If you’re like most people, you’ve likely had moments where you felt unseen. Perhaps, you were being talked over in a group discussion with your friends or not considered for that promotion at work. No matter what the situation might have been, you probably remember the way it made you feel.
We all want to be seen, heard, and respected. And when that level of representation intersects with things like race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, and accessibility, you discover what truly motivates people. You learn about each other’s values and what each individual needs in their journey to fit in.
Marketing and advertising play a huge role in crafting these stories of belonging. In fact, digital spaces are often the first places many people on the margins of society find that sense of belonging. And most of them probably arrived at those spaces through digital ads on social media.
Let’s take a closer look at Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) and how it impacts digital marketing agencies and the world.
Why DEIA Matters in Marketing
What is DEIA?
DEIA is a collective movement celebrating dignity and respect across every aspect of life. It’s celebrated in universities, the workplace, and even the government as a standard go-to practice to ensure that all community members are fairly represented, included, and celebrated.
Let’s break down each letter of DEIA and what they mean individually.
- Diversity is the practice, quality, or existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people which includes or involves people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.
- Equity refers to fairness and justice and is distinguished from equality. Where equality means providing the same to all, equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and adjust to imbalances.
- Inclusion is the act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability).
- Accessibility is when the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered, and products, services, and facilities are built or modified so that they can be used by people of all abilities.
Why is DEIA so important in Marketing?
Did you know that over 70% of people expect brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their online advertising?
DEIA in marketing is about authenticity–keeping it real and following through on multiple channels. The digital world is diverse and is used by many individuals with unique characteristics. Those individuals want to feel that they are being represented in a company’s branding no matter where they interact with it.
This is evident given that 59% of consumers feel more trusting of brands where they feel represented in their ads. That means a person is likelier to become loyal to a brand if they feel like the company uses DEIA authentically in marketing and advertising.
Gen Z especially wants to know that the brands they support stand for something. One study found that “70% of Gen Z consumers are more trusting of brands that represent diversity in ads.” They want to align themselves with brands that share similar values. That could be DEIA specifically or niche topics like sustainability, health and wellness, and nutrition.
How to be more Diverse and Inclusive in your Branding
There are many ways to celebrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in your marketing and advertising efforts. Often the first step is to listen. You know what you want to accomplish, and you know the people you want to reach out to–now listen to their needs, values, and motivations. Be proactive in your efforts to include those needs in your marketing.
From a digital marketing agency perspective, we can use diverse and inclusive images in our ads and social posts that speak not only to a broad range of people but also to a broad range of abilities within our target audiences.
An added layer of accessibility can come from optimizing content for screen readers by including alt-text for social media images and website graphics. Additionally, adding subtitles to videos on YouTube or TikTok or reels on Instagram can create a better user experience for individuals with disabilities. Those simple steps can make your content marketing more accessible and thus more likely to convert audiences when they know you’ve authentically aimed your brand values toward inclusion.
Room for Everyone
DEIA has come a long way in recent years. It’s been incorporated into organizational development practices in companies across the globe and has even been signed into an Executive Order in the US striving to make workplaces more accessible. But there’s still much progress to be made.
The key to successful DEIA practices is always authenticity. No matter how you choose to move forward with your organization’s DEIA efforts, it’s so important to do so with authentic intentions aimed to genuinely make a difference, not just make a profit. It takes more than just a few steps. Consumers want to see that you’re truly invested in not only making inclusive content but fostering a more inclusive world. And your customers can, and will, tell the difference.
At fishbat, we strive to bring an added layer of authenticity to our clients’ digital presences by fully immersing ourselves in their corporate culture. We want to understand exactly who they are and the solutions they offer so that we can develop thoughtful strategies to reach their audiences in meaningful and impactful ways. If you’d like to see how DEIA can impact your digital marketing, let’s chat!