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how big brands are benefiting from diversity in ads

In the marketing industry, new trends and buzzwords frequently permeate literature and bombard your inbox. Inclusive marketing, although it may appear to be a trend, is not. It is a movement within the advertising world. One which some of the world’s biggest brands are embracing and seeing phenomenal results for. Aside from the multiple business benefits of this approach, it is also just good authentic advertising.

what is inclusive marketing?

Inclusive marketing is when brands embrace diversity by including people from different races, genders, backgrounds and physical abilities. By using diverse actors in their campaigns, advertisers create a unique and real story which their customers can relate to. The two most common aims of inclusive marketing are to depict life as it is in the real world and to break stereotypes.

NikeWomen have done incredible work in both of these areas. The brand’s strength not only lies in using inclusive marketing well but also in doing their research and creating culture-specific content. The campaign tackled gender stereotypes across the Middle East, Russia and Turkey. Each ad challenged cultural norms that women in these countries face daily.

Catering to different groups who have been misrepresented or underrepresented helps brands connect with a larger audience, on a more meaningful level. This ultimately impacts your bottom line by increasing customer loyalty, life time value and sales.

Microsoft captured this well when releasing their adaptive controller. The campaign launched their new product by focusing on the audience they had created it for; children with disabilities or missing limbs. The brand addressed diversity by developing a product which not only highlights Microsoft’s tech abilities, but also contributes something meaningful to a specific customer. 

challenges to implementing inclusive marketing 

Aside from the challenge of motivating why your creative should go in a new direction, there are other factors to be aware of when planning your inclusive marketing campaign.

stock images are not enough:

Inclusive marketing is more than simply using a stock image in your creative which depicts diversity. There are more things to consider. For example, a culturally-diverse group of women may be represented in your ads but how are they represented, what are they doing and what does this say about their role in society? Ariel began combating gender stereotypes in India with their #ShareTheLoad campaign, challenging parents to teach their sons to help with laundry and breaking the social norm of women doing all the housework. 

no one likes a “cultural tourist”:

Most people can see the difference between what’s been made for them and what’s been made by them. One way to avoid this is to hire a diverse team. Having a variety of people working on projects allows different voices to be heard and problems to be solved from other perspectives. This not only encourages more inclusive marketing but has other benefits too.

the benefits outweigh the challenges

Apart from helping the world move towards a more inclusive space, there are business benefits to inclusive marketing which will impact your bottom line.

brand reputation:

The perception of your brand has a direct impact on market share and brands that fail to build a positive perception are suffering. The famous lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, has taken a knock as it no longer appeals to women who do not feel accurately represented. While more inclusive underwear brands like ThirdLove, who sell “bras and underwear for every body”, have done incredibly well and are challenging Victoria’s Secret in more ways than one.

increase sales:

Be like Rihanna and cater to audiences that bigger brands have failed to account for. When launching her beauty brand, Fently Beauty, Rihanna approached the market from a different perspective. She created a brand which catered to women of all skin tones. Her brand, which introduced 40 different shades, revolutionized the makeup industry. And larger brands have since followed suit. This simple tactic earned the brand trust and positive feedback, as well as US$100million in its first 40 days of launching.

main take away

Living in a society which for the longest time has favoured certain groups over others, one way to build trust and make your brand stand out is to embrace inclusive marketing. Research shows that 70% of millennials are more likely to choose brands which demonstrate inclusion over brands which do not. And as the bulk of the buying market, you want to appeal to them.

Inclusivity is not a trend, it’s the next evolution of marketing. It’s how authentic marketing should be; a true representation of those who engage with your brand. There may be brands out there, bigger brands even, with the same product as you. Make yourself stand out by offering your customers something unique- diversity and inclusivity.

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