How brands can be truly inclusive
As nations around the world celebrate Pride Month each June, it’s become a natural time for brands to showcase their inclusive marketing efforts. We see the same show of support during Black History Month and Women’s History Month.
And every year, a few brands get called out for support theater—talking the talk without walking the walk.
When words and deeds don’t align, that spirit of harmony can turn harmful instead. It doesn’t take long for word to get around on social media if people feel a company is “rainbow capitalizing.”
Does that mean you should be afraid of messaging that reflects your brand’s inclusive values? Not one bit, as long as you’re dedicated to living those values all year long.
There’s never been a better time to assess and adjust the ways inclusive marketing plays into your overall brand strategy.
Leading up to Pride Month, we had rich and insightful conversations with each Unbound client. What did appropriate support look like for them? By auditing major brands in our clients’ categories, our team captured how pride marketing is evolving. Strategies are shifting away from the now familiar “logo switch.”
Instead, brands are opting for monthlong content that spotlights issues critical to the LGBTQ+ community, or featuring stories from their own team members. While some of our clients did update their logos, we also helped them focus on sharing tangible acts of advocacy.
As planning for 2023 begins, start thinking about changes you’d be proud to share. What would demonstrate your brand’s commitment to inclusivity 365 days a year?
Planning ahead gives you the chance to support your employees, partners and consumers in creative and meaningful ways. Your articulation of inclusivity for all genders, races and sexual orientations can be as unique as your brand. Here are a few key areas to explore:
Regular Content Series
Develop an ongoing content series that lives beyond any specific month. Content can cover a range of relevant topics, focusing on the brand’s community efforts and involvement. This is a great way to highlight individual employees or employee groups.
And here’s a question to ask regularly: where are current headlines and trends naturally intersecting with what your company offers? Instead of forcing a fit to enter the conversation, watch for opportunities that feel right based on what your brand is all about. This approach protects you from seeming opportunistic, or even downright awkward.
And don’t be shy about sharing legacy moments that demonstrate your brand’s growing inclusive culture. Everyone should have the chance to improve, and to inspire others as they do.
Representation among internal team members is key to a brand’s inclusive DNA. Audi’s Super Bowl #DriveProgress “Daughter” spot promoted “equal pay for equal work.” But industry pubs didn’t let them toot their equal opportunity horns and walk away. They explored the brand message in Audi’s C-Suite and Board of Directors, where there wasn’t a woman to be found.
Talk is cheap. Ensuring your brand is recruiting a diverse representation of talent and perspectives is key to bringing an inclusive brand to life.
Community Involvement and Support
Finally, a brand can walk the walk by putting real resources behind its beliefs. This means donating time and money to causes that further diversity and inclusion. Search for ways to get involved with initiatives and organizations ranging from local to international levels. Wherever your resources go, be sure they’re supporting a real need. There’s no shortage of them.
The team at Unbound offers over 100 years of combined experience driving brand strategy. We’re passionate about helping our clients stay relevant on the issues that matter most.