Diversity and Inclusion-Best Communication Practices


To identify best practices in diversity and inclusion marketing and brand communications, including which channels to use, how to message, how to visually represent, and any other best diversity and inclusion communication practices beyond channels, messaging, and visual representation of diversity and inclusion. This information will be used to demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion via brand and marketing communications.

Early Findings

  • The definition of diversity can be broad, including traditional definitions (diversity in race, ethnicity, and gender) as well as diversity in experiences and perspectives (cognitive diversity).
  • Gen-X and Boomers are more likely to consider the traditional definition of diversity, while younger consumers are more likely to view diversity as a difference in perspectives and experience.
  • Inclusive marketing involves creating content that reflects the diverse target audiences that brands are trying to reach.
  • Millenials are more likely to choose one brand over another if it demonstrates diversity and inclusion in its promotions. 83% of respondents in a survey said that representing modern society in marketing communications would have a positive impact.

Marketing and Brand Communication Strategies Highlighting Diversity and Inclusion

  • Google communicated diversity by using actual brand user photos, from different backgrounds, in their television campaign for Google Pixel, "The Picture-Perfect-Life", with the goal to recognize a broader range of socioeconomic backgrounds, gender, and race. The campaign also raised the issue of mental health within the campaign, which has initiated significant online discussion and been highlighted in major ad publications, including AdWeek.
  • Microsoft's "We All Win" Superbowl commercial focused on a new gaming controller targeted toward people with disabilities. Their messaging linked the benefits of the product to an inclusivity message through mini-testimonials, in which children were shown using the controller and discussing how much they love video games, and how the controller helped them bond with their friends. This commercial received 29.5 million views on YouTube.
  • Social media is frequently mentioned as a means to communicate diversity and inclusion in brand marketing campaigns, as well as a platform for spreading the inclusion marketing message.
  • Bumble set up an Instagram campaign to showcase the diversity and unique, inspirational backgrounds, of their users, with the handle #findthemonbumble.
  • Coca-Cola's "Share A Coke" campaign featured names from around the world on their bottles, and photos of various bottles with names are frequently shared across social media.
  • Using inclusive imagery, being mindful of how race, gender, and religion are portrayed in advertising and ensuring the brand's customer base is represented is a key consideration in inclusion marketing.
  • Gap's "Back to School" campaign was successful in demonstrating inclusion through fashion.
  • Other "inclusion marketing" best practices include celebrating existing customers and designing inclusivity campaigns around them and being consistent as a brand and company in embracing core diversity and inclusion values.

Don'ts in Diversity and Inclusivity Brand and Marketing Communication

  • Some key 'watch outs' in brand communications related to diversity and communication include ensuring multilingual campaigns use slogans that are understood by potential users and making sure a 'edgy' campaign doesn't cross the line to being offensive.
  • Marketing research and testing creatives prior to launch are suggested as ways to avoid these missteps.

Summary of Our Early Findings Relevant to the Goals

Our early research points to a number of factors that have been successfully implemented in diversity and inclusion brand and marketing communications. We also uncovered a number of case studies which highlighted how brands are communicating inclusion in their marketing efforts, in terms of messaging, visuals, and channel. We were also able to find some information regarding campaigns that were unsuccessful in their brand diversity and inclusion efforts.

Given that we were able to find preliminary detailed information across all key questions, we recommend proceeding with more in-depth research to summarize best practices in how to message and visually represent diversity and inclusion in brand and marketing communications as well as understanding which channels have been successfully used for diversity and inclusion brand marketing. We will also highlight more detailed information about tactics that have been unsuccessful in diversity and inclusion marketing.

Messaging is defined as how a brand communicates its value proposition and how this communication helps consumers relate to the brand, inspire them and potentially motivate them to buy the product. Visual representation is the conveyance of information through images (e.g., a logo, a group of people, pictures). Channels are the specific platforms, such as social media, television, or radio, through which a brand or marketing message is communicated.

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