Between 2010 and 2019, the population of the United States grew by 19.5 million people, according to the Census Bureau. And as of 2020, there is no longer a majority ethnic group of people in this country younger than 18. Given the dramatic shift in our country’s demographics, it’s critically important that more brands market their products and services inclusively.
In 2022, approximately “74% of the general population felt that their purchasing decisions were influenced by their ethical beliefs,” according to Latana’s Ethics in Marketing Report. It’s vital that marketers think in advance about how to set up brand experiences that focus on incorporating inclusivity. In order to reach a broader audience, you must be authentic and purpose-driven.
Why inclusive marketing practices matter
Implementing inclusive practices can provide equal access to resources and opportunities for marginalized or excluded groups. These groups might include people who suffer from intellectual and physical disabilities or who belong to minority groups. Consumers are more inclined to interact with and remain loyal to a company when they believe it aligns with their own beliefs.
Today, it’s crucial for your business to adopt an inclusive approach to its purpose and marketing strategies. By displaying support for all groups of people, your brand can affect positive social change. It can also send a message to consumers that your company cares about the same things they do. If you want to increase your customer base, improve your image or foster brand loyalty, you can’t afford to ignore diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. You need to take these steps all the way from the briefing process to execution and beyond.
One misconception about DEI is that diversity, equity and inclusion are all the same. Though all three are critical elements, inclusivity is focused on creating an environment where all people, no matter how different, feel appreciated and valued for their unique perspectives.
Not offering an inclusive experience may provide opportunities for negative PR and can significantly limit your reach when it comes to growing your customer base. As the census shows, younger generations are much more diverse and varied than their more seasoned counterparts, and their buying power is only expected to increase as they get older. When considering the future, it is essential to implement inclusive practices today.
How to keep content and marketing initiatives inclusive at all stages
When creating an inclusive brand experience, it is crucial to incorporate opportunities for engagement for all types of consumers at every touch point during the creative process. This includes:
You need to ensure that all of your pre-promotional campaigns are welcoming and inviting. Your campaigns should include diverse faces and voices that truly reach out and speak to all audiences equally. Implementing these early practices can help ensure you share your message and product with the largest audience possible.
Throughout your customer’s journey, you’ll want to ensure that the event or experience you provide is accessible to everyone. Consider potential barriers that may prevent people from engaging. Are there audio or visual components that might be inaccessible to some? Are color tones or textures visible to all eyes? Can customers enjoy your experience in more than one language? Consider providing a variety of activities that people of diverse ages, abilities and backgrounds can enjoy.
It is important your team is on board with inclusive practices. Namely, your team should be open and receptive to feedback from every attendee. This feedback can come through a survey or one-on-one engagement. The best way to improve practices and continue learning and diversifying your brand is to hear from the audience directly. Consider their voices and opinions and help them feel like they are part of the planning process by offering these opportunities for engagement before, during and after the experience.
Ultimately, creating a genuinely inclusive brand experience is integral to any successful marketing strategy. No matter who your target audience is, it’s essential for all business owners to recognize the diverse needs of its customers. From there, they should take measures to ensure their products and services are accessible to all. This creates a positive customer experience, building trust and fostering loyalty toward your brand, and ultimately encouraging users to become lifelong fans of your product or service.
Farah Brigante is Group Creative Director at Inspira Marketing. She has 15+ years of creative and design experience, performing creative ideation and strategy for leading brands such as Starbucks, Simple Skin Care, Frito-Lay, Alouette Cheese, Bayer Healthcare, Unilever and PepsiCo. Most recently, she’s been leading the creative charge on the client engagement team at Inspira creating brand experiences for clients like National Geographic, Waterloo Sparkling Water, Bic Razors, Save The Children, American Express and illy Coffee.