How to Help Your Clients Run Strong Inclusion and Diversity Campaigns

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are your clients stuck on the idea that using a mix of skin tones in their creative messaging amounts to strong diversity and inclusion campaigns? That’s not enough. Done properly, these campaigns must contain the right elements to appeal to consumers and to drive sales. Where should marketers begin?

To truly connect with consumers, Susan Parker suggests marketers start with conducting an audit of what they’re currently doing. Help your clients review the talent appearing in their ads. They should portray a mix of race, age, gender, and income-​levels in their messaging. As much as possible, the messaging should empower consumers who have historically been underrepresented in advertising.

When one major marketer portrayed minority female business owners in TV ads, researchers measured a high rate of view completions and a lower than average rate of interruptions. Similarly, a beauty retailer that launched a campaign designed to expand the definition of attractiveness measured substantial increases in traffic to its website.

Beyond Awareness

The VAB analyzed thousands of TV spots to determine how to measure the kind of messaging that resonates with consumers. Consumers are not content to change purchase intent solely based on the awareness created by a TV ad. They’re digging deeper, especially by using online search to access content. If your client doesn’t make that kind of content available, their target audience could doubt their authenticity and eventually do business with a competitor. Over half of racially and ethnically diverse consumers believe marketers have portrayed them stereotypically in advertising. 2020 may finally be the year that marketers, and your clients, get it right.

Encourage your clients to think about what they want to accomplish with their campaigns. Do they want to be known as the brand that has consistently funded job corps programs for at-​risk youth? Are they striving to be mindful of environmental protection in their product development and packaging? As VAB researchers note, “Consumers most often don’t just buy a product, they buy a brand story.”

Consumers who find messaging believable will connect with a brand on an emotional level. This connection is what your clients need. Findings from the VAB study indicate marketers don’t have to spend huge sums on a national level to make a difference. They can use out-​of-​home and social media advertising to attract attention locally. Online video can be another particularly powerful way to tell an authentic story.

Strong Inclusion and Diversity Campaigns

Getting the messaging right is one part of strong inclusion and diversity campaigns. Another part is demonstrating responsibility as a brand. Earlier this year, one company terminated an employee who falsely accused a Black man of threatening her in a park. Displaying no tolerance for this kind of behavior is one step in the right direction. 

Your clients can also ensure greater visibility by aligning themselves with social justice causes. Sponsoring virtual events and donating a percentage of revenue from each purchase shows the commitment that consumers want to see. When a company touts what they are doing in their messaging, consumers see that the brand stands for more than making a profit. To learn more about consumer support for various causes, check out the profiles in AudienceSCAN, produced by AdMall at SalesFuel.