What is Inclusive Marketing?
Inclusion – the action or state of including or being included within a group or structure. What a definition… using the word include twice! 2018 has proven to be a time that emphasizes equality and diversity. You see “the trend” all over advertisements and integrated through marketing strategies. But what exactly is inclusive marketing and how is implementing it into your company going to help your bottom line?
As Forbes stated, Inclusive Marketing strives to create a visual culture that is more representative of the global population. Striving to depict families, people, and culture that is indicative of what is reality. The “token” African American person or the stereotypical white suburban picket fence family just won’t cut it anymore… consumers are demanding accuracy. Diversity and inclusion is about celebrating our differences and understanding that it is okay to have histories and appreciate both the commonality and the juxtaposition of each individual. Now, there is a fine line between emphasizing stereotypes and wanting to reach new demographics. This isn’t about being “on trend” or suddenly having a voice in the social justice realm because everyone else is! It is about creating a voice for your brand that includes demographics and highlights your values.
Often times diversity is seen as boxes to check for your company where as inclusion is more indicative of the experience and equity the brand creates. Inclusive marketing recognizes and thinks about the impact their advertisements could have more so than just the intent behind them. Advertisements can easily misrepresent people, exclude individuals, and offend that is why inclusive marketing aims to proceed with mindfulness. With people becoming increasingly less tolerant to sexist, racist, homophobic… (the list goes on) material, if marketers are unwilling to learn or think inclusively it could easily result in your company needing to spend money on damage control rather than changing your lens to better represent your brand ideals, increase your sensitivity, and include your customers.
Look at a modern day example of inclusive marketing success (because there are plenty of failures). For years, Mattel had been getting requests from customers to include Barbies representing different faces and body types. Finally, they incorporated the criticism from customers and launched a line that was exactly that – more representative and inclusive. It has been a great success!
If you feel like your company doesn’t necessarily know how to tackle marketing from a more inclusive angle reach out and get support. Ask your team, hire a marketing agency, or look towards media for examples or what to do and what not to do!