8 Methods to Promoting Yourself as a More Inclusive and Diverse Business
Making a business that is more inclusive for all your employees requires a lot of soul-searching and due diligence upfront. When it comes to preaching inclusivity and diversity to the wider public, there is a lot at stake for your business. A company that preaches inclusivity as its fundamental value will make for a more profitable business further down the line because it’s going to bring more people into the fold.
The fact is we have to be inclusive because if we’re not being inclusive we are being discriminatory, even in little ways. You might not think of your business as excluding certain sectors of society, but this is why you have got to start thinking about how you are being perceived. When it comes to promoting your business, what does it take to ensure you are being a more inclusive entity?
Use the Right Language
Inclusive language is a very difficult thing to get right. When it comes to every aspect of your outgoing copy, from your website’s materials to marketing, and even your job descriptions, you’ve got to think about those invisible barriers that keep people from understanding your message.
You may naturally veer towards acronyms or emojis, but it is a difficult balance to get right, especially if it unintentionally excludes some people. If your target market encompasses a wide range of individuals, you’ve got to tone down any barriers that keep people from understanding your core message. This also includes when you are communicating with your customers.
When businesses are looking for the best live chat solutions for websites, chatbots come up time and time again, and when the customer is communicating with a business, it is critical to ensure your customer service agents know how to communicate in a neutral way. This means avoiding specific language or slang unless the customer is giving hints in their correspondence that they are happy for you to use them.
It’s also important to remember that even business jargon can seem jarring, and we can attempt to make ourselves sound more intelligent than we are by using complex language. While the acronym: Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) will work well here, it’s important to note that the word “stupid” can have a number of negative connotations so we have to tread carefully.
Think About Your Visuals
When it comes to any form of advertising, if you are not hooking the audience in because they don’t feel like you are catering for them, you’ve got to greatly rethink how you diversify your promotional material. What customers see is the most important factor in whether they should purchase from you or not and covers every aspect of your business, from your ads to your website and blogs.
Diversity doesn’t cover race, age, or gender, but socioeconomic status, size, physical and mental ability, and even how people perceive colours and fonts. For example, certain colour schemes are difficult to read, not just for people who have colour blindness, but for people in general. And when we start to think about how we can become more inclusive, we slowly start to open our eyes, pun intended, to what afflictions are being faced by people all over the world.
When you start to think about how to become more inclusive, you’ve got to let this influence your visuals and your content.
Become a Diversity Supporter
One of the most important marketing tools in the modern business world is to showcase how you are getting involved on a grassroots level. Many companies are becoming more involved in fighting climate change and they use this as a part and parcel of their promotional tactics, in the hope they will appeal to people looking for organisations that share the same values as them.
The problem is that many companies are now being very liberal with their achievements. This so-called greenwashing, where companies lie about the environmental impact of their products or just exaggerate their benefits, can be detrimental to a business in the long run. This is why you’ve got to start from a place of honesty and integrity.
Being a diversity supporter is a simple thing to say, but how are you going to show your commitment to this? Becoming a diversity supporter in an external sense, and these include some of the following:
- Joining diversity organisations and participating in events.
- Keeping up to date on changes on a political and cultural level.
- Making alterations in your products and promotions to reflect your support for diversity.
In fact, the latter point can be a very beneficial selling point. For example, companies that sell toys to children with learning difficulties can greatly benefit from positive word of mouth for catering to such a niche target market. It also helps that businesses that do things like this are actually coming at it from a place where they are focused on doing good for society.
Businesses can easily get distracted by profit, which is why if you start to become a diversity supporter, you are making those inherent changes, not for the purposes of promotion but because it becomes a part of your core values and will influence the right type of customer, but also the right type of employee.
Promoting a Company Culture of Inclusivity
When you find the right type of employee, this will greatly foster an inclusive environment. To make cultural changes you have to give it the time it needs, but some of the following can be invaluable:
- Equal pay.
- Acknowledging all cultural holidays.
- Diversifying your teams.
- Being aware of unconscious bias.
The latter is incredibly important. There are many people who preach diversity and inclusivity but have found themselves displaying signs of unconscious bias and this can greatly impact your organization’s ability to develop but also promote itself as an inclusive and diverse company.
One of the best ways to identify any hidden biases would be to take an implicit association test. Doing this can help you to understand the level of unconscious bias that might be endemic throughout your organisation. It’s important to fix these and also to have people that want to fix their unconscious biases.
Stay Away From Appropriation and Stereotypes
Cultural appropriation has found itself under the microscope in recent years, predominantly in celebrity sectors. Avoiding stereotypes and appropriation is critical for how you promote yourself. Beyond offending people, the fact of the matter is that stereotypes are greatly unimaginative and drawing on these tropes is not catering to the world at large.
If you are trying to reach a greater sense of diversity in your organisation, leaning on something that can get your business into hot water will greatly reduce your stance, and when it comes to avoiding these in your marketing you should go back to the brainstorming process and operate with a greater degree of context and empathy.
Understand Your Customer
Market research is still incredibly important to land customers and we must utilise it as much as possible. Considering your customers’ needs before you start crafting marketing campaigns allows you to get to grips with who they are. Look at the demographics and see if there are segments of the population that would benefit from what you are offering.
There is a great difference between targeting and promoting in general, so you could go back to your leads that didn’t result in a sale. If there was a misalignment between your messaging and sales pitch because they didn’t feel like the brand spoke to them or showed their values, they were less likely to purchase from you in the first place. Looking at your customers before you start creating marketing campaigns will save you a lot of effort and create a far more inclusive campaign.
Remember the Difference Between Inclusion and Diversity
Diversity and inclusion are often lumped together but we have to remember that diversity is critical at the marketing stage because you can showcase a wide variety of cultures, for example, in your photography.
Inclusivity means providing equal access to resources and opportunities for people who may feel marginalised or excluded and diversity is the practice of being inclusive. When you start to consider the differences between the two, while subtle, they will make a big difference in how you are promoting yourself as a more multifarious and welcoming organisation.
Starting at the Beginning
All of these things are worth nothing unless they are baked into your organisation. This is why promoting your business as more inclusive or diverse means that you’ve got to start from the very beginning. Whether it’s your marketing strategies or the people you hire, if you are not bringing people into your organisation starting with a foundation of diversity or inclusivity, you must go back to the drawing board and think about what this actually entails for you.
It will help you to promote yourself as a more diverse entity but it also ensures that you are being authentic in who you are. Because we can easily touch upon promotional tactics to make us look like we are doing more, the problem is that, after a while, businesses will easily get left out as being inauthentic. Honesty is the best policy in every single way.
- more inclusive for all your employees
- Inclusive language
- best live chat solutions for websites
- certain colour schemes are difficult to read
- companies that sell toys to children with learning difficulties
- signs of unconscious bias
- implicit association test