As marketers, we all know how important demography is. We create market segmentation and focus our campaigns by showcasing people with common characteristics to represent the products and brands. It’s the basic practice used by all marketers in the world.
However, at times, I was wondering what will happen if a brand breaks the norm and come out with a different approach? Will it works?
That’s how inclusive marketing comes to play, the buzzword that has attracted many brands recently.
Well, not that “recent” by the way. Though it continues to become a trend, inclusive marketing is nothing new. It had set its foot decades ago. Remember the Coca-Cola’s jingle “I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke”?
As society becomes more diverse, concerns about diversity and equality issues are increasing too. That’s one reason why inclusive marketing is getting more limelight in recent years. It has grown to become a huge topic that every marketer should put their minds on and every brand should focus on.
In order to do it, you need to get a better understanding of inclusive marketing and why does it matter in business, let’s dive in.
What is inclusive marketing?
Inclusive means to cover or to include everything, not limited to certain things. Therefore, inclusive marketing can be defined as a communication strategy that reflects diversity by including people from all sorts of different backgrounds, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, and culture.
Instead of following the norm to highlights a segment of the audience, often the majority, inclusive marketing showcases the minorities and people who are being alienated before in the campaigns. It also changes our perspective that relates to people who are stereotypically portrayed.
For instance, featuring men instead of women in a cosmetic brand campaign. Or presenting a wide range of people from different races in a commercial.
You probably can’t feature every single characteristic in the campaign but encompassing a broad range of people is certainly feasible.
Why does inclusive marketing matter?
According to a survey conducted by Adobe in 2019, 61% of Americans find diversity is important in advertising.
Inclusive marketing matters because people think diversity matters. When a brand talks about how diverse our world is and how equality should be embraced, people find it heartwarming.
Inclusive ads usually appear to be quite emotional too, even tear-jerking, making them memorable and impactful. However, consumers tend to take one step further by verifying the commitment of people behind the business, from the board of directors, leaders, to the team behind the company. All of them are expected to live up to the messages. One mistake could crash the whole campaign.
But when done right, inclusive marketing can help brands reach new consumers while tightening the relationships with the existing customers.
Some examples of inclusive marketing
When you look closely, there are a number of brands that have promoted inclusivity in their marketing activities. Here are some examples:
The activewear brand has been continuously pursuing inclusivity in their marketing activities. As you can see, strength comes in every shape and size.
Another activewear brand to feature diversity in its campaign.
In this touching example, Hallmark shows a young girl with a hearing impairment using sign language to communicate.
Nike’s The Toughest Athletes campaign tells mothers-to-be and women in general that they are strong individuals.
If you’ve watched the video, you will understand how adorable the 2016’s Amazon Prime ad was. The commercial that was originally from Japan showcases a Japanese family and their pet dog, a story that was touching and uplifting.
In 1971, Coca-Cola spent $250,000 (around $1.6 million today) to create the most iconic ad, the “Hilltop” which features 65 young people from all over the world on the hilltop in Manziana, Italy. Each holding a Coke singing the song “I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke” which soon afterward become a hit song. The ad is also being recognized as one of the most beloved commercials of all time.
The campaigns work because they display the experiences that diverse audiences can relate to. In another sense, they make the underrepresented audiences feel welcome.
The world is evolving, technology is transforming and society is changing. Marketing methods that worked a decade ago might not be as effective anymore. That’s why new techniques are being designed once in a while.
Inclusive marketing makes you throw away everything you normally think about attracting the audience. It does not highlight the majority but instead, features those who have been previously underrepresented.
As marketers, it is our job to relay messages from brands to the audiences. It’s absolutely a good thing if we can help raise concerns on equality, decrease cultural bias and let the minorities voices out their stories.
And I am sure that many people reward brands that value diversity, resonate love, peace, and harmony for a better society.
If you have anything to share about inclusive marketing, please let me know in the comment section below.
Wahidin Wong is a digital marketer at Adkomu.com and an editor at Tobeeko.com. He is also a jazz and bossa lover.