While politics and business were once believed to not mix, it’s becoming apparent that the rules have changed. Consumers are playing political hardball with their capital. It is no longer enough to have a good product; consumers want to see initiative when it comes to a company, to know that it truly cares about its values and the world around it. For businesses, this means that it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. You need to stand up for whatever your brand’s core values are. While there are many ways to achieve this, one of the foremost ways is through making your brand more inclusive, which can be attained through thoughtful, well-planned, inclusive marketing campaigns.
What Is Inclusive Marketing?
Inclusive marketing is an approach that allows companies to include, as much as possible, people from different backgrounds in their target audience. Ways these campaigns are approached may differ, but they come down to a central tenet; embrace diversity to reflect the needs of people, no matter who they are or where they came from. For some businesses, this involves speaking to the world, while for others it relies on dismantling centuries-old stereotypes.
While businesses may be stepping into diverse marketing, it’s not an easy task to undertake. For businesses that have not considered diverse marketing campaigns before, there are many considerations that must be taken into account. These include gender identity, sexual orientation, race, financial status, disabilities, and more.
By becoming inclusive, you are taking all of these lived experiences into account—how their lives are affected by implicit biases, stereotypes, and bigotry. But doing so requires knowing about the collective lives of these individuals—all so you can communicate with them rather than talk down to them.
Why Inclusive Marketing Matters
If you’re unsure of whether this concept is worth your time, you’re thinking in a dated way. It has become increasingly clear that consumers want social activism and awareness from companies, both small and enterprise-level. This fact needs to be heard by marketing professionals, as it is a concept that must be implemented.
How is it implemented? By working to represent the causes people stand for. With regard to diversity, this includes showing underrepresented classes and letting it be known that you see them—you understand their lived experience, and you are here to support their needs.
Does this mean showing nothing but an underrepresented group in your content? No. It means representing diversity all across your brand. This can include using stock photos featuring women, trans people, and people of color; featuring blog posts written by smaller content creators, who may also be minorities; sharing posts on Twitter related to social activism within minority communities; and showing you support activism outside of just your business.
The methods vary, but they all sum up to your company making a concentrated effort to support and promote voices that have often remained unheard.
Creating More Inclusive Marketing Campaigns
There’s no one way to craft an inclusive marketing campaign, but there are multiple considerations that, when taken into account, can lead you down the right path.
Think of Communities, Not Demographics
At the end of the day, your job as an affiliate, a social media marketer, or a copywriter is to speak to people. At no point should your content sound stereotypical, nor should it pander. You are speaking to people you want to include in your target audience; take the time to understand who they are, what they want to hear, and what they could need from you. While demographics can help lay the groundwork, it should not inform the content you’re creating. Think of how you can include groups of people in your content and work from there.
Listen to Your Customers
We tend to learn best when we listen. Rather than trying to understand a group of people like a scientist looking through a microscope, take the time to interact with the community you’re interested in including. Talking one-on-one with people is the best way to learn about their desires, interests, language, personality, culture, and more. Either do so through social media, consider conducting surveys, or simply connect with people when you can, to get their opinion on your approach and what they’d like to see from your industry.
Begin Internally Before You Start Working Externally
Before you start trying to change the world around you, consider promoting internal diversity, to begin with—especially within your marketing team. Such discussions and training will make it easier to begin implementing such policies in the workplace, ensuring all team members are on the same page, working toward the same inclusive end goal.
Talk About What Matters
If you ever saw Proctor & Gamble’s Emmy award-winning advertisement “The Talk,” you know what it means to talk the talk. Addressing racial biases head-on, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) created a short video that closely detailed that they …
- Were open to creating a discussion around race, one that might create change, and
- Understood what African American mothers go through, signaling that it, as a company, was there for them.
By creating a discussion and openly talking about the subject, P&G aligned themselves as a vessel and an ally. The company presented the narrative of what most Black mothers have to go through, making a commercial that would present that narrative to people of all cultures. This conversation could then spill out to public discussions, social media threads, and more.
By including the serious story, while making it as clear as possible, the company was able to advocate for this community while not standing in their way nor acting as if the company was a leader in charge. If anything, it was starting a discussion to make it easier for others to speak out.
Help Make the Change to an Inclusive World
Your business can do the same to promote diversity in this world. Whether you’re an affiliate marketer that decides to talk about gender equality across your social media profiles or an SEO content writer who writes a blog about why diversity in the workplace is needed, you’re creating spaces where so-called Others can finally feel welcome. By doing so, you can help to make the world feel less polarized and more inclusive for every human.