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Inclusive Marketing—Tips to Make Diversity & Inclusion the Core of your Marketing Strategy

January 5, 2021

More than 30% of the American population belongs to minority groups.

More than 40 million Americans have disabilities.

More than 4.5% of adult Americans identify themselves as LGBTQ.

As a brand, you must ask yourself:

‘Is your marketing strategy including the diverse and dynamic population of the country?’

‘Is your brand adopting inclusive marketing?’

 

Inclusive Marketing—What is Inclusive Marketing?

Inclusive marketing refers to marketing that reflects, represents, and embraces people from diverse groups and backgrounds. It uses stories that are inclusive of unique audiences, and that people from different ethnicities and demographics can relate to.

Inclusive marketing simply means to market for real people, with real people.

There is no longer a space for social media feeds and ads with perfect models featuring unrealistic goals. This is the time to use dive deep into your people's needs, goals, and dreams, and then the market for them. This is the time to include everyone in your audience.

Inclusive Marketing—Benefits, Returns & Revenues

61% of Americans believe that diversity is important in marketing. 42% would like to see more diversity in advertising. Inclusive marketing allows brands to address a wide range of audiences and make meaningful connections with them.

It helps brands and businesses show their social responsibility by breaking norms and standing for people who are misrepresented.

According to a report, brands that represent diversity in their ads saw a 44% gain in stocks and earned an 83% higher consumer preference. These high conversion rates show that diversity in marketingcan help brands earn both loyalty and revenues.

Inclusive Marketing—Tips to do it Right

At its heart, inclusive marketing is about representing people from all groups, genders, ethnicities, religions, age groups, and sexual preferences.

Inclusive marketing is not just about using the right pictures with a diverse group of people or saying the right words with a supportive message. It is an all-inclusive campaign that takes planning, effort, time, and careful execution to be successful.

1.   Understanding Diversity & Inclusion

Most people believe that diversity and inclusion are synonymous and interchangeable. While it may seem true in many cases, as a brand, it is critically important to understand the difference between both. Ask yourself these questions, and see how you answer them:

·        Is your workplace diverse?

·        Is your workplace inclusive?

Most brands fail to answer the second question properly.

Rita Mitjans, ADP's chief diversity, and social responsibility officer, explains the difference between the two. She says, “Diversity is the "what"; inclusion is the "how."

In simple words, diversity is the face of your workplace and shows the age groups, ethnicities, genders, races, and LGBTQs that are a part of your workforce. However, inclusion refers to how the culture in your company supports these diverse groups and provides them equal and fair chances to thrive.

When it comes to your target audience, ask yourself the same questions again.

2.   Understanding your Target Audience

If you started as a local company, then you must know the demographics and major concerns of your target audience. If you are not familiar with that, it is important to learn more about their cultural identity and community issues.

This one step differentiates a successful organization from others.

It should be a brand's primary concern to conduct thorough market research and to employ time and resources to learn about its target audience. A branding or P.R. company can also help you get invaluable insight into the pain points, concerns, desires, and dreams of your audience.

3.   Being Real & Authentic

As consumers are becoming more diverse and multicultural, brands must market and advertise in a way that positively reflects their identity and reality.

In marketing, one size doesn’t fit all. The content used in marketing must be tailored to the audiences you need to target. It should mirror their beliefs, values, and goals realistically.

Another way of doing it is to use real people and raw details. For instance, the beauty campaign by Dove is to date the most beautiful, all-inclusive effort by a beauty brand. They preach against #BeautyBias and center their content as a source of confidence for people. Their ads show real women instead of models, and talk about their struggles instead of talking about their looks.

4.   Align your Marketing with your Message

As a brand, your message, mission, and vision provide you a differential point to stand out in the crowd. While it is important to include diversity, inclusion, social equity, and community relations in your brand's framework, it is also important to align them with your message.

For big brands, this is not a problem as they hire the best marketing firms to help them position the new message in a way that perfectly aligns with their existing message. Let's look at Nike for example. The brand that talked about action and encouraged people to 'Just Do it' started advocating ‘Don’t Do it’ for racism.

The way that Nike aligned the new message, is the best example of inclusive marketing done right.

Final Thoughts…

Inclusive marketing must be a continuous and ongoing part of a brand's marketing campaigns and social media strategies. It requires deep audience research to boost cultural awareness and understanding your target consumers. It is also important to structure your company's workforce based on diversity and inclusion.

When a brand's content, advertising, and marketing shows inclusion, it enhances the brand's perception and effectiveness among consumers. As a result, the brand sees more growth, earns more revenue, and builds long-term loyalties.

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