From restaurant dining options to casting in movies, it seems like everything is evolving to include more variety, and why not? Variety is the spice of life, no?
If this made you roll your eyes, I’m right there with you.
Glance at my name and my headshot and this may surprise you to hear me say inclusion and diversity can’t and shouldn’t be justified with cliche adages like this.
Furthermore, they shouldn’t be justified solely as “the right thing to do” socially. While this may be true in most cases, there is more to consider, especially in business and the case for inclusive marketing, and truly it comes down to the fact that modern buyer has changed.
I am a fierce advocate for diversity in marketing and representation in media. As a young, Indo-Caribbean woman born to immigrants, I‘ve rarely seen people like me in the media I encounter — but I’m also a keen businesswoman.
That's why my advocacy is not just about my own experience as a consumer. My support of inclusive marketing is not purely based on wanting to be seen, heard, or represented, but because, as a marketer and They Ask, You Answer follower, I see the changing face of buyers in every industry.
12. Brands with the highest diversity scores see an 83% higher consumer preference. (Heat Test Report)
13. 64% of consumers surveyed said they took some sort of action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive. (Think With Google)
14. 70% of younger millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers, 66% in terms of their in-store experience, and 68% in their product range. (Accenture Holiday Shopping survey)
15. 69% of older millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers, 72% in terms of their in-store experience, and 70% in their product range. (Accenture Holiday Shopping survey)
16. 69% of Black consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand whose advertising positively reflects their race/ethnicity. (Think With Google)
17. 71% of LGBTQ+ consumers are more likely to interact with an online ad that authentically represents their sexual orientation. (Think With Google)
24. 34% of U.K. marketers say they’ve used racially diverse models in recent campaigns, and 21% have used more images featuring ‘non-professional’ models within the past few years. (Shutterstock)
25. 65% of U.S. marketers who are featuring more non-traditional families in imagery are doing so to best represent modern-day society, while 57% are featuring more non-professional models. (Shutterstock)
26. 91% of U.S. marketers agreed with the statement “There is still room for growth in using more diverse images by marketers.” (Shutterstock)
27. Multicultural advertising and marketing spending is on pace to rise 4.5% in 2019 to slightly more than $27 billion and is projected to increase 6.3% in 2020 to $28.7 billion.
28. 66% of African Americans, and 53% of Latinx Americans feel their ethnicity is portrayed stereotypically in advertisements. (Adobe)
29. 90% of ads didn’t include people of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. (Heat Test Report)
30. While one out of four people live with a disability, only 1% of ads represent them. (Heat Test Report)
31. 94% of the brands had at least one occurrence of women in a primary role, 57% of which were in positions of power, but even half of those roles still featured a stereotypical element like empathetic mom, devoted wife, or boy-focused girl. (Heat Test Report)
In other words, while women have been given prominent representation in ads and marketing, the portrayals are heavily rooted in stereotypical gender roles and expectations.
32. Male characters are 1.3x more likely than female characters to be shown working, and 1.6x more likely to be shown in the office. (Facebook Advertising)
33. Female characters in marketing and advertising are 14.1x more likely than male characters to be shown in revealing clothing, 6.9x more likely to be visually or verbally objectified, and 6.1x more likely to be shown in a state of partial nudity or to be physically objectified. (Facebook Advertising)
At the same time, female characters are 4.8x more likely than male characters to be shown as very skinny. Female characters are 2x more likely than male characters to be shown cooking and to be depicted as primary caregivers.
34. Male characters are 2.4x more likely than female characters to be shown angry and 1.4x less likely to be shown as happy. (Facebook Advertising)
35. Ethnic minorities are 2x less likely than white characters to be shown as a member of a family and 1.9x less likely to be shown driving. (Facebook Advertising)
36. Ethnic minorities in the US are 2.9x more likely than white characters to be shown working out, 2.1x more likely to be shown at sporting events. (Facebook Advertising)
Grow your audience, grow your bottom line
I am a proud brown woman and, yes, it does give me a sense of pride and validation seeing faces like mine show up in commercials or website hero areas.
I smile at them, but more than anything, I think “oh, that’s good marketing.”
Great marketing reaches people, and that’s what is at the root of inclusive and diverse marketing. It’s about growing your potential market of buyers. It’s about expanding your reach beyond just the groups you’ve conventionally targeted to welcome and connect with new ones.
With more competition popping up every day and technology connecting us more globally, this is an opportunity to grow your market and grow your business. It’s also a chance to explore ways to connect on a deeper level with existing customers; to discover new facets of their lives and resonate with them in more meaningful ways.
The clock is ticking for “sleeping” on an inclusive marketing strategy. So, from one savvy marketer to another, don’t hit the snooze button.