By Ronald Dod
American society isn’t just more diverse than it’s ever been – that diversity is now highly visible. More than ever, consumers are demanding marketing that pays attention to representation and shows the American public as it is: A huge and varied spectrum of races, bodies, genders and socioeconomic classes.
It’s understandable that some companies are struggling with these new standards – after all, things have changed rapidly in the past decade – but it’s time for anyone who’s been on the fence to start making an active attempt to create better representation in their marketing. Today, we’ll take a look at a few key questions that can help your team create respectful, inclusive and, ultimately, more effective marketing campaigns.
How is diversity defined?
First, let’s talk about what we mean by the term “diversity.” You might hear the word tossed around a lot, but what does it mean on a practical level? Diversity, as we’re going to be discussing it, is:
- Creating spaces and media that are inclusive to people of color, people with disabilities, people outside the gender binary and more.
- Acknowledging the existence of and representing these people in your marketing campaigns.
- Following established best practices for using language about race, gender, disabilities, etc.
- Avoiding harmful stereotypes and not using race, gender or disability as a punchline.
While these definitions will be helpful, it’s equally important to figure out what diversity means to your business specifically. It might mean fixing the representation in your ads when it doesn’t accurately reflect your brand’s demographics, or it might mean taking a stand on an issue that’s important to many people in your audience. For some businesses, it may even mean acknowledging harmful things that have been associated with your brand in the past and taking responsibility for them.
Why does diversity in digital marketing matter?
So, why is it so important that your digital marketing campaigns feature inclusive representation? Several different studies suggest that there are a variety of ways that diversity matters in marketing, including:
- 80 percent of marketers agree that using diverse representation in ads helps a brand’s reputation.
- Millennials and Generation Z consumers alike prefer media with diverse casts, view ads with diverse representation more favorably and are more comfortable with brands taking social stances.
- Aiming products and campaigns at previously unserved markets can create great new revenue streams, as the story of Fenty Beauty’s expanded foundation range shows.
- Diversity and representation are top drivers of engagement with content and Black millennial audiences have actively asked for more in surveys.
Diversity in digital marketing also has a defensive side. A solid grounding in diversity principles is important for reducing costly gaffes and potential PR disasters such as <a target="_blank" …read more
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