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The importance of making your marketing inclusive

bigstock-Multicultural-Team-Mixed-Ethni-403064918-jpgWe all know marketing should reflect real people, in the real world - it sounds straightforward enough. But how often do you see marketing that makes you say, “that doesn’t accurately reflect me”. The answer, of course, will depend on several factors, from your race and upbringing, to your sexuality and if you live with a disability.

Get outside of our own bubble

Jerry Daykin, an expert on inclusive marketing describes it as “just better marketing”. He adds: “It’s our job as marketers to understand all the different consumers that we try and talk to. And so, true inclusive marketing is just when we get outside of our own bubbles and we get outside of our own kind of narrow view of the world and we truly talk to all the consumers out there.”

Here's a stat that might just do the job of opening your eyes: overall, one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, live with a disability, and have nearly half a trillion dollars in disposable income.

Despite this, research into Facebook campaigns found that people with disabilities featured in only 1.1% adverts. Meanwhile, only 1% of travel marketing is representative of disabled travellers.

This underrepresentation is also seen in the LGBTQ+ community. Channel 4 found that LGBTQ+ individuals appeared in just 3% of ads, despite making up 6% of the UK population and even when they do, Karmarama discovered 72% of this audience thought their inclusion was simply tokenistic.

Getting the messaging right

There’s no doubt brands have become better at representing different ethnicities, with black representation in marketing doubling between 2015-18, yet research this year by the ASA has found that BAME groups were almost three times more likely to feel under-represented or not represented at all in ads (66%) than White respondents (23%). Around half of the participants from BAME groups said they are not portrayed accurately.

It’s not just different ethnic groups that you risk upsetting by resorting to broad strokes and tired stereotypes – get the tone wrong and you could find your main target audience coming for you.

In a recent study by the University of Portsmouth, it was found that a growing number of consumers are prepared to “call out anything seen as damaging to another group in society”.

Commenting on this “so-called woke generation”, lead researcher Karen Middleton said: “This is a group of socially active and aware people who are increasingly intolerant of transgressions, particularly in relation to social justice.”

She adds that if brands are “relying on old fashioned tropes, it’s now much more likely they’ll be called out”.

As we’ve explored in our Gen Z blog post, younger people want to see more progressive brands, with statements around inclusivity backed up with action. 


Representation = results

Aside from doing the right thing, there’s plenty of commercial reasons to get representation right. A Meta study analysing the results of 25 brand lift studies found that ads with a more diverse representation had a higher ad recall in more than 90% of the simulations, something that’s incredibly important during these challenging economic times.

Content built for brand and performance 

Whether you are considering content for brand or performance, we can help with campaigns designed to deliver. Contact us today to see how we create and distribute inclusive, on-brand content that performs.