Everyone wants to see people who look like them in advertising and in the media. And I mean everybody. From those that are most marginalized in society to (those arguably on the opposite side of the spectrum) straight white men. But here’s the issue - almost all of these groups feel that they are not being seen. 2 in 3 Black and Brown folks don’t feel properly represented in the media, LGBTQ consumers are constantly pressuring companies to have genuine Pride campaigns, and many white folks feel the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that we get these ridiculous articles called TV’s White Guys Are in Crisis (spoiler alert: they are not). But regardless of our personal opinions and experiences, what should matter to us as marketers are the perceptions of all of these communities.
So in 2022, when it seems that most companies are trying their best to embody diversity, equity, and inclusion, why are so many failing to show consumers that they care; and what can marketers do about it? You probably are already thinking that diversity in advertising will help address this, and it will to an extent, but sooo many companies are using this strategy. So here are three steps to go further and stand out from the noise.
Diversify Your Marketing and Creative Team
It’s one thing to show diversity in the creative you put out, but it’s another to actually have the people behind those ads embody and live those experiences. It’s hard for a group of straight people to accurately depict queer culture, it’s hard for a group of white people to understand how South Asian populations want to be seen, and so on. Make sure to keep diversity in mind when hiring, but also consider leaning on outside vendors and agencies who specialize in reaching select audiences.
Segment Your Creative and Activate at Select Events
Having a diverse group of models and characters in your ads is great! And keep doing that if you are already working this into your marketing. However, also consider segmenting for specific audiences as you see fit. If you’re running an ad on OUT.com, your creative should primarily (if not exclusively) feature LGBTQ folk, if you are on Essence.com you should be featuring Black women, etc. This strategy can apply to in person events such as sponsoring Pride festivals if you are looking to promote your brand to queer people or have a presence at Nascar races if you are looking to reach men.
Think About What Communities Are Still Underrepresented in Campaigns
Unfortunately even with progress, some communities are getting left in the dust in our effort to diversify. AAPI, disabled, and fat communities in particular come to mind when I think of those groups that diversity campaigns have widely ignored. These are largely untapped markets that the right marketing campaigns can effectively reach. But again, please make sure the commutes you speak to are actually part of the conversation before any outbound marketing. Your campaign will then not only seem more genuine, but also take steps to advance progress towards equality for these folks.
If you need help reaching the right audience with your marketing efforts, we’d love to help!