Diversity and inclusivity are important topics in the marketing community right now – and that means we’re finally seeing more representation and targeting towards minority communities, including LGBT, POC/BAME (people of colour/Black, Asian and minority ethnic), and disabled people.
Recent data shows that the companies that are embracing inclusivity in their marketing are building better relationships with their customers, and ultimately boosting their brand at the same time.
With February being LGBT History Month in the UK, this is a great time to highlight some amazing examples of diversity in marketing, as well as discuss what we can do to keep improving:
LGBT Communities in Marketing
Representation of the LGBT community has grown considerably in the last few years in marketing and advertising. Many brands are becoming more aware and understand that their customer base is huge and varied, and as a result, we’re seeing more campaigns that are actively working to celebrate this diversity.
The Lloyds Bank ‘For Your Next Step’ adverts in 2016 proudly featured a mixed-race gay couple proposal and was received very positively by customers. McCain recently launched a new TV campaign called ‘Here’s to Love’ featuring a number of same-sex couples, and have said that they are depicting ‘honest, modern-day, family life’ in all the forms it takes.
In 2017, Lush featured both gay and lesbian couples in their Valentine’s Day campaign; customers praised them for showing couples in normal situations that were clearly supportive of efforts to bring visibility to the community.
It’s clear that marketing is starting to step in the right direction when it comes to more diverse representations of audiences. But why should marketing campaigns choose to be inclusive and diverse?
What do the experts say?
Barclays Group Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Mark McLane, said ‘It’s not about having an LGBT marketing campaign, but about making LGBT consumers visible in all marketing and being unapologetic about it.’ Brands who learn to embrace all kinds of consumers and represent them fairly and without gimmicks in their marketing campaigns have shown to have a hugely positive impact.
Marketers are the ones who need to bring these brand values to life in their campaigns – but there can be incredible benefits to both businesses and minority communities.
Recent reports claim that 14% of customers are more likely to choose products and services from companies who promote diversity and support LGBT communities within their marketing. 37% of customers report feeling ‘positive’ towards brands who are active in working with LGBT and other minority communities to support and promote them in their marketing materials.
On the business side of things, having an LGBT and minority positive company can help attract wider talent and increase appeal to both customers and service-providers – many top businesses such as GSK, J.P. Morgan and Lloyds Bank have adopted LGBT inclusive policies and have been named in the Stonewall Top 100 employers list 2018 as a result.
Clearly, people want to see more diversity, more inclusivity, and more of what the real world looks like in marketing – and in the businesses behind the campaigns too.
Diverse Marketing in Action
- Maltesers ‘Superhumans’ adverts, featuring disabled people, saw the brand grow by a huge 8% as a direct result. The Mars brand (owner of Maltesers) grew by 20% overall.
- In 2016, Sainsbury’s Christmas advert featured a lesbian family and was praised for its genuine inclusivity and diverse representation.
- Channel 4, now famous for their inclusive approach to marketing since they introduced a ‘360-degree Diversity Charter’, produced the tongue-in-cheek ‘Gay Mountain’ advert in support of LGBT athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics, 2014. It was widely supported by several athletes, writers, and politicians for its approach in standing up to Russian anti-gay laws.
- The British Army and their campaign ‘This is Belonging 2018’ promotes diversity in their recruitment adverts, with targeted adverts on LGBT and ethnic minority recruits, to demonstrate how the army is welcome to all, regardless of background. It’s been a bold gesture that has really highlighted how including diversity and inclusivity is important to all types of brands and their marketing.
Including more minority communities in visible roles is fantastic to see, but businesses need to ensure it comes from an authentic place. ‘Token’ gestures to diversity and inclusivity, designed to sell more products could easily fall flat with customers; just look at Pepsi’s 2017 Kendall Jenner ad, for example.
Reflect on your company as a whole and look for ways you can reach out to your customers by developing your values to be more in line with them, and what they want to see.