Diversity and Inclusion - Importance in Advertising and Marketing: United States
Diversity and inclusion help brands to discover new markets, increase and protect their reputation, and improve revenue.
Diversity helps to attract new markets
- Diversity helps a business to tap into the influence and spending power of minority groups in the US. Research shows that the spending power of African Americans is expected to hit "$1.2 trillion by 2020".
- The buying power of the LGBTQ+ community has reached $917 billion, a rise of about 3.7% within a year.
- Minority groups have huge spending power, representing a big market. They are also organized in tightly-knit communities that have influence among their peers on social media.
Increasing and protecting brand reputation
- Brands that practice diversity and inclusion attract support from customers.
- God-is Rivera, Associate Director of Social Media at digital marketing and advertising agency VML, says that customers always go a long way to support "brands that share similar values".
- People interpret messages differently, especially on social media. Companies achieve a lot of success by "tightly defining and then targeting each of their markets individually".
- A Shutterstock study shows that 88% of U.S. marketers agree that having more diverse images in a marketing campaign "helps build brand reputation".
- Around half of the marketers in the US agree that it is "important to represent modern day society" in marketing imagery.
- Diversity in advertising enables a company to discover new markets. These new markets present new revenue opportunities.
- Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics brand founded by Rihanna that claims to be “the new generation of beauty", launched 40 shades of foundation for men and women of all complexions. Such an extensive launch is unheard-of in the makeup world, especially for a new brand. In the first month after launch, the brand reported $72 million in earned media value.
- Fenty Beauty's launch garnered over 132 million views on YouTube.
- Surprisingly, foundation colors on both sides of the light and dark spectrum sold out first. Both light-skinned and dark-skinned people turned to Fenty for their cosmetic needs.
Ancestry’s recent ad backlash
- Ancestry.com recently ran an ad that caused offense instead of pulling on consumers’ heartstrings. The ad shows a white man in clothing from the 1800s holding out a ring to a black woman, and beckoning her to run away with him. “Abigail, we can escape to the North", he says. “There is a place we can be together, across the border. Will you leave with me?”
- The ad was criticized for sanitizing and inaccurately depicting American life, obscuring the brutality of slavery. Historians and advertising industry insiders noted that the ad campaign illuminates a set of very modern, ongoing American problems with race.
- Ancestry later pulled the ad off-air and issued an apology.
Utah company criticized for a lack of diversity in their ads
- A Provo-based swimsuit company launched a marketing campaign to celebrate each day’s “little victories” in 12 video interviews with Utah women from different paths of life. However, the campaign has been criticized for a lack of diversity as nine of the women are blonde, and all are white.
- Many have called on "All walks of life" to include different ethnicities, races, and backgrounds.
- When the swimsuit company defended itself by saying it is difficult to find models of color, over 100 women responded by noting alternative models.
- According to University of Utah marketing professors Arul Mishra and Himanshu Mishra, Utah companies are "known for not addressing diversity" in their campaigns.