Video is an excellent medium for promoting brand inclusion. It gives you the opportunity to represent a diverse selection of employees and customers who can speak in favor of your company, products, or services.
Through video, you have the opportunity to highlight voices that have been historically underrepresented. You have the power to show your audience the steps you have taken as a company to include and honor people from all different backgrounds. Through this type of inclusive marketing, you speak to existing customers and attract new ones.
Companies that focus on brand inclusion represent their diverse customer base in positive, genuine ways. They are likely to see positive effects on their businesses as a result.
What Is Brand Inclusion?
Brand inclusion means marketing to diverse audiences by including people from different backgrounds in marketing ads. Also referred to as inclusive marketing, brand inclusion strives to embrace people from varying backgrounds and break existing stereotypes.
Goals of inclusive marketing include:
- Featuring diverse voices.
- Decreasing cultural bias.
- Promoting thoughtful and respectful content.
- Leading positive social change.
Through brand inclusion, marketers aim to connect with people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, and more.
Brand inclusion can do more than sell a product. It can help to elevate the voices of underrepresented groups, foster deeper connections between companies and their customers, and support positive social change.
Why Brand Inclusion Matters
In addition to the moral importance of representing a range of voices, brand inclusion can affect your sales. Consumers not only believe that companies have an obligation to inclusive marketing, but they actually respond better to it.
A 2019 Google study found that inclusive advertising affects consumer behavior. Highlights of the study include:
- 64 percent of people surveyed said they acted after seeing an ad they felt was diverse or inclusive.
- 69 percent of Black consumers said they were more likely to purchase products from a brand that positively reflected their race/ethnicity.
- 71 percent of LGBTQ consumers said they were more likely to engage with an ad that authentically represents their sexual orientation.
The study found that consumers expect brands to include and reflect the reality of their lives. The most effective ads are ones that are genuine and represent consumers in positive ways. By honoring brand inclusion, companies successfully enhance the perception of their brand, brand effectiveness, customer loyalty, and the intent of customers to purchase their products.
Shelley Zalis, CEO of the Female Quotient, explains that brands can “do good” and do well at the same time. Brands that operate with an authentic voice that is consistent with their brand’s culture can drive both sales and positive social change simultaneously.
Using Video to Foster Brand Inclusion
Videos provide an excellent opportunity to foster brand inclusion in your company. They communicate a story about your company, products, and services that customers can relate to. One of the best ways to show your audiences that you value brand inclusion is to make videos that illustrate an inclusive culture.
Improve your inclusive culture through video by:
- Including employee testimonials. Featuring personal stories from your employees about how the company has supported a meaningfully inclusive environment can be highly effective.
- Sharing your efforts. Show the world what your company has done to promote brand inclusion via digital communications and social media channels. Additionally, give your employees opportunities to celebrate their varying backgrounds with the company and customers.
- Featuring variety. Share stories and testimonials from a range of employees and customers. The more diversity you can display in your videos, the more likely you will be to connect with new customers from varying backgrounds.
As you develop videos to support brand inclusion, don’t hesitate to update them over time and as you receive feedback from employees and customers. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge missed opportunities or past mistakes regarding inclusive marketing. Openly acknowledging any such mistakes will make your company more relatable and trustworthy going forward.
Videos are a powerful tool for fostering brand inclusion. They provide a platform for voices and stories to be heard that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Use video to highlight these voices, support a range of different backgrounds and experiences, and show the world how your company is working to foster an inclusive culture.
Successful Brand Inclusion Campaigns
Many examples of successful brand inclusion campaigns exhibit the importance of inclusive marketing. From beauty products to soft drinks, brand inclusion can be used for any service or product being sold.
Check out the following brand inclusion campaigns that successfully represent their product and their diverse customers:
- Dove Real Beauty Pledge: In an effort to foster body confidence and self-esteem, the Dove Real Beauty Pledge strives to inspire women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to be the best version of themselves with the help of Dove products. The campaign pledges to always feature real women, not models; to portray women as they are in real life, with no digital editing of images; and to help girls around the world build body confidence and self-esteem through the Dove Self-Esteem Project.
