Last year, 54% of consumers surveyed by Facebook said they didn’t feel culturally represented in online advertising. More generally, white, straight males are more likely to be portrayed in leadership roles, with women more commonly representing stay-at-home parents. Inclusivity also goes further than just gender and race. Sexuality, disability, size and more are still being severely underrepresented within marketing and media.
With global consumers becoming significantly more progressive and equality focused, concentrating on inclusivity is no longer just a moral decision; it's now a strategic business move necessary to remain competitive within an environment with increased consumer spending power. Microsoft found that 59% of consumers are more trusting of brands that they feel have represented them in their ads. When looking at women, specifically this increases to 61% and jumps to 67% when looking at ethnic minorities.
An example of inclusivity done right is Rihanna’s lingerie brand that was launched in 2018, Savage X Fenty. Since then, the company has been valued at $1 billion and is in a position to become a global leader in their market by 2025 (beating lingerie giants Victoria’s Secret, who are notoriously known for their lack of inclusivity). A significant amount of the brand's success can be put down to accessibility. The products are available in a huge range of sizes and shades of ‘nude’, with diverse representation seen in the models chosen for the fashion shows, including various sizes, ages, skin tones, as well as models who are pregnant, models with disabilities, drag queens and influential celebrities. Consequently, Savage X Fenty’s customer base is equally as diverse, with customers being 35% Black, 30% White and 20% Latinx.
“Diversity is being invited to a party. Inclusivity is being asked to dance” - Vernā Myers, Activist
Inclusive marketing can’t be achieved by simply following a structured list of swapping out images to include those of ethnic minorities and posting a rainbow during LGBTQ+ pride month. Inclusivity needs to be shown consistently throughout all aspects of your business. A few ways you can work towards this…
Getting to know your customers is key to becoming an inclusive brand and a simple way to do this is by understanding your current customer profile. This will first educate you on the diversity of your customer base and arm you with the information needed to understand your customers on a deeper level. Once you understand how their lifestyles, cultures and beliefs affect their day-to-day lives and how they consume your marketing efforts, then you’re on your way to producing an inclusive marketing campaign.
You can go a step further by looking at the demographics of the people who didn’t go through with a purchase. Consider why. In some situations, it could be because your messaging doesn’t align with their beliefs, meaning they’re less likely to follow through.
Consumers don’t only want to see people similar to themselves in companies’ photoshoots; they also want to feel truly understood by the brand through their messaging as well. By employing a diverse team, you’re more likely to bridge the cultural gap between the company and the consumers, which inevitably makes understanding their needs significantly easier. Your team should reflect your market. For example, a team that includes women will be better equipped to sell bras than a team of men who have never worn one.
And if you’re in doubt - don’t be afraid to ask, listen and learn!
The easiest way to make a story feel authentic and heartfelt is to tell a real story from a real person. Google did this in their ‘A Moment in Search’ series. You can see their Black Girl Magic film here: shorturl.at/etQV9