These days consumers aren’t just buying your products, they’re buying your brand values. Which means you need to know your audience and realize your content marketing strategy isn’t a one size fits all. Your customers must be able to connect and identify themselves with your brand. It’s not a one-trick pony, but a culture. One that helps you cultivate a deeper and more meaningful connection with your audience. In this blog post, we’re highlighting five tips and tricks to cultivate an inclusive brand.
Most of the time, people get diversity and inclusivity mixed up. To put it simply: Diversity means being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. Like we said: it’s a state of mind. A culture.
Being an inclusive brand isn’t always easy. It takes time, effort and a lot of care. So, no it’s not just a box you can tick off. It’s about making a solid effort to include or properly represent diverse people in your campaigns. Not sure where to start? These five tips will put you on the right track.
From care to wear
In this ever-evolving world, you can’t build an inclusive brand without an inclusive culture. More and more, brands are realizing that inclusion is a core value they need to incorporate into their business strategy. But that surely isn’t enough. Practice what you preach. Make sure that everyone in your organisation cares about and wears the value of inclusion. In short: it should be part of your brand DNA.
By creating a culture where everyone feels respected for their differences, you’ll increase the satisfaction and retention of your employees. It will equally result in new and more creative ideas, because your employees will feel more comfortable expressing themselves. Keep in mind that employee engagement matters. Organising inclusive team buildings where everyone feels at ease will lead to a more engaged and committed team.
Grow your knowledge
Nobody’s perfect and everybody makes mistakes. We’re all human, right? The importance of inclusion lies in the will to do better and being eager to learn. One of the most effective ways is to learn from experts. But that isn’t the only way. Read books, watch documentaries, follow inclusive public speakers on social media, … etc.
Listening is equally important. Listen to those unlike you, it fuels inclusion. And it helps you to find out what your audience cares about. In fact, it drastically improves your inclusion factor. Even better? Make customer diversity your biggest asset by including it in your marketing campaigns. If you highlight real stories from people with different backgrounds driven by unique motivations, it lets your audience connect with your brand on a deeper level.
Take a note from dating app Bumble who used actual users in their campaign, showcasing that inspiring people come in all shapes and sizes.
Be aware of the way interruptions and over-talking could lead to your audience feeling disrespected. See it more as a conversation, whether than a traditional campaign. Through active listening, you’ll get a sense of the reasons why and what you need to keep in mind to be more inclusive. To generate long-term benefits, it requires continual effort.
Be thoughtful about visuals and language
No surprise here: visuals and language can get your audience hooked or can leave them saying “no thank you”. How to get it right? Well, keeping your audience in mind is a great starting point, but it’s equally a good move to work with a divers creative team. They will help you to challenge stereotypes, which results in imagery that’s representative.
The same goes for language. Using the wrong words can offend people and get your brand into hot water. So, learn to use inclusive language that’s free from slang, stereotypes and appropriations. Your best friends should be empathy, context and nuance. It doesn’t just apply to your marketing campaigns, but it must be part of your tone of voice as a brand. Be as mindful of your job description and webpages, as you’re about your marketing efforts.
Make the customer experience accessible
This one is all about user experience and how your audience interacts with your brand. So, think about what tools you can use to make marketing accessible to everyone. Introduce alternate text and screen reader compatibility, so anyone can see, hear, and experience what’s on the site. Design should include not only colours, but also labels, so users who are colourblind can understand the information.
It’s both an accessibility and inclusivity effort as well as one in personalization, and for marketers, it can mean the difference between winning over a customer or losing them for good.
Inclusive recruitment strategies
To create a more inclusive culture, you need to hire people with the right mindset. By making your recruitment strategies more inclusive, you’ll be able to reach more diverse voices, opinions and talents. Writing inclusive job descriptions is only one part of the job. If you really want to take it to the next level, start thinking about the following questions too:
- Where are you placing the ads?
- Are you taking different groups into account who may want to apply?
- Who’s going to do the interviews?
- Which questions will be asked?
- How will you score each applicant’s answers?
If you think about it, no one wants to or should feel excluded. That’s what inclusion is all about. Changing patterns and behaviour isn’t as easy as we wish. But, totally worth it. Because, effective marketing is about bringing people together, helping them connect and solving their problems.