Gen Z is the most diverse generation in American history. Consumers’ expectations are changing and marketers who are slow to adjust will quickly lose market share. In a recent research study by Quantilope, Gen Zers made clear that they want brands to step up their efforts around representation. 76% of Gen Zers said they feel diversity and inclusion is an important topic for brands to address, compared to 72% of millennials, 63% of Gen Xers, and 46% of Baby Boomers who felt the same.
First, let’s define it. What exactly is “diversity”?
At its most basic definition, diversity is the involvement of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The value of diversity, however, is much deeper than that. It’s about inclusion. It’s about welcoming and celebrating the unique voices that have always been present and worthy of being represented.
According to HubSpot, racial and ethnic minorities make up 40% of the U.S. population, 4.5% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ, and more than 40 million Americans have a disability. Even with their significant presence and purchasing power, these groups are not represented equally in marketing.
What does successful inclusive marketing look like?
Inclusive marketing describes campaigns that embrace diversity by representing people from a variety of backgrounds. Some of these campaigns may have the goal of breaking stereotypes and making social commentary, but others just reflect the real world (HubSpot).
Many companies have implemented more inclusive ideals into their marketing in ways that successfully represent the diversity of voices in their audience as well as boost their brand.
Brands can grow financially while promoting positive and affirming representation of diverse groups of people. It’s a win-win, friends.
One example of successful inclusive marketing is Microsoft’s “We All Win” ad.
The video features kids with physical disabilities as they play video games with Microsoft’s adaptive controllers. Microsoft is effective at emotionally connecting with the audience and depicting the real-world stories of these kids with disabilities, while still promoting their brand.
Another example is Google’s “The Picture Perfect Life” ad.
The ad gives tiny glimpses into the lives of real people. Google features individuals from a variety of ages and races and challenges viewers to “question your lens,” because one picture does not tell a whole story.
Why should brands care?
More and more, consumers are expecting companies’ online marketing to be diverse and inclusive. Customers are actually more likely to support and be loyal to brands that promote diversity.
A 2018 study from Heat Agency analyzed ads from 50 brands and scored them on their diversity efforts. The research found that the brands that scored the highest had an average of a 44% stock increase over the previous two years and were 83% more likely to see a boost in their brand reputation scores.
When brands commit to their diversity efforts, it benefits the brands and the consumers. Again, nobody loses here.
Inclusion in online marketing is even more essential than in traditional marketing as younger demographics are the primary audiences for many digital advertising campaigns. As kids and young adults are finding their places in the world, it is so impactful for them to see themselves represented in the content they view online, even in the ads they come across.
Brands have to improve on inclusion in their digital marketing in order to keep up with the growingly diverse consumer market and truly connect with their audiences.
How can brands take a step in the right direction?
Showing genuine stories is essential. A great first step to take is reaching out to real customers and even employees with unique stories and backgrounds to learn what your brand means to them. This will provide insight into the diversity of people that exist within your audience and inform ways to emotionally connect with them in your marketing.
No matter what, keep your customers or clients at the center of everything you do. This is a good rule for every aspect of your business, not just marketing. Without customers, brands would not exist. Seek to understand your customers’ unique stories and struggles, and search for ways your company can celebrate those stories and ease those struggles.
Diversity and inclusion in marketing require direct action and deep transformation of brands’ current marketing strategies. But it is worth it to equally and accurately represent the diverse communities that exist in our society.
If you are ready to transform your digital marketing strategy and boost your brand, contact us today to learn how our team can help you.