BINUS Business School

Optimizing Life and Business with Inclusive Marketing

There is no denying that society is always changing. This is especially true in the tech industry, where digital disruption is always present. People’s needs and wants develop over time, sometimes overnight. For a company, inclusivity is needed to be able to thrive among new competitors.

Discussing inclusive marketing and its role in business, Nina Wirahadikusumah, the Enterprise Director of Microsoft Indonesia, spoke about the impacts of implementing inclusivity 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. For Microsoft, the process of inclusive marketing starts with workforce culture and products.

Inclusive Culture

Before a brand can seamlessly adapt to inclusive marketing, first the company must acknowledge the importance of more diverse workforce culture, thus implementing an inclusive culture. If an organization fails to include diverse people into discussions or brainstorming sessions, then it will surely not be able to listen to the market demands.

“Diversity is one thing, but diversity without inclusion is chaos,” Nina stated. Being diverse is not enough, it needs to be within the mindset of all individuals in the organization. Without inclusion, there is a high possibility that one group is unable to understand or tolerate another group. This can create tension between the majority and minorities within an organization.

In Microsoft, inclusive culture has been applied since 2014, where they transformed from a know-it-all company into a learn-it-all company. This led to a growth in the mindset of all Microsoft employees; a belief that intelligence can be developed, a desire to learn, and the ability to embrace challenges and see failure as essential to mastery. They started by enforcing inclusive behaviors, which includes but is not limited to examining assumptions, respecting everyone’s contributions, and including people from all backgrounds.

Inclusive Product

Once an organization manages to implement inclusive culture, now it can make inclusive products. Hiring inclusive and diverse talents brings new perspectives for the company to finally see that there are various needs that have not yet been fulfilled. The key goal in manufacturing inclusive products is to help all humans to live better. Microsoft shares the same philosophy, “To amplify human ingenuity.”

Just like how Microsoft develops artificial intelligence into several products by believing in the power of ethical AI, the very foundation of ethical AI is inclusivity. One prime example is eyewear powered with AI that can be used to aid blind people in doing daily activities. It is equipped with voice commands and an AI assistant that will be able to tell the users the visuals that they want to know but are unable to see.

Another example is the Xbox Adaptive Controller made specifically for disabled people. These innovations, along with other Microsoft products like Language Microsoft Translator, Speech Cortana, and Knowledge Cognitive Services, would not be produced or even designed had Microsoft not hired diverse and inclusive people. To influence inclusive product design, one must first design for the edge case, leverage free services, and build a community to reach more audiences.

Inclusive Marketing

To create inclusive marketing, your brand should be able to understand your customers in this new era. Afterward, it is time to align your customers’ values with your brand’s message. Remember, marketing is about creating a connection and not just about generating sales. “It’s not only about attracting customers but gaining their loyalty for life.”

Inclusive marketing has been proven to be very impactful, especially during this digital era. 54% of millennials would much prefer inclusive brands. For customers, how brands react to certain social issues is very important in their purchase intentions. Inclusive marketing is effective in improving brand perception, as well as reducing churn.

Microsoft has been adapting inclusive marketing for years now. One of which is their #MakeWhatsNext campaign that promotes female roles in the STEM industry. “We need to have intentions in order to fully understand inclusivity.” Inclusivity works wonders in optimizing your business and the lives of people around us.