Inclusive marketing is key to connecting with wider audiences and building stronger bonds with customers already loyal to your brand.
Inclusive Marketing Trends to Improve Brand Connection
Marketing your business to potential customers is essential to increasing your revenue and sales, and inclusive marketing ensures messaging, visuals and experiences are crafted for diverse audiences.
Inclusive brand marketing is critical to building strong bonds with consumers and standing out in an industry. It goes beyond doing the right thing. It won’t be long before it becomes the norm due to societal shifts in demographics and viewpoints.
Seventy per cent of Gen Z consumers are more willing to trust brands that offer diversity in their advertising. An equally important 40 per cent say they stop buying from brands that don’t align with their values, reports Microsoft Advertising.
Consumers are more aware of conversations regarding diversity, equity and inclusion than in the past. Building a sustainable brand means understanding this and evolving to meet the changing needs and demands of your customers, your community and society.
What is inclusive brand marketing?
Inclusive brand marketing is expanding your strategy to include individuals and groups historically excluded due to underrepresentation or stereotyping. You should review every element of your strategy to consider who is represented and how.
Marketing needs to reflect real world diversity, yet over half of consumers surveyed by Facebook indicated they do not feel culturally represented in online advertising. The consumer population is continuing to diversify. As an inclusive brand, you need to embrace these individuals and groups in your marketing.
True inclusivity means welcoming all audiences and potential customers to your brand by ignoring stereotypes and breaking down biases and assumptions. When customers can see themselves in your marketing visuals and identify with your messaging, they’re more likely to connect with your brand and begin to build brand loyalty.
It’s time to look closely at your marketing and consider how you may be missing or alienating specific audiences and even contributing to stereotypes. (It’s important to note these assessments should be made by a diverse group of reviewers, as bias exists even among those with good intentions.)
Does your brand include and celebrate the diversity of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, faith/religion, abilities, body size and type, economic status, and education? Are individuals from diverse groups portrayed in ways that reflect real life? If not, how can you expand your marketing to appeal to these audiences and welcome them to your brand?
It may be time to update your buyer personas and audience targeting information. Building an inclusive brand means taking a close look at your target audiences and exploring how bias may have played into their development.
Inclusive brand marketing is more than a trend that is sweeping the industry. It’s a powerful combination of consumer awareness, societal expectations and brands demonstrating a commitment to their business communities.
Inclusive marketing can offer tangible benefits to your business. People are more likely to consider or purchase a product after seeing an inclusive or diverse ad, with 64 per cent of survey respondents indicating they have done so, according to Google.
Here are a few ways inclusive marketing benefits businesses:
- It improves brand connection and loyalty.
- It meets consumer demand for diversity and inclusion of all audiences.
- It creates expanded audiences and a larger customer base.
- It increases the potential for profitability from larger audiences.
- It bolsters sustainability and helps build long-term resilience.
Today’s consumers are more likely than those in the past to flag mainstream marketing as a fallacy. Even if they are part of a majority demographic, their expectations of their favourite brands are changing as they become more socially conscious and aware of sustainability goals that contribute to a more equitable society.
Inclusive marketing will create strong connections with your customers and build a resilient business. Without it, you risk limiting your potential customer base and alienating potential audiences simply by not including them as you develop your marketing strategy.
It’s worth the time to regularly assess your marketing strategy to consider who you’re targeting with your marketing and why. More significantly, you should look for the audiences you may be overlooking.
Here are four tips to help you implement inclusive marketing strategies:
1. Update your messaging
The best ad copy and marketing messages tell relatable stories. These written elements can help attract customers and help your audiences see themselves using your product or service and experiencing your brand in their own lives. Review your current marketing materials to see which narratives you use and whose stories you are telling.
2. Refresh your visuals
The visual elements of your marketing materials are often the first thing people notice. When customers see your brand online, do they see themselves reflected there? Can they recognize their experiences in the marketing imagery and videos you use? Look for diversity in the types of visuals you use in your marketing, and try to provide a broad range of visuals that incorporate underrepresented individuals and groups.
3. Improve user experience
Inclusion welcomes all and provides an equitable experience to all who come into contact with your brand. When implementing inclusive marketing, it’s a good idea to review your website design’s user experience and accessibility level. Accessible design considers users with visual or hearing impairments. A great approach is to have diverse users test your site to see if they can access the full functionality, read all the content, and take the next step with your company. It may be time to explore design updates that expand access to more people.
4. Don’t spotlight your brand’s inclusion efforts
Your brand is not the hero of the story you’re telling regarding inclusion. Efforts to bolster diversity in your marketing are a social responsibility and a way to contribute positively to your industry. Inclusive brand marketing is an investment in a sustainable future and a commitment to customers to do better. Tell the story of diverse individuals and groups, not the story of your brand.
5. Expand diversity in your organization
Decisions in every department — not just marketing — impact your brand’s inclusivity. Product development, business development, senior management, sales and service — every point of contact with your company can help or hurt your goals for inclusivity. Representation is essential on your team and among chief decision makers to help steer your organization toward more inclusive marketing and operations. Hire, promote and empower diverse voices throughout your organization.
It’s also important to remember that consumer expectations have changed over the past few years, with high-profile media stories and global movements sparking intense discussions about racism. As a result, many brands came forward in support of targeted groups. Consumers will be watching to see which companies back up their statements of support with tangible actions that will move the needle on diversity and inclusion targets.
If your brand hasn’t taken credible action toward inclusive marketing, you may have to do damage control as your customers lose their positive impressions of your organization.
Building an inclusive brand is critical to growing your audiences and ensuring the long-term success of your business. If you’re ready to expand your potential customer base and unlock new audiences, download our buyer persona template or get your free consultation with one of our expert media sales consultants. We are here to help your business grow.