Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has become a critical topic for brands as consumers demand to see themselves reflected in advertising campaigns and for brands to do good in the world. Especially as America’s population is becoming more diverse — 42% of the population is composed of people from multicultural backgrounds, according to 2020 Census data.
Inclusion matters to consumers, particularly Gen Z
A global study by Deloitte found that representative advertising at the point of purchase is most noticed by Generation Z and those from multicultural backgrounds.
This finding is strengthened by a Sprout Social survey this year, which found 73% of Gen Z social shoppers, and 72% of millennials, cite brand inclusivity as a factor in their purchase decision-making.
And 57% of all consumers express greater brand loyalty when brands demonstrably take action to address social inequities, per Deloitte.
How brands are becoming more inclusive
Instagram announced a brand refresh Monday, which includes a new Instagram Sans typeface designed in partnership with global language experts to make content more accessible and legible in different languages, including Arabic, Japanese and Thai. The refresh “is designed to embrace continued evolution to help us create more immersive and inclusive experiences for our community,” said the company in a blog post.
Earlier this month, Google announced a partnership with Harvard professor Dr. Ellis Monk to open-source his Monk Skin Tone (MST) Scale to facilitate more inclusive experiences for those with darker skin tones using machine learning and artificial intelligence. The company is using the scale to eliminate bias in image search results and applying it via “Real Tone” photo filters.
Ben & Jerry’s and Procter & Gamble are two brands highlighted in this article for their genuine commitment to inclusion. The former in particular for its backing of the Black Lives Matter movement and the latter also for its support of racial justice via its 2017 “The Talk” campaign. P&G has continued this focus on inclusion over the years, most recently for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with “The Name.”
How marketers can make their content more inclusive
The brands getting inclusion right are those with a genuine commitment to improving social inequities, as seen in the examples of Ben & Jerry’s and Procter & Gamble, and those creating tools or experiences designed with inclusivity in mind, such as Instagram and Google.
A new Unstereotype Alliance study, cited by Adweek, found 64% of marketers say their biggest challenge with diverse and inclusive marketing is a fear of “getting it wrong” and the UN Women-backed organization has released a “Conversations for Change” YouTube series to help marketers.
There’s so much advice on offer to brands on how to engage audiences by being more inclusive, but here’s our roundup of recent tips to help marketers put in place strategies to minimize the possibility of “getting it wrong:”
- Work with diverse media suppliers and creators to ensure the right voices are in the room and content is culturally relevant.
- Diversify internal teams.
- Ensure diversity, equity and inclusion strategies have transparent accountability metrics.
- Pay attention to societal attitudes and demonstrate action.
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