- Coca-Cola’s It’s Beautiful: Coca-Cola explains that their It’s Beautiful commercial is a celebration of America and American families. The ad promotes optimism, inclusion, and is a celebration of humanity, all of which are values shared by Coca-Cola. It strives to show viewers how Coca-Cola brings friends and families of all backgrounds together.
- Procter & Gamble’s the Talk: In 2018, Procter & Gamble released an award-winning inclusive commercial, The Talk. Black mothers of multiple decades are shown talking to their children about racism. By highlighting the need for black mothers to have conversations about the various forms of racism with their children, Procter & Gamble’s goal is to raise awareness about the impact of bias and the need to make progress toward a less biased future.
- Google’s The Picture-Perfect Life: To raise awareness about mental health, Google produced a video ad titled The Picture-Perfect Life. Photos of people shot on Google’s Pixel 2 depict seemingly happy individuals. Toward the end of the commercial, it is revealed that each of these individuals dialed a suicide hotline. The ad strives to identify with people struggling with mental illness, raise awareness among friends and family members that their loved ones could be struggling, and show that Google is a trustworthy company that understands and supports all of its users.
How to Reach New and Existing Audiences
In order to reach new and existing customers, consider who your target audience is. Those are the types of people that should be included in your marketing campaigns.
Start by researching your audience. Remember, brand inclusion does not mean you need to represent all demographics, but rather the ones that apply to your product or service.
Gather data about the people who are interested in your product, such as their gender, age, income level, and geographic information. Learn about the points of view of these demographics and how you can appeal to them in your marketing videos.
Once you have a deeper understanding about your customers, you can update your marketing material to reflect their diverse characteristics. Maintain existing customers by showing them that you share their values. Attract new customers by highlighting what you stand for and representing audiences that you hope to gain.
What Not to Do When Creating a Video
When creating inclusive marketing videos, it is important to remember that you do not need to address all issues and demographics every time.
In order to be effective, your video should address the demographics and topics that are relevant for this specific message. For example, if your company sells men’s skincare products, you do not need to include a diverse set of women in your video.
Axe created a commercial in 2016 that did just this. The Axe Find Your Magic campaign, demonstrated brand inclusion by celebrating men of all types of masculinity. The ad encourages men to use Axe body products to enhance whichever type of masculinity fits them best. Including women or children in this particular ad would not have made sense.
When creating inclusive video, one of the most important factors is to remain authentic. Consumers can tell when a message is inauthentic and will then be turned off the product and company. Remaining genuine and authentic builds trust and loyalty between a company and its customers
To enhance authenticity, avoid using stock images in your ads. Original photos and videos from real employees and customers speak volumes about the realness of your company and your genuine intention to connect with consumers. Utilizing original stories and experiences shared by people who have had positive experiences engaging with your company is a highly effective way to promote brand inclusion.
Creating Brand Inclusion
Brand inclusion is more than just a marketing strategy. It is a culture in which to operate. Companies with successful brand inclusion don’t just produce the right social media ads and videos; they live by an inclusive culture inside and out and are more successful because of it.
A 2018 report on diversity and inclusion published by Deloitte, explains that company and organization cultures of inclusion are more successful than ones without inclusive cultures. Companies with inclusive cultures are:
- Six times more likely to be creative and adaptable.
- Eight times more likely to achieve better business results.
- Twice as likely to meet their financial goals.
Brand inclusion means that you are ready to ask difficult questions about diversity and work hard to address gaps and mistakes in your current marketing strategy. Creating videos to foster brand inclusion is a great way to grow an inclusive culture and attract a broader audience.
Michael Hoffman is the CEO of Gather Voices and an expert in the use of video in marketing and digital engagement. He teaches marketing at the University of Chicago and is a long-time consultant to business leaders on constituent engagement strategies. In 2017, Hoffman founded Gather Voices to revolutionize how organizations create and use video. Gather Voices’ Video Relationship Management (VRM) software solution enables associations to leverage the power of video to achieve revenue-based outcomes, like new member acquisition, membership renewal, and event attendance.