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Tips for inclusive marketing practices that go beyond the diverse social images!

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Two people of colour sit with a white woman, chatting and smiling. The main person in the image is a young women with brown slin and long black hair in a very long pony tail. She wears a yellow top and sits in front of a laptop
To create more inclusive marketing, you need to review your practices to keep up with changes in audiences.

Marketing brands needs to incorporate more inclusive marketing practices to remain relevant to the changing audiences out there. Why? Well for starters, they're already losing out on billions of consumers' cash by not being more inclusive. But they also have a responsibility to reflect society more accurately.

Becoming more inclusive in marketing is an exciting opportunity to flex your research, planning and storytelling muscles!

If you're new to this way of working, I get it - it can be overwhelming and daunting. So I've created a simple list of suggestions that I hope will help you plan to becoming more inclusive in your marketing.

  • Educate yourself: Stay informed about social issues, diversity, and inclusion by reading books, articles, and attending workshops or webinars on topics like cultural sensitivity, unconscious bias, and inclusive marketing.

  • Diversify your team: Foster a diverse team of individuals from different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and abilities. Diverse perspectives bring fresh ideas and insights, which can lead to more inclusive marketing strategies. This isn't always possible, I know, but in the long term, it's worth recruiting differently offering more remote roles.

  • Conduct market research: Ensure that your market research efforts reflect the diversity of your target audience. Collect data that includes various demographics and use it to inform your marketing strategies.

Two black women stand closely together, holding ice lollies. One ice lolly is rainbow coloured.
Be authentic in your inclusive practices.
  • Representation matters: Be mindful of the images and messages you use in your marketing materials. Represent people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and abilities to create an inclusive brand image that resonates with a wide range of customers.

  • Avoid stereotypes: Challenge and avoid stereotypes in your marketing content. Portray people in a realistic and respectful manner, avoiding tokenism or caricatures that perpetuate biases.

  • Avoid colour washing: Be authentic. Don't colour-wash - only use images which are truly representative of your organisation. e.g. avoid using diverse images depicting your workforce if it isn't already diverse. But using them in other content is OK.

  • Use inclusive language: Review your marketing copy for inclusive language. Avoid gendered or exclusionary terms and opt for gender-neutral, inclusive, and respectful language that welcomes all individuals. In my copy, I capitalise 'B' in Black and Brown when referring to people of colour. Do your research if you'd like to dig deeper into the roots of such language use. American and Canadian content is particularly helpful as those countries are more advanced in their inclusive practices. Here's more inclusive copywriting advice.

Two students of colour sit together at an outdoors table with a laptop. The woman has long bleached and brown curly hair, and the man has a reversed black cap on his head.
Look to North America for the latest in progressive inclusive language.
  • Accessibility is key: Ensure that your marketing materials, including websites, emails, and social media posts, are accessible to people with disabilities. Follow web accessibility guidelines and make sure that everyone can engage with your content.

  • Collaborate with diverse influencers: Partner with influencers from various backgrounds and communities to promote your brand. Authentic collaborations can help expand your reach and demonstrate inclusivity to your target audience.

  • Engage with your community: Actively listen and engage with your audience on social media and other platforms. Respond to feedback, address concerns, and show that you value and respect the opinions and experiences of your customers.

  • Monitor and analyse your results: Regularly measure the impact of your inclusive marketing efforts. Monitor engagement, conversions, and feedback to assess the effectiveness of your strategies and make improvements as needed.

A woman of East Asian heritage sits at a desk with a laptop, and writes notes as she looks at her phone.
Keep a close eye on the outcomes of your strategies.
  • Foster an inclusive company culture: Create an inclusive work environment where employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. Inclusive marketing starts from within, so ensure your company culture reflects your commitment to diversity and inclusion.

  • Hire diverse suppliers: Work with suppliers and vendors who prioritise diversity and inclusion. Seek out minority-owned or women-owned businesses, and support organisations that are committed to equitable practices. In your tenders, include requirements to help you filter the most suitable suppliers.

  • Continuously learn and adapt: Stay up-to-date with evolving societal norms and changes in diversity and inclusion practices. Continually adapt your marketing strategies accordingly to ensure ongoing inclusivity and relevancy.

Remember, inclusivity in marketing is an ongoing process and you can't change longstanding strategies overnight! But by taking step-by-step actions, you can create a more inclusive marketing approach that resonates with diverse audiences and fosters a positive brand image.

If you'd like more guidance, work with me as a consultant or coach:

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