Businesses measure most everything. As marketers, why not aim to measure equity, accessibility, and diversity within your content? As we look into the new year and decade, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion will continue to be important topics, and rightfully so. They’re not just a passing trend; consumers want to align themselves with companies whose values reflect their own.
Here are some ideas and themes to help provide opportunities to open up the pathway for inclusive, accessible work and creativity.
Representation & Diversity
When it comes to selecting images and creating visuals, represent modern-day society and diverse groups.Choose images that are relatable to a wide number of groups and it will elevate your brand’s reputation. Consumers support brands that accurately portray the world around them, and that’s good for business. Shoppers are more likely to purchase products if they see them being used by someone who looks like them.
When the Tinuiti CRM & Email team tested the use of full figure models in email imagery for a lingerie client, they saw the conversion rate for campaigns to a plus-size audience increase by 105%! This simple tweak to include more representative imagery made a huge impact.
Diversity in your marketing comes more naturally when you have diversity within your team or company. Challenge the norms, and build diversity into your group; have men and women, along with differing ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and/or abilities on your team. When you’re brainstorming content or gathering ideas, having diversity within will invite different perspectives and illuminate things that you alone may not see.
Accessibility & Empathy
Creating beautiful and inclusive content is wonderful, but it should be accessible for all. For example, could a blind person or someone with a physical or cognitive disability interact with your email campaigns? Think of email accessibility as an extension of your customer service or user experience. Including some adjustments ensures every subscriber will have a positive experience.
A few code or design adjustments can make your emails more accessible. Offer both plain text and HTML options when your user signs up to receive your emails. The HTML option will load an email that contains images, while a plain text version is more accessible to visually impaired users who might need the assistance of a screen reader. Tailor the written content in your email to deliver the most important message first. You can also apply tags to your email code to differentiate between headlines, paragraphs, promotional offers, etc. Make the email experience more pleasant, accessible and easily digestible for all.
Go the extra mile to approach your audience with empathy by allowing contacts to opt-out of messaging that could be triggering. Treat your email subscribers like humans as opposed to another contact record in your database and let your audience tell you what they may not want to see. For example, allow members of your audience to opt-out of mother’s or father’s day marketing to avoid upsetting individuals who may have lost a parent. Another example is to allow opt-out options during Valentine’s Day for people who recently went through a breakup. These easy to implement suppressions will go a long way toward building relationships and loyalty amongst your customer base.
Open up the Pathway for Nuance
Welcome nuance when setting up audiences or thinking about demographics. For example, gender segmentation within email marketing can be a useful tool for personalization, but what about those who don’t subscribe to the binary system? Be cognizant of putting your audience in a box and give them options for the content that they receive. Again, this is an intangible benefit that will result in earning your consumers trust, appreciation, and business.
Foster inclusion by representing the diverse audiences that your content serves from the start. Nuances throughout the creative process will elevate the end story and voice of your project or brand.
For example, a beautiful and impactful email was produced for clothing retailer Two Blind Brothers when the Tinuiti team took a risk to try something new. To help illustrate the Two Blind Brothers’ commitment to fund a cure for blindness, Tinuiti produced an email that showed how an email campaign would look if you were color blind.
“We personally don’t know what it’s like to be color blind, but the goal was to emulate the actual experience for our audience. We wanted to educate the consumer without drowning them. This campaign was a rare chance to create empathy around something.”
– Tayler Wall, Creative Producer, at Tinuiti
The team took an idea and evolved it to create something beautiful and interesting for the reader. It was a unique idea to showcase the social impact of Two Blind Brothers, and it was a risk that paid off.
“The best marketing campaigns are those that are experiential; they give you something new and you think or feel something different. We established the brand as a leader and educator in contributing awareness. Bringing it back to the brand was the long-term goal.”
– Peter Inthirakoth, Senior Strategist, at Tinuiti
This email had a click rate that was 3x higher than their program average, was on the high end of the revenue stream, exceeding all performance expectations. By taking a risk, trying something new, and establishing a relationship with the unique audience that Two Blind Brothers attracts, the Tinuiti team was able to elevate an idea and opened up the door for striking creative and impactful, inclusive messaging.
Shifting Unconscious Bias Toward Meaningful Change
Adopting new ideas and breaking old habits can be difficult. It will take deliberate and intentional efforts such as being aware of biases within creative and marketing. One way to move the needle is again to include diverse team members in the creative process, and most importantly foster an environment where they feel comfortable sharing the perspective that majority members of the group might not consider otherwise.
If that’s not a readily available option, consider a diversity consultant. This could be someone who consults full time, or you could consider someone who is a diversity champion within the company or team.
In closing, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion has great importance and are extremely valuable. I hope these insights and ideas help prompt curiosity about creation and ways for creativity to be accessible, inclusive, and sincere. We can all help design, produce, and curate a more accessible and equitable future for all.