Your small business marketing efforts aren’t just about promoting products and services. Ultimately, they’re about establishing your brand’s values and identity. As more and more customers (particularly younger ones) seek brands that align with their social values, this dimension of marketing is more critical than ever before.
In particular, small businesses can use their marketing channels to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion. This isn’t just about “virtue signaling.” Ultimately, it’s about making your brand as customer centric as possible.
When we talk about promoting diversity and inclusion through digital marketing, exactly what are we talking about?
Ultimately, it means evaluating your messaging, your visuals, your website accessibility and experience, and even your marketing team, seeking to provide a welcoming and affirming experience for everyone. As you consider diversity and inclusion in your digital marketing, some specific factors to evaluate include:
- Ethnicity, race, and nationality
- Gender and sexuality
- Socioeconomic status
- Religious affiliation
Crucially, promoting diversity doesn’t mean trying to be all things to all people, nor does it mean losing sight of your data-driven audience targeting. What it means is being aware of who’s being drawn to your marketing and your branding, then ensuring that they feel represented and included.
But why exactly should small businesses care about diversity in their marketing? Simply put, because customers care. Studies confirm that about nine out of 10 millennials have a higher estimation of a brand if they believe it to be inclusive and diverse. Among younger customers, the numbers are even higher. Likewise, statistics show that customers from ethnic and sexual minorities are more likely to buy from a brand if they feel like the brand has made an effort to include them.
Some additional benefits to promoting diversity and inclusion in your marketing efforts:
- You’ll reach more people, expanding brand awareness into new demographic groups.
- You’ll build greater brand loyalty and trust, establishing shared values with your customers.
- You’ll earn genuine respect and goodwill for your brand, which can further increase loyalty.
- All of these things, taken together, can help increase your pool of customers, thereby boosting revenues.
How to Promote Diversity in Your Marketing
As for specific ways to promote diversity and inclusion in your marketing, there are a few guidelines we’d recommend.
- Understand your audience. Do you remember the Jeep ad that Bruce Springsteen appeared in during last year’s Super Bowl? With its heavy reliance on all-American imagery, the ad proved divisive among viewers… some of whom loved the heartland imagery, while others thought it felt too jingoistic. The point is, it’s important to know who’s in your audience, and to consider how images, words, and branding might resonate with them.
- Be willing to adjust. A big part of promoting diversity and inclusion is being willing to tweak your messaging. Certainly, many brands took stock of their representational values in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, while others have adjusted their advertising language to bring transgender folks into the conversation. Be sensitive to the ways in which time and culture are changing, demanding new standards of inclusivity through your marketing efforts.
- Don’t be performative. Today’s consumers are pretty allergic to brands that talk the talk but fail to walk the walk. What do we mean by this? Simply put, adding Black faces to your marketing materials can fall flat if your hiring practices undervalue Black workers; proclaiming opposition to bigotry goes farther if you’re actually making some donations to anti-bigotry efforts. Remember to back up your marketing messaging with real-world action whenever possible.
Make Inclusivity a Hallmark of Your Marketing Efforts
Ready to make some informed, strategic adjustments to your marketing? Our team is here to help you work diversity and inclusion into your messaging. Contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team to schedule a marketing consultation. Reach out at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.