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It's time we pushed for more inclusive language
June 25, 2020
Croud's Content Account Director, Billy Leonard, shares why we need to push for inclusive language within marketing and the steps we can take achieve this.
It's easy to forget during the current climate, but it's Pride Month. Ordinarily, I would be smearing myself head to toe in glitter every weekend, but this year I only leave the house to attend protests against racial injustice. Although the first Pride was a protest started by a black trans woman, so I guess the spirit lives on.
But these protests have started to shine a light on what we can all do to change the power structures that we exist in. That doesn't just have to mean political, but can also mean our workplaces, as well as the work we produce. What can we do to make these spaces more inclusive to everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion or experience?
Using more inclusive language is an easy way to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and they engage with a piece of content.
Inclusive language is language that does not use words or phrases that exclude people from being seen as part of a group and does not discriminate towards any one type of person. An easy example of inclusive language is using the correct pronouns to refer to someone, and not assuming gender. For example, rather than saying 'Guests are invited to attend with their wives.' aim to use something like 'Guests are invited to attend with their partners'.
To me, inclusive language is not just about pronouns (although that is a large part), it's also about the unconscious (and sometimes conscious) language choices that we all use.
Can we ban the word "flaunt" please? No, a woman is not "flaunting" her "dramatic weight loss" or her "flat stomach… https://t.co/0Z60Gtq0KG— Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) Wed Jun 17 08:11:05 +0000 2020
But the change starts at home. For me, as an able-bodied, cisgender white man, this was a chance to use my own privilege to change things here at Croud. So I looked at what we could change internally and came up with two plans:
Education: I created a set of learning materials and assessments that examine conscious and unconscious language choices. Anyone who wants to create copy for Croud, both Croudies and our internal staff, will be required to sit and pass these exams before they can produce copy for us or any of our clients.
Process: Integrate the checking for un-inclusive language as part of our thorough QA process. To that end, we’ve developed Casey, a tool that checks for language choices and suggests alternative words or phrases be used. Casey is free to use now and forever, as part of our commitment to inclusion.
These might seem like small changes, and that’s the idea. I want to demonstrate to you just how easy it is to create copy that is inclusive to all. All in all, this was about two days’ work.
There is simply no excuse to not be producing copy that is inclusive. Brands, you should be creating experiences that will resonate with your audiences, as varied as they are. Agencies, we should be pushing our clients to take these steps. Small steps like this ensure that we all engage with content that reflects the breadth of the human experience.
To find out more about inclusive marketing and how Croud can help, get in touch.