Celebrating Diversity in Marketing
This is an article “Celebrating Diversity in Marketing” by Marc Primo
The world has more challenges today than just the COVID-19 pandemic. For years, racial injustices have lingered on to this day despite left and right discussions on how to stop discrimination. Though giant corporations have addressed this issue in their advertising and marketing efforts for decades, now is the best time to rekindle the celebration for diversity not solely for the opportunity but more for necessity.
In recent years, blue-chip players such as Coca-Cola, and Procter and Gamble engaged in marketing campaigns that encouraged social inclusivity. Coke’s 2014 “Share A Coke” campaign wherein they labeled cola bottles and cans with random people’s names from around the world triggered a social media frenzy that established the brand as one of the more socially conscious ones out there. Three years ago, P&G produced an eye-opening commercial entitled “The Talk” to celebrate African American Mothers through the decades, earning itself an Emmy award.
Fast forward to today, when a pandemic continues to divide the world– from the sick to the healthy, the white to the black, the left to the right, the straight to the genderfluid, and so on. What many in the world of marketing want to ask is: Does inclusion and diversity still matter in digital marketing?
Here’s the simple answer.
Why inclusivity and diversity will always be important
Through the years, consumer behavior shifts according to the signs of the times but as they do, not every group shares the same buyer personas. Brands often target specific audiences through digital marketing with the magic of Google Analytics and social media but the most seasoned marketers know that it’s never okay to exclude the other demographics. One good example is how Facebook’s ad policies usually flag ads that are exclusive to one ethnicity or focus on certain group attributes such as age range, gender, and health conditions. While it’s not wrong to promote brands to the right audiences, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the others outside of the funnel can’t engage in its products or services.
The enduring truth about diversity in marketing is that it should always be celebrated to earn trust from consumers from all walks of life. This 2021, new trends in marketing that relates to diversity are emerging simply because people need to know they are in a safe space with their favorite brands.
Walking in the customers’ shoes
This new decade is one when the ‘woke’ culture is at its peak. People of all races make their voices heard on social injustices and it’s easy to pinpoint social media as to where the groundswell of opinions are formed.
Today, more consumers are reviewing each brand’s values and social stand on current events and issues whether within a scope of a small community or globally. Digital marketers rely on tools like search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing. and retargeting among others to tap the right audiences which can build up a loyal following and lead to increased conversions.
However, one of the keys to tapping lookalike audiences that initially do not belong to a brand’s marketing funnel is to foster empathy among a larger target market. Empathy-based marketing strategies are mainly achieved by understanding your brand through your customers’ eyes and perception, as well as how they behave towards your services and products.
Successful companies who perform empathy-based marketing can formulate effective solutions for their customers because they think alike. They not only improve the quality of their products or services but also how consumers use them, knowing that the brand understands what they actually need.
Including people from all income brackets
Since the pandemic broke out in 2020, businesses experienced more drastic changes in consumer behavior particularly in how most people paid more attention to purchases that are categorized as needs than wants. After a year of COVID-19, more brands have learned to focus the attention on their products’ unique selling points than go for cool, glamour, or trendy.
With changing needs to survive the pandemic catastrophe, even signature fashion brands like Burberry channeled a portion of their profits to donate affordable masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers to address the mounting global shortage. This type of value spending strategy shows both the brand’s internal and external audiences the company feels how they feel about the health crisis and understands that there’s a need to raise awareness and profit for an important cause.
Since the dawn of modern advertising, marketers have always applied the human element factor in their promotional materials to grab the attention of their target audience. During the heyday of ‘50s madmen, cigarette posters were usually designed with either top brass corporate men or high society women to set the target market.
These days, however, consumers want to engage in the marketing and advertising process by feeling that they have an authentic relationship with their preferred brands. Two-way communication is the key to building a brand that is genuinely for the people and social media is no doubt the most effective platform for it.
With social media’s reach and user diversity, brands are capitalizing on putting various image models and influencers that an array of audiences can relate to. Last year, Twitter adjusted its advertising algorithms to widen facial recognition AI and racial identification to include African American characteristics to show on users’ feeds. This was recently tackled in Netflix’s latest documentary Coded Bias which explored this type of racist technology and how communities solved the problem.
Continuing the celebration in the present and into the future
As more businesses develop digital approaches to improve diversity in marketing, what seems to be happening today is an integration of human connections and artificial intelligence that gives way to better shopping and user experience.
It’s not far that more businesses will be more vocal and visible in joining groups that voice out their concerns via social media strategies and traditional advertising. Just take how Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, and Major League Baseball recently took a collective stand with the people to oppose Georgia’s new voting laws. While the decisions are not popular with everyone, such a stand somehow shows that achieving a perception that is relatable and engaging to wider audiences without forcing false narratives will resonate and may just serve as the future of marketing moving forward.
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