Branding: Authenticity in Inclusivity

Branding: Authenticity in Inclusivity

Inclusivity has become something of a buzzword in modern business. Consumers and workers increasingly recognize the value of inclusive workplaces, marketing, products, platforms, and more. However, making inclusivity an authentic part of your brand takes more than just claims and promises.

Building a truly inclusive brand requires hard work, know-how, and—above all—emotional intelligence. Cultivating these features among your digital marketing team requires everything from cultural sensitivity training to data analytics.

Explore the importance of authenticity in inclusive branding. As a result, you’ll develop people-first marketing strategies that expand your audience, balloon your bottom-line, and fulfill your ethical obligations in the digital economy. 

The Importance of Inclusivity in Branding

First, let’s talk about the importance of inclusivity in branding overall, starting with what inclusivity means. 

Inclusivity is the state of being open and accessible to all kinds of users and customers. Like accessibility considerations on digital platforms, this entails accommodating all kinds of needs. Since 1 in 4 Americans lives with one form of disability or another, making these accommodations is more than just a financial imperative but an ethical one. But inclusivity also goes further than compatibility with assistive tech. 

True inclusivity stems from the core of an organization. From its hiring practices to its meeting structures, digital marketing firms practice inclusivity by combatting bias wherever it occurs. The results are organizations that are better prepared to innovate and win customer trust. 

In fact, in a study of executive teams, McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity were 33% more likely to lead their industries in profit margins. This profitability comes from the range of perspectives offered by diverse teams. With more input for individuals that represent the make-up of our world, business leaders can better innovate, improve, and connect with their customers. 

These are all essential elements of an effective brand, as consumers prioritize businesses that reflect their own values. In a recent survey, 64% of consumers said they were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase after seeing it advertised in a diverse and inclusive manner. This demonstrates the importance of creating an inclusive brand when it comes to winning new customers.

However, you cannot have inclusivity without authenticity.

How Authenticity Impacts Inclusivity

An inauthentic approach to inclusivity can be spotted a mile away. Mostly, this occurs in the challenges that both workers and customers face when attempting to navigate an allegedly inclusive website or workplace.

When it comes to marketing, a lack of real inclusivity in one of these areas has a high probability of influencing the effectiveness of the other. That’s because a workforce that doesn’t value and embrace the members of its team for who they are is much more likely to create marketing strategies that miss the mark for its target audience. Marketing is about people, and people come from diverse backgrounds and worldviews.

Instead, marketing teams have to start with themselves if they hope to sell products and services that are truly inclusive. This process is about listening and empathizing with customers, finding common ground, and building a supportive team. Only then can digital marketers truly produce authentic messaging.

For example, consider the role of UX and UI in improving conversion rates. The field of user experience is entirely predicated around understanding how your target user’s mind works. Even color plays a role in user emotions and behavior. If web content fails to authentically understand these aspects of users through qualitative and quantitative data, then you risk losing business in the competitive online marketplace.

Similarly, users who encounter usability issues tend to immediately back away. 71% of users living with disabilities, for example, will click away from your site if it is too difficult to use. They recognize the inauthentic effort to make a site accessible and will choose a competitor who does better. 

Instead, better guarantee authenticity in your branding efforts through a series of best practices.

Being Authentic in Your Inclusive Policies

Authenticity can be a difficult attribute to strive for. We tend to question ourselves, asking if we are doing things for the right reasons and in the right ways. The same is often true when it comes to inclusive branding. 

Since your business reputation is on the line with every instance of marketing you produce, authenticity will be key to your ongoing success. Make your digital ads more inclusive and authentic with the following tips: 

  1. Start with company culture. Company culture is where branding always begins. To better ensure an authentic approach to inclusivity, make it a core value of your culture. This will help you analyze every decision through the lens of a welcoming environment and make messaging decisions accordingly.
  1. Invest in employee education. Without employee education, however, it will be difficult to maintain authenticity. Invest in cultural sensitivity, user experience, and accessibility training on an ongoing basis to reassert the importance of diversity and inclusion to your workforce. The benefits will work their way into sensitive, relevant ad content that garners customer interest.
  1. Cultivate open, empathetic team meetings. Training is only a beginning. Each instance of employee connection should provide a sense of value and respect. As you build diverse teams, ensure that the working environment is open and accepting. Facilitate team meetings with empathetic leadership and make sure that everyone on the marketing team is heard to build a more emotionally intelligent brand.
  1. Harness customer data. You can’t be authentically inclusive to your customers without understanding who they are. Fortunately, ecommerce marketing is a field rich in data. Use analytics tools to explore your customer demographics and competitor market information. From here, conduct interviews, A/B tests, focus groups, and more to get a better sense of your customers’ needs and challenges.
  1. Listen, empathize, and improve. Finally, the importance of active listening and empathy for an authentically inclusive brand cannot go understated. Solicit and evaluate feedback from customers. Explore individual user stories. Engage and collaborate with diverse teams. Then, use all this information to promote a brand that is accepting, tolerant, and desirable.

Your branding efforts will be directly impacted by their authenticity. Use these tips to cultivate a brand that policies its own approach to customer success and opinion. From empathetic company culture to the insights available through data analytics, modern practices make it easier than ever to learn about people. From here, benefits to your brand are just a step away. 

Experiencing the Branding Benefits of Authentic Inclusivity

To reap all the rewards of an inclusive brand identity, you have to put in the work. This means evaluating all messaging in the context of all your potential customers — not just the ones that act and think like you. 

By following these tips for a more inclusive marketing strategy, you make work better, safer, and more productive. These are some of the important benefits to keep in mind from an authentically inclusive brand:

  • Ability to scale into new niches and markets
  • Greater customer retention and loyalty
  • Higher conversion rate on digital sales

Everyone wants an online shopping experience that treats them like human beings, with all the empathy and accommodation that should entail. Consider these strategies for improving your image as an inclusive brand. But remember, it only works if you’re honest about wanting to make a positive difference in customer lives.