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Published on

April 17, 2024


Today's brands must navigate complex challenges, including aligning closely with the evolving values and expectations of diverse audiences to maintain relevance and trust.

HubSpot defines inclusive marketing as, ‘campaigns that embrace diversity by including people from different backgrounds or stories that unique audiences can relate to.’

  • Inclusive marketing allows brands to authentically connect with diverse audiences.
  • Emphasis on brand values and empathy is critical to build connections.
  • Inclusivity in advertising increases customer loyalty and brand trust.
  • Building an inclusive brand involves internal changes, diverse team building, and adapting your strategy as you go.

Research from Microsoft shows that 72% of people are more likely to support brands with authentic advertising that is inclusive and representative of society.

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Why are inclusive marketing and communications so important?

Inclusive communication allows a brand to reach as many people as possible and avoids excluding anyone. It spans any gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and background. It looks beyond stereotypes or assumptions on who might be interested in your brand, product, or service.

Inclusive comms should consider the accessibility of the brand message and the channels. Utilise social media platforms or websites that broaden your audience. Do not overlook certain demographics based on exclusionary biases. Be careful to consider not only the content of your message but the channel you use to spread it as well.

Audience satisfaction with a brand’s inclusivity efforts is always under the public microscope. More and more brands are considering their inclusive communication strategy. There is still a lot of work to be done.

Examples of inclusive marketing

When done well, inclusive marketing can be incredibly rewarding. More and more brands have an inclusive mindset and don’t only show diversity in their assets but go even further and develop truly inclusive products.

In June 2020, Gucci launched a new mascara campaign with, Ellie Goldstein, a model with Down Syndrome from Essex. The Instagram post garnered 859,000+ likes.

In April 2021, Unilever announced the release of a new Sure deodorant for people with visual impairment and upper limb disabilities. The first of its kind, the inclusive product was described as revolutionary in the press.

Last year, LEGO released their A-Z awesome campaign, which celebrated inclusive, self expression and creativity. The campaign inspired people to prompt conversions about gender identity and sexual orientation.

How do you become a more inclusive brand?

Outline your goals

A good starting point is to make internal changes, from defining how you want to be seen as a brand to evaluating how inclusive your products, services, and marketing are.

Definie goals and objectives in line with your brand values and culture. It will help you adopt inclusivity for the right reasons and will ensure this is a long-term approach.

Build your team

Appoint an inclusive internal marketing lead or an external consultant. Marketers are well-placed to lead such initiatives working at the intersection of management, sales and product teams. This role will lead the inclusive marketing mission and gather a team around to shape it.

A diverse team is essential, spanning across all functions (management, sales, product development, HR, finance, and operations), seniority levels, genders, and backgrounds. It’s key to include as many voices as possible. They will think much more broadly than a team with the same background and culture.

If your organisation is international, the team should include members from various countries. Together, this team will audit the current marketing process and outputs.

Screen your audience

This is where data is key. It’s important to get to know your audiences, their needs, their preferences, and their concerns. Insight is crucial to define how your brand is going to impact your audience and respond to their needs. Using a mix of CRM and research tools will provide this data.

Define your goals and strategic objectives

Now you have set up your inclusive marketing team and collected your data, it is time to audit your findings and data. Set clear goals, establish KPIs and define a strategy to drive more inclusivity.

Some examples of what your strategy might include could be regular internal training sessions for company employees. Or even the implementation of tools allowing colleagues to better collaborate across teams and offices.

Reward inclusive initiatives

Efforts leading to inclusive marketing should be rewarded. This will be a great incentive to motivate staff and keep building on the programme. If your organisation is serious about inclusivity, then rewarding its efforts should be part of the regular staff development process.

Assess and adjust

At the audit stage, you will have defined a scoring system to help you assess the level of inclusivity of your brand and marketing from day 1. It is wise to measure progression quarterly and adjust the approach and strategic tactics as you go.

Organisations have a responsibility to foster positive social change but can’t change their mindset and approach overnight. The key point is to be aware of the problem. Being conscious that marketing needs to evolve as our populations and world are evolving is already a step forward.

All in all…

It all comes down to knowing your audience and adapting your product development approach and message. It’s easier to change your mindset when you’re aware of a problem. We can only encourage everyone in a company to do their own internal research, read articles and blogs. They can become the leaders of tomorrow by implementing small changes every day.

You can consider anything from increasing representation in your photos, adding subtitles to your videos, including audio descriptions or Braille labels with instructions on your products.

Inclusive marketing will increase trust and loyalty and will drive a higher business impact so what are you waiting for? Inclusive marketing needs to be part of a wider and long-term diversity and inclusion approach.

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