At Walk West, we define inclusive marketing as “diverse teams using an inclusive process to connect with all audiences.” For us, inclusive marketing is a process and set standard of care.
We fold inclusive marketing into everything we do — from the way we develop a project, to our final deliverable. We don’t simply segment by target audience or apply diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices as an add on, but embed them end-to-end, regardless of ask. Every step of the way, our team uses an inclusive lens to create work that stands out and connects.
What Does This Look Like
SAFEchild is a Wake County organization that offers a wide range of child abuse prevention and intervention services to children and families at no cost. They serve many diverse communities within Wake County and use inclusive marketing to resonate with their audiences.
For their capital giving campaign, SAFEchild wanted to develop a heartfelt and informational video that reflected the diversity of the people they serve. This included children, parents, caregivers, guardians, and community supporters.
As an integral part of the project team, Derek Ross, Senior Account Supervisor on SAFEchild’s account, noticed there were no Black and Brown boys represented in the casting submissions. Upon further review, he found the casting agencies didn’t have any within their portfolios and filling those roles was a consistent challenge for them.
As it just so happens, Walk West had previously worked with a young actor of color in a previous project. Receiving the contact information from his colleague, Derek was able to connect with the young actor’s mom, arrange a reading for the part, and — within a 2-day turnaround, helped secure his casting in the video. Derek also made sure the actor and his mom received the same rate and commission as all other actors who were cast.
The result? A heartfelt piece that accurately reflected the communities SAFEchild serves in Wake County.
Why Lead with Inclusive Marketing
Inclusive marketing is powerful because of its ability to create impact through storytelling. However, this requires the right voices and representation to be present during the process. Building a deliverable with someone (inclusive marketing) is different than building a deliverable for someone (multicultural marketing).
As a Black man with a seat at the table, Derek understood intimately how young Black and Brown youth are often left out of conversations about abuse. This video focused on young people facing abuse and violence — to not include young boys of color in their representation would be to ignore them entirely. In that moment, Derek recognized how important his voice was in ensuring this was not another moment of exclusion for a conversation that could help save lives.
Together as a team, our goal was for parents to see the video and say “I see my child in this video, but I also see myself.” That’s inclusive marketing. It includes all members of the community and represents them visually — telling them “I see you, I’m thinking of you, I value you.”
At Walk West, we seek to do that for each and every project, start to finish.
The Business Impact On Your Marketing
Beyond being a best practice, inclusive marketing can have a powerful business impact on your marketing. Studies have shown that inclusive ads increase consumer purchase intent by 68%1. Additionally:
- 59% of consumers say they are more loyal to brands that lead with diversity and inclusion2
- Over 70% of Gen Z consumers are more trusting of, and seek out, brands that authentically show diversity in their marketing3
- Brands with the highest diversity scores show an 83% higher consumer preference4
Yet fewer than 1 in 10 marketing agencies5 review ads for inclusion, let alone create using an inclusive process. Which is why it is important to us – as a team, as individuals, and as an agency – to lead with it.
Great! But What Does This Process Include
As a diverse team, we seek to create space that advocates for inclusion and representation. Additionally, our workflows are designed to include:
- ADA compliance and accessibility standards
- Inclusive UX/UI design
- Inclusive imagery and language
- Bilingual content
- Universal design knowledge
- Content development for screen readers
- Ongoing DEI team trainings from our partner agency, The Diversity Movement
But that’s just a brief snapshot. Our approach to inclusive marketing goes beyond any checklist. It’s holistic; it touches every aspect of our business and our process.
Learn More About How We Work
Want to see our inclusive marketing in action? Connect with our team to learn more about the work we do.
See the team members responsible for our inclusive processes here.
1McKinsey & Company, The Rise of the Inclusive Consumer
2Facebook Marketing, Diverse and Inclusive Representation in Online Advertising
3Microsoft, The Psychology of Inclusion and the Effects in Advertising
4MarketingDive, Study: Diversity in ads correlates to gains in revenue, brand perception
5iProspect, Future Focus 2020