Does Diversity + Inclusion Matter In Digital Marketing?
Of course it does! Now more than ever it is so important to ensure we have diverse and inclusive representation in our marketing campaigns. You just have to look at the Nike’s ‘take the knee’ ad. Yes, it did spark controversy with some, but Nike stuck to what they believed. They never pulled the plug or apologised for the ad and, in turn, saw a rise of 36% in digital sales.
There have been a number of studies that show just how much diversity matters in marketing. Shutterstock ran a survey with 1500 digital marketers, and 80% of them agreed that using diverse and inclusive representation would help a brand’s reputation.
Why is Diversity + Inclusion important in digital marketing?
Millennials and, in particular, Gen Z prefer and are attracted to media and brands with more diverse casts and advertisements. They are also more likely to stick with that brand because of this. If you have tried and failed to engage with a younger market, lack of diversity could be the reason why. Targeting new markets for the first time will create more revenue if done right.
Diversity and inclusion are key drivers of engagement with content, especially from diverse groups themselves. Creating more inclusive content that is written and designed by a diverse workforce will also highlight you as an employer of choice.
Ensuring you have a diverse and inclusive workplace can also give you reassurance as a business that the content you are making is created with the right and best intentions. Take for instance the disaster that was the Kendal Jenner Pepsi advert back in 2017. Having people in the room who have the lived experience and knowledge of D+I will ensure your content is authentic and transparent.
How can we make digital marketing for ourselves and our clients more diverse?
It won’t just happen overnight, and it needs to come from the core of your business. You need to believe in it and adopt it for yourself first. That way, D+I will be authentic from the beginning.
I once read that ‘diversity is like growing a flower garden, you have to prepare the soil first, so the best way is to start with your team.’ Train them, help them, and educate the leadership team. Commit to a Diversity + Inclusion strategy, and bring it in line with your existing company strategy. And once your people understand D+I, it will be far easier for them to create inclusive marketing material.
Explore more inclusive hiring practices, widen the net, engage with ‘modern universities’, and reach out to schools. Yes, this will be a longer process of nurturing talent, but think about how rewarding it will be to give a youngster the opportunity to explore an industry they may never have heard of.
One hire will not be enough however. Like with any project, you should have a mixture of all groups (where possible) to enhance the creativity of the discussion. This should come more naturally as more diverse talent is hired. However, the hiring of diverse talent won’t ‘fix things’. You cannot use your diverse hires to certify that everything you are doing is ‘inclusive and diverse’. On this note, make sure that your team are aware of the differences between positive action and position discrimination when it comes to recruitment.
Make sure you are engaging with diverse groups during the market research stage on creating campaigns. As mentioned before, the newer generations resonate with diverse and inclusive brands and will stick with them for the long term. Find out how this applies to your industry.
This may be engaging with a diverse range of influencers, for example, but also remember to work with Diversity + Inclusion businesses to make the promises your diverse marketing makes a reality. And lastly, pay people their worth. If you are using influencers, speakers or agencies, never ask them to do work for free. Think of how you would feel if a client did it to you…