Since 2020, we’ve heard countless brands promise to do a better job at representing marginalizing communities and removing barriers to using their products and services. Unfortunately, a lot of those promises have fallen flat because of one simple truth: You can’t create inclusive marketing if your organization is not inclusive.
Those who try:
- Fail to have a diverse team who weigh in on creative decisions
- Tokenize BIPOC models under the guise of “representation”
- Don’t even think about accessibility when designing web pages, email funnels and forms
- Fear publishing content with any references to any community that goes against “the mainstream” such as LGBTQ2+ or Muslim persons
- Jump on the black square and pride flag bandwagons once a year but make no real investments in any marginalized communities
- Making sure creative professionals from marginalized communities feel safe to speak up
- Asking employees with different cultural backgrounds for their opinion on multiple decisions, not just the “diversity” ones
- Taking the time to understand their audience and customers, which are naturally diverse
- Taking ownership of accessibility in marketing materials
- Consistently publishing content representing a mix of communities all year round
- Investing in authentic visuals and text backed by culturally-sensitive language and tone
You can’t checklist your way into making inclusive marketing materials. There is no cheat sheet that will help you get there.
Inclusive marketing is an investment in knowing your employees and the customers you hope to serve. It’s the act of making them feel accepted, welcomed, seen, heard, respected and — most of all —valued.