Now Is The Time To Incorporate Diversity And Inclusivity Into Your Strategy
Addressing inequality in influencer marketing, and making conscious steps towards creating an industry of inclusion.
The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked many important conversations. Specifically, for brands, it has brought up dialogues surrounding inclusivity and diversity, and, how we as marketers can do better.
It has been reported by many that the influencer marketing industry marketing has a problem with diversity, and though many brands will promote inclusivity these notions are not always represented in campaigns and through partnerships. It can be hard to understand the importance of diversity if everyone in your organization looks similar. But, diversity in marketing is not always for you, it’s for your customers. Having marketing campaigns where models have one specific look sends an exclusive message, It inadvertently says. “Our brand is only for people who look like this”. While diverse marketing efforts imply, “our brand is for everyone.”
And, importantly, in light of current events and conversations surrounding racism, it’s important to acknowledge steps you can take to undo systemic inequality.
Diversity and Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is one of the most authentic marketing channels. It is a way for brands to establish direct and meaningful interactions with their audience, through messaging that feels less contrived than traditional marketing platforms. Influencers validate brands. They are respected as thought leaders of their industry, and their followers look to an influencer for guidance. However, influencer marketing is a marketing channel. And, like many other marketing channels, equal representation is not as common as one may think.
Perhaps, the lack of diverse representation was the most authentic message. Some brands just didn’t value diverse representation or see the importance of it.
In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, 66% of brands on the Fortune 100 made a public statement in support of the Black community and against racism. Many of these public statements were statements from CEOs, stating that an intentional effort and commitment to diversity.
Add Inclusivity To Your Branding
If inclusivity is part of your brand’s ethos – in 2020 it most likely is – then this message should resonate across all touch-points of your organization’s branding efforts. Inclusive marketing means fair and equal representation. And, this 100% applies to your influencers.
5 ways to add inclusivity to your brand image
- Make sure all marketing campaigns, online and offline, have diverse and equal representation
- Run campaigns around global events like Pride, Black History Month, and more.
- Practice what you preach and showcase the diversity inside your workplace.
- Find out which holidays or celebrations are important to your audience, and plan campaigns that celebrate the different cultures of your organization.
- Be quick to respond to social issues. Having an approved brand voice can help make this instant. For pride, it took brands dozens of years to get involved. In BLM it took a week. Establish a brand ethos that allows for immediate response time. Having a consensus around brand voice will enable this
What Does Diversity Mean?
There are many ways to change your brand’s approach and create a more holistic attitude of inclusivity and diversity. If you are looking for ways to make internal changes in your organization, here are some great tips on changing corporate culture. More often than not, these changes will trickle through your organization and impact the way in which you interact with your audience.
If you would like to ensure that your approach to influencer marketing maintains and inclusive tone, here are some important attitudes to adhere to:
- While you mainly see white influencers, there are influencers of color, of different ages, different sizes, different sexual orientations, and different gender affiliations, that produce the same content.
- A diverse influencer campaign does not just feature one “other”. It should be a reflection of the society we live in.
- Influencers should be selected based on the quality of their content and the ability to drive impact
- Hire diverse team members so there is no bias on selecting influencers
- Don’t assume you’re always doing enough. Ask peers, friends, and clients if there is more you can do to incorporate inclusivity into your work
Follow Black Influencers
If your newsfeed is a little…bland… change that. Begin following Black influencer, influencers of color, LGBTQ+ influencers, and more. Expose yourself to new content, new narratives, which can help inspire you and your work.
Food: Jenné Claiborne
Jenne is a vegan chef, author, YouTuber, and blogger.
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Hey! Looks like I have a few new followers here (over 25k since Friday 🤯). Glad to make your acquaintance. I have to admit, being in the food world isn’t easy for a black girl like me. I’ve been food blogging on sweetpotatosoul.com since 2010, and I’ve watched so many white bloggers sprint ahead of me 🤨 Since 2010 I have run a successful private chef company in NYC, grown a popular YouTube channel (557k followers), published a beautiful #vegansoulfood cookbook (also called Sweet Potato Soul), turned this blog into a 6 figure business, been featured in mainstream publications like @nytimes @essence @todayshow , AND had a baby 👶🏽 And along the way I’ve heard so many of your stories sharing how my recipes or videos helped you become vegan. Or how my blog or business inspired you to start your own. Those stories of empowerment and health are what drive me to keep creating even when I feel discouraged. When I discovered this lifestyