Marketing strategy is evolving and growing faster than the decision-makers leading marketing departments can often keep up with. For that reason, it’s important to keep in mind what future generations expect from their favorite brands. One of the themes you’ve likely been hearing about, especially in the past year, is “inclusivity”. Separate, but related to “diversity”, inclusivity refers to providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having physical or mental disabilities or belonging to other minority groups.
“Inclusive marketing” specifically refers to the messaging, people, processes, and technologies that enable marginalized or underrepresented groups to fully experience and connect with brands. In the United States, Generation Z (people born after 1996) is the most diverse generation to ever exist in the United States, with almost half (48%) of the generation belonging to non-white ethnic categories.
In Inc.com’s recent article “Gen-Z, 25 Percent of the Population and 48 Percent Minority, Shapes the Future” author Sonia Thompson explores how recent demographic shifts have altered the way customers “receive, interpret, and engage with brand messages, products, services, and experiences”.
Every brand needs to consider adopting external trends if they have not begun to do so already. When several tech companies released their first diversity reports in 2014, the large majority of tech workers were white males. In the last five years tech corporations have been trying to build a more diverse workforce and their efforts are certainly progressing, albeit slowly. There’s still a larger share of white people (65%) in the high-tech industry but that is a notable advancement from what companies were reporting in their diversity reports 5 years ago.
Building a diverse workplace is extremely important but ensuring organizational diversity and inclusion often takes some time. In the meantime, it’s critical to make sure your brand messaging is proactively advocating inclusivity and diversity. As the population’s racial and ethnic demographics evolve over time, brands must be conscious and reflective of those changes. Customers want to see representation in marketing, as Sonia states in her article “When your customers feel like they belong with you, they will reward you with their loyalty.
At DesignHammer, we advocate inclusivity and diversity when discussing web design elements and marketing strategy with clients. From a demographic perspective, we advise clients to use stock imagery or original photography on their websites that is inclusive of different races and genders. DesignHammer is also an advocate of practicing inclusivity by ensuring website content is accessible for users with disabilities. If you are a marketer interested in learning more about how you can be inclusive to those with disabilities in your graphic and web designs, be sure to check out some of the diagrams in my other blog post titled Why Accessibility Should Matter to Marketers. Or, if you are simply interested in learning more about DesignHammer’s efforts towards inclusive user interfaces and other accessibility concerns, we have several accessibility articles on our blog.