BINUS Business School

Why Inclusive Marketing is Needed and How It Works

In this digital era, people have easier access to many sources of information. This enables them to be more aware and sensitive to social issues that have been neglected for years. While some brands see this as a challenge, it actually presents an opportunity for brands to connect with more targeted audiences and to finally develop their businesses with products or services catered to the needs of these diverse communities.

Pantri Heriyati, from the Center of Business and Social Empowerment BINUS University, spoke about her insights on inclusive marketing during the webinar ‘Inclusive Marketing: the Potential and Urgency’ held by Global Business Marketing undergraduate program of BINUS Business School and Microsoft Indonesia on June 5.

What is Inclusivity?

The word inclusive is defined as “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, typically those who fall into minority groups. When this concept is integrated into marketing, it produces campaigns that embrace diversity by including people from different backgrounds.

Some inclusive campaigns are aimed to break stereotypes, whereas other inclusive campaigns simply reflect the people around the product or service. The main goal of inclusive marketing is to fully represent all kinds of people, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation, or educational background. The question “Can I see myself in it? Does it relate to my identity and struggles?” should always be highlighted whenever a marketing campaign is being constructed.

Inclusivity is all around us, not just related to marketing. Sometimes, it is about breaking prejudices or biases. If you think about a CEO in a multinational company, would you immediately imagine a woman of color as the CEO? Can a ‘feminine’ woman be a computer engineer? Have you seen a disabled man as an athlete, competing in a world championship? This is why inclusivity matters as society has rapidly changed into a more diverse one. The brand’s social impact is stronger than ever, which will most definitely affect the purchase intent.

The Principles of Inclusive Marketing

In inclusive marketing, the main responsibility is to broadcast the brand’s message in a way that resonates with people from all walks of life, regardless of their backgrounds. To adopt inclusive marketing for your brand, there are 6 principles that you need to rely on.

The first one is to set the right tone. The tone is the characteristic, the sentiment of the whole content. It is best to consider the overall subject and impact of the content during the planning stages to help you reach a respectful tone. Then, you can start with the language. Be considerate with each word, phrase, symbol, and metaphor used in your marketing contents, not only the words you say but also how and where these words are placed.

Always ensure representation through stories, images, videos, or other kinds of media. Remember, people want to feel represented, to know that they are being heard and empowered. Be careful with the context of your content; learn more about cultural and historical influences throughout the year to not offend anyone. Avoid appropriation and connotative stereotypes, go the distance, and try to break those harmful stereotypical boundaries.

Increased Need for Inclusivity in Marketing

Why is now the right time for inclusive marketing? Customers want to feel represented. By being represented, they feel that they are being respected by the brands. 52% of customers will choose to no longer use a brand that does not relay personalized and inclusive messages. Google survey finds that 70% of black Millennials are more likely to buy a brand that stands against racial issues publicly.

By not adopting inclusive marketing, marketers lose a huge market consisting of inclusive communities. A Nielsen report stated that a brand that does not have a multicultural strategy will not have a growth strategy. Inclusive marketing is a tool to attract new audiences and reach the next generation of workforces. More companies are hiring diverse people who bring new perspectives on how a product or service should be marketed. Businesses that do not reflect these changes miss out on a tremendous pool of talent and opportunity to connect with a more diverse customer base.