What Does Diversity and Inclusion Look Like in Digital Marketing?

What Does Diversity and Inclusion Look Like in Digital Marketing?

Chuck Aikens

Seeing someone similar to yourself in the videos and blog posts you consume is validating and relatable. It helps you imagine sharing laughs with your group of friends in that trendy new hotel bar or how yoga pants might actually look when you perfect a downward-facing dog.

Brands, more than ever, are becoming intentional about including scenarios and visuals that closely mirror their actual, not perceived, audience and fans.

What Does Diversity and Inclusion Look Like In Digital Marketing?

What is Inclusion and Diversity?

The longstanding definition of diversity in marketing as being gender and race-inclusive is outdated, according to the Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in Modern Advertising from Maryville University in Missouri. Today diversity has many facets. Inclusion ensures that these diverse populations feel accurately represented.

Visit the local shopping center or public transportation station. You’ll notice a melting pot of ages, races, genders, health conditions, sizes, hair colors, economic statuses, clothing styles and people displaying their religious preferences at every turn. This sampling of diversity reflects our society at large, exactly where we are in this moment.

Shouldn’t our marketing pieces do the same?

Stock photo agency Shutterstock has conducted research about how society, culture and people are represented in visuals for the past three years. In October 2018 they partnered with Censuswide to question 2,500 marketers across the globe about how they select and use photos in their content. Here are a few insights that stood out:

  • 88 percent of Generation X and 90 percent of Millennials believe “a diverse representation in their campaigns” help a brand’s reputation
  • Over the previous year, the marketers started including images that featured same-sex couples as well as transgendered, disabled and gender fluid models.
  • The motivators for including a diverse population in the marketing campaigns revolved around eliciting emotional reactions, sharability of images, representation of modern society and connecting to the brand message.

The research concluded that there’s room to use more diverse images in campaigns to accurately reflect modern society. But, why?

What Does Diversity and Inclusion Look Like In Digital Marketing?

The Importance of Being Inclusive

As digital marketing professionals, we strive each day to create content that speaks to the audiences of the brands we represent. The messaging must be authentic to people’s experiences and relatable on a personal level. The most effective way to do this is by weaving real-life situations and imagery into our campaign strategies. Following generic buyer personas and bare-bones demographics are short-sighted.

Without accurately representing consumers, fans, readers and audiences, there’s no reason to create digital content. If we don’t speak to the actual people who are browsing websites, clicking on shopping links and reading blog posts, we’re ignoring the power and purpose of connecting through digital communications.

At Volume Nine, we’ve partnered with some amazing brands that champion the status quo and offer their real readers, inclusive advice and genuine awareness.

These Brands Excel at Representing Diversity

In our partnership with Jim’s Formal Wear, we embraced and acknowledged the increase in same-sex marriages by offering gay couples advice for planning their big day in a blog post titled Same-Sex Wedding Formal Wear Tips. All brides and grooms seek information to enhance their engagement and wedding planning experience, and Jim’s Formal Wear is always the helm to help.

Aspen Snowmass recently launched their Give a Flake campaign geared at creating awareness around environmental sustainability, breaking barriers, equality for all and LGBTQ rights. They also host Gay Ski Week annually to celebrate diversity on the slopes.

We’re also proud to be part of a2 Milk®‘s initiative to create awareness and acceptance for those who have health concerns or need to follow a specific diet. And then there’s Swift Passport. In the coming year, they’re publishing blog posts that focus on travel for single parents and LGBTQ couples.

It’s really an exciting time in content creation. A focus on diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of our digital marketing campaigns and ideation strategies. Why? Authentic audience targeting matters to us and the brands we work with each day.

Is your business looking for a new digital marketing strategy that speaks directly to your audience? Volume Nine is ready to help! Contact us today to learn more.