketing takes on the challenge of opening up marketing for all, reflecting the real world.
Odds are that members of your audience all have something unique about them, so if your customers struggle to identify with stories or people used within your advertising, they’ll likely be disinterested in working with your business. However, if an individual sees themselves accurately represented, that could be the key to hooking a new prospect or client as your marketing resonates more deeply.
How To Implement Inclusive Marketing In Your Business And Get It Right
The long and the short of it is that there’s no magic formula. But considered and thought-provoking campaigns where you are genuine about your openness to inclusivity is a good place to start. Be open to change. Identify and represent all of your audience, not just people like you. This is your opportunity to celebrate the differences between people and to educate your customers about what you do.
Marketing campaigns that identify and highlight the things all sorts of people have in common are highly successful and show that we all can find some common ground no matter how different we might seem from one another. Learn about your unique audiences and think of ways you can better represent them in your campaigns to increase customer satisfaction and user experience.
Open the channel of communication and aim to create a discussion and don’t shy away from controversial issues. By recognising and celebrating that diversity exists, you will create change and build a bond of trust with unique groups of customers.
Flip gender stereotypes and include misrepresented or underrepresented areas of society. Empower your customers by embracing differences. Highlight real people with real stories and unite your audience with the things that you and they have in common.
Digital Inclusion Next Steps
Have you recently considered whether your brand is accessible, diverse, and inclusive? If not, you may want to spend some time looking at diversifying your marketing, to both represent and reach out to a wider range of identities and cultures. By showcasing what’s interesting, unique, or inspiring about your audience, you’re also presenting how your brand supports them, sees them, and identifies with them. Use inclusive marketing to show how your brand can help all sorts of people, and all sorts of people may want to get to know you.