Diversity, equity, and inclusion. DEI as a way to attract clients

As long as the inclusion of ad offers is believed to be the primary marketing function, consumers, whose demands are becoming more diverse, expect brands to carry out the promises claimed, thus complicating the work of marketers. Nevertheless, there are several ways to meet various clients’ demands. And today I will talk about three of them.

Focus on each and satisfy the requests of all

For instance, a user receives thousands of ad messages during a working day. It results in clients’, especially the young generation, desire to see more than a usual message about sales — they consider whether the brand takes into account the variability and inclusion of its consumers both in public and “behind the camera”.

It suggests that the consumers’ uniqueness, increasing at various levels, forms a new reality for marketers. The messages of modern brands should reflect the vast knowledge of their clients, considering their differences, such as racial and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, and various capacities, if they want to build efficient communication with future consumers.

According to the Deloitte survey of 11 500 consumers, the youngest respondents (ages 18 to 25) pay more attention to inclusive advertisements when considering a purchase.

Moreover, when examining the results of the survey on ethnic or racial origin, the respondents were up to two-and-a-half times more likely to be aware of a brand prominently promoting diversity when making a product or experience purchasing decision if they identified as Asian or Pacific Islander, Black or African American, Hispanic American, Native American or Alaska Native, or multiracial or biracial.

However, this approach appeals not to everyone: based on the Deloitte research, 57% of users prefer companies that promote the elimination of social inequity through their actions.

Such client demand results in the brands’ need to demonstrate equal results in all spheres of its influence: through hiring and retention of specialists, use of various suppliers, or product advertising and marketing for users with diverse possibilities.

The research reveals that high-growth brands (with income growth of 10% and more) rely on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) more often than their competitors with lower growth rates.

Focus on the generation Z

Numerous pieces of research show the changes in the structure of life in terms of belonging to certain groups. US Census data showed that over the last decade, people who identify themselves as multiracial, Hispanic, and Asian are driving much of the population growth.

The Gallup 2021 survey reveals that LGBTQ identity has risen from 3.5% in 2012 to 5.6% in 2020 — and includes one in six among Generation Z (ages 16 to 26 in 2021).

World Health Organization states that 15% of the global population live with a disability, and it is the category of consumers that is rarely displayed in representative advertising. Most of these changes influence the communication between brands and consumers, especially with gen Z.

In most cases, 94% of the gen Z representatives expect companies to take up a certain position regarding social issues, while 90% are likely to buy products they believe to be useful for society.

Companies should try hard to win the favor of generation Z: it is not enough to simply follow the DEI values, they must demonstrate efforts and show that a company lives up to the values declared.

Having interviewed more than 1000 CEOs worldwide, Deloitte revealed that the most rapidly growing brands seek to achieve equal results in all spheres of their influence. And while supporting the ideas of equity, they do not forget about DEI in such fields as talent attraction, talent retention, brand messages exchange, and investment in a community, thus obtaining a significant advantage compared to their competitors.

For instance, the research thus showed that 33% of high-growth organizations believe diversity in talent retention to be their key metric, whilst for negative-growth organizations, the share was 17%.

And 23% of these high-growth organizations have established ways to measure diversity in their hiring, while only 15% of negative-growth organizations have done so.

According to the 2021 Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey, 94% of CEOs indicated that DEI was a personal strategic priority, and 90% agreed that their organization aspired to be a leader on the topic.

Internal and external work of marketers regarding DEI and trust

Consumers support brands that translate and share their values. Therefore, organizations that focused on DEI admit that working with value in front of the camera is as important as behind the scenes.

Deloitte highlight three ways to achieve this.

  • Make sure that teams and suppliers represent your market

Teams — both internal and external — can reduce the cultural and demographic distance between branding and consumers. Marissa Solis, senior vice president of portfolio marketing, partnerships, and media at Frito Lay, says It’s not just who to hire internally, but who to work with. Their goal is to be sure that they work with various content creators, agencies, directors, and producers to influence the industry and be culturally significant to clients.

  • Ensure diversity of views

As chief marketing officers are often the first line to the customer, they should use that influence to monitor and bring the needs of underrepresented communities to their organization and feature those voices and faces in campaigns. For instance, Avon, global beauty and personal care brand, surveyed 8000 women around the works to understand the problems they faced during the pandemic. When the results showed that 41% lost their self-confidence, the company engaged models of various races, ethnicities, and abilities to drive awareness on its “My Story Matters” platform — a space to give women a chance to share their authentic, unedited stories.

  • Make your commitments measurable

In the end, no messages can help a brand avoid being claimed as an insincere one. One of the ways to solve this problem is to make sure that your DEI goals are used not just for the sake of it, but to create real and measurable results. Laura Curtis Ferrera, global chief marketing officer of Scotiabank, believes that AI helps to control the message exchange and ensures accountability.

Conclusion

Future generations and the growing number of various communities require more from companies. It is the reason high-growth brands reduce the cultural and demographic distance between teams and markets they want to enter.

Marketers will have to support the transformation of companies into more fair, diverse, and inclusive organizations, thus reinforcing the authenticity of their brand message.

Meanwhile, I would recommend bearing in mind that sincerity and actual actions are crucial, and an inclusive wrapping alone will not be enough to make the audience trust you. You must be and not seem.

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