Inclusive Marketing Should Be Your New Normal
We’ve all seen it – shiny pictures of straight, white, middle-class faces as a representation of our entire population. Historically this practice has been so common we have been trained to not give it a second look. We are so trained to expect this caricature of our audience that we consciously notice when campaigns step outside this box. For most this change is a breath of fresh air, and others… need some more time to catch up.
It’s time to understand the importance of spreading a message of inclusivity to your audience. Fear-mongering and unethical targeting in business strategies is connected to widespread racial profiling and isolating minority groups. It can stimulate general animosity towards individuals that don’t fit a specific mold. Overall, it can be seriously damaging to how our viewers see themselves, each other, and our companies. Because of this, people are banding together to fight back against outdated marketing tactics.
Now more than ever, your company’s public message surrounding inclusivity can make or break your reputation.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are making it their responsibility to move away from restrictive campaign strategies. These changes are happening within companies both from the top-down and ground-up. Companies like Facebook are letting go of outdated targeting practices. Newer startups and modern retail companies are embracing inclusive marketing as the core of their business model.
How to adopt inclusive marketing in any industry.
Avoid gender-specific language
A simple phrase change can give fresh life to otherwise dusty language. This goes way past flippantly adding ‘and women’ to a sentence as an afterthought. Taking gender out altogether is a better practice for several reasons surrounding representation, sentence flow, and brevity.
Take the phrase “Businessmen and women” – this was historically accepted as a way to address the entire workforce. We now know that it is limiting and unrepresentative. A better option is “business professionals”. This updated phrasing is shorter, flows much better in a sentence, and encompasses not just men and women, but all gender identities.
Gender and race
Consider using gender-neutral and most widely-accepted titles for demographics such as Latinx (instead of Latino/a). It is unfair to disrespect nationalities and cultures just for lack of research or understanding. FOX News made this mistake while discussing multiple Latin countries, which people have not forgotten.
These easy changes are leaps and bounds in the right direction to make everyone who visits your site feel represented and welcome.
Get past the 1990s high-school-Health-textbook take on inclusivity.
Gone are the times where running one half-assed ‘diversity campaign’ every few years makes your company ‘woke’. It is important to be consistent, all-welcoming, and purposeful in diverse representation marketing assets.
Outdoor Voice’s take on inclusive marketing
Outdoor voices, a lifestyle clothing brand has developed a core competency of universal inclusivity. OV uses models of all genders, ages, physical abilities, sizes, and races. But they do not pat themselves on the back for doing so, and it isn’t just one campaign a year to fill the quota. Their message of acceptance is consistent, strong, and easily found in every public message they promote.
“Human, not superhuman. We put real people at the center of everything that we do, and we support equality and human rights for everyone.”Outdoor Voices Story
If you are going to celebrate inclusivity, get ready to back it up with support
We see this every year in June when companies get ready for Pride Month. Companies that have no evidence of assisting the Pride movement will create a rainbow version of their logo to post on LinkedIn. We promise your audience will see straight through your new rainbow logo if it is not backed with an action item of support.
Whether you’re celebrating Pride, black history month, or any other diversity-related event, it should be a campaign to benefit the group. The campaign could be a percentage of the proceeds go to a specific charity. Another option is letting prominent individuals in the community use your platform to spread a message of inclusivity, acceptance, or support.
Trying to reach a specific demographic? Use your platform or product to recognize and find solutions for niche issues
The best way to reach a certain group, in all situations, is through understanding pain points. Using this method, TomboyX found wild success in representing a previously ignored audience.
TomboyX found a hole in the market that almost no other brands were catering to – womxn and other individuals that don’t take part in traditional gender roles. Regardless of gender identity, this market wanted underwear that isn’t traditionally feminine and TomboyX Delivered. Because TomboyX spoke to a historically overlooked audience, the reaction was a tidal wave of total brand loyalty.
Inclusive marketing and business strategy shouldn’t be rocket science, but it should be a conscious aspect of your processes. If your lack of perspective is limiting your relationship with your audience, wouldn’t you want to fix that? Take the time to do a little research and you will be surprised how much farther your message will spread.
Ready to update your online and offline presence? Chat with our team!