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Diversity Marketing: The New Normal For Success

Diversity Marketing: The New Normal For Success

Shanna Mueller, Feb 5, 2019

What if I told you that in order for your brand to stay relevant in the expanding global market you must be doing one crucial thing - embracing diversity. What if I also told you that not embracing diversity will affect your bottom line? Would you invest right now to change the way you market? If you are not marketing to diverse audiences, you are already lagging far behind the curve.

Contrary to recent narratives concerning marketing trends, compelling marketing messages should not be solely reliant on topics addressing charity or morality but should also address business interests. Yes, there are really great moral and ethical reasons why you should have diversity in your marketing content plan, but we're taking this all the way back to a primary mark of success. We're talking good old-fashioned ROI.

Creating a shift in your brand’s behavioral patterns to reflect diversity is vital to appeal to modern shoppers, but you still need to meet business targets. The goal is to find a balance that pushes essential brand messaging while it reflects your brand in the correct social light. As business is increasingly becoming more global and the market becomes more diverse, we all have to cater to those audiences or profits will be lost and the opportunity to connect to those modern buyers will be gone.

Surely this diversity message, if conveyed to the right gatekeepers, would also serve as the cornerstone of progress in your brand development. This is not a profound declaration; this has been the marketing narrative for many years. So have you embraced diversity marketing fully? If not - then why not?

Statistics Don't Lie: Demographics on why diversity matters in your marketing

  • 40% by 2020 the American consumer market will be the most racially diverse in history.
  • 48% of Generation Z are non-caucasian, they need to see themselves in your brand.
  • 85% of women say film and advertising do not fairly represent them.
  • 65% of consumers say they feel more favorable toward a brand that reflects diversity in advertising.

Quick Brand Gut Check: Gauge your marketing content

Are you creating content that is diverse? Let's do a quick check.

Review the recent content that you’ve produced.

What percent of your content include people that are diverse in:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Cultural background
  • Physical ability
  • Geography
  • Socio-economic status
  • Sexuality

Now consider those exact same diversity factors for the team or agency you're working with to develop content. What percent of that agency is diverse?"

This may seems like the shorthand for a focus on skin-deep factors, but surprisingly most brands are not passing this basic litmus test in content creation and are setting themselves up to fail. Use your results as a benchmark to create quantifiable progress against your goals.

Market Beyond Skin-Deep Factors

The content that you put out must not only represent a much more diverse audience, it must also be telling genuine stories from this market. Because diversity and inclusive marketing are often synonymous for "non-white" and/or "non-male," taking these terms at face value can lead to a fairly one-dimensional concept of what constitutes the rich variety of human experience.

A more useful definition of diversity might be “fresh” perspectives and original stories that appeal to the perceptions of frequent consumers while also enticing underserved ones. That’s less catchy than the broad term of "diversity marketing," but it’s more accurate in the context of your goal. Building content based on these unique audiences can be a strong market position for launching premium products. Focusing on how people think and live in addition to what they look like is imperative.

Avoid Stereotypes in Your Marketing Efforts

What’s the fastest way to show users that you do not understand them? Stereotypes. An example: Mom is in the kitchen baking cookies, while dad is face-timing in from a business trip. Why not have mom on the business trip and dad in the kitchen? Really look at what genuine people are doing and how they are living their lives. Consider every element of the creative. Authentic characters matter; keep in mind so does styling, interiors, music, family dynamics, food, wardrobe, and how products are portrayed. Content reflective of real people resonates stronger than staged campaigns.

Customers grew tired of waiting for brands to represent them. So they took matters into their own hands and conjured up content online that was reflective of their experience. Lo and behold: the rise of influencer marketing. Leveraging social media as a focus group can give you incredible insights for building diverse campaigns.

The Old “Mainstream” Marketing is Out

Moving into 2019, marketers will need a deeper understanding of the customers they include and the customers they potentially exclude with their campaigns. Inclusive, diverse marketing is all about focusing your efforts to reach as many types of people as possible with the products, services, and experiences you deliver – in particular, reaching the people who don’t fit cleanly into what is considered "mainstream." Consumers want to feel represented, want to see more of themselves in your brand, and in turn think that your brand is genuine (buzzword alert) and connected to them.

Inclusive and diversity marketing is a trend that will become the industry standard by the time Gen-Z takes the lead in the market. 2020 is not far away, now is the time to embrace this change and invest for your bottom line and the changing demographics of the future.

Still not convinced? Think of it this way: Would you like to see your life represented in content? Most everyone would answer that question with a resounding YES. So then the question is not why your brand should embrace diversity, but what are you waiting for?

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