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Answer these 6 questions to see if your brand is truly inclusive
July 25, 2022
As a thriving brand or agency, your reputation matters significantly. This reputation, which could be newly enhanced by modern diversity and inclusion practices, is a key element that facilitates your business growth. Chances are you already pour a great deal of energy and resources into inclusive marketing tactics. You prioritize catchy or “punny” ads, celebrate the most niche holidays on your social platforms, and actively avoid stereotypes or appropriation in your digital campaigns.
These are all great jumping-off points that aim to please the majority-ruled, Gen Z population, who are quite vocal about which products, services, or brands they support. Currently, 76% of these young consumers feel strongly that brands should embrace diversity and inclusion practices, and will spend their hard-earned cash on products and services by brands that exercise inclusive marketing techniques. But, inclusion goes far beyond identifying with the preferences of one kind of consumer market.
A powerful portion of inclusivity efforts has been distributed toward the support for improved web accessibility, too. With brands moving into the digital sphere, and agencies managing clients’ websites and online shops, it’s become increasingly important to take a look at inclusivity from a technical perspective, as well, and consider how people with disabilities use you and your clients’ websites without limitations that exclude them from the virtual world.
Establishing your brand as inclusive can have a major impact on your reputation, audience reach, and overall success. Answer these six questions to find out if your brand or agency is on its way to becoming a powerhouse that includes everyone in your consumer landscape.
1.) Are you targeting every audience segment?
Inclusive brands and agencies should know how to market themselves to a wide variety of demographics. Getting to know each fraction of your audience and what makes them unique will enable you to effectively appeal to them, and you can start with diverse representation in your visuals. For example, only 1% of people with disabilities are included in ads and digital media today, and if they were more represented by brands globally, they might feel more inclined to become loyal customers to those that acknowledge their power and presence in society.
2.) Do you use inclusive language?
Inclusive language carries two components in practice; the first is refraining from any slang, obscure references, or other sentiments that could offend or discriminate against a group of people. The second component is using language free from acronyms or business jargon that may not be comprehensible to people with cognitive disabilities. Inclusive language should also be “people-first” and avoid labeling any individual (or potential consumer or client) by race, gender, disability, or size.
3.) Is your website’s user experience accessible to all?
Web accessibility solutions include people with disabilities online, making it easier for everyone to navigate pages, complete customer journeys, or simply participate in any desired web space. This ease of use is often referred to as a seamless user experience, brought on by digital accessibility tools and functions that adjust websites to fit a specific user’s preferences or needs. Believe it or not, most brands and agencies aren’t sure whether their website is accessible to all, but accessiBe’s free auditing tool scans any site to help you find out in a matter of seconds.
4.) Is your website’s messaging authentic?
Potential clients and customers want to see real people in real-world situations with 90% of consumers deciding to support brands that employ this type of authentic messaging. If your website’s messaging is not authentic, then it does not accurately reflect or relate to the average audience member or individual you’re attempting to connect with.
5.) Does your visual content accommodate everyone?
Digital content is the best way to communicate and connect with audience members, potential clients, or soon-to-be loyal consumers. However, your video content needs to host transcripts for those living with audio impairments, and GIFS and flashing images should also include individuals with epilepsy online with an embedded stop or pause function. Including everyone in this digital content craze allows no one to be left out from experiencing popular trends or absorbing vital information online, and people from all walks of life will respect your brand for it.
6.) Have you built a diversified team?
It all starts at the source. If you’re heightening your reputation as an inclusive brand or agency to generate business growth (while doing the right thing), then make sure your internal team is as diverse as your target market and feels just as included as you want your audience members to. Plus, building a team of people from different backgrounds, who also possess different life experiences, will enable you to gain fresh perspectives and ideas that come together and will likely attract potential clients and consumers for the better.
Did you pass the test?
If your brand or agency hasn't considered asking themselves these six questions before reading this article, then maybe it’s time for a team brainstorming session that will place you on the path to inclusivity. Diverse representation in your media and imagery, hiring employees of various backgrounds, prioritizing authenticity and inclusive language in your messaging, and finally paying attention to accessible user experiences on your or your clients’ websites will surely start your journey to inclusion. Following these steps will greatly boost your inclusivity practices and improve your reputation and yield business growth: including everyone both online and offline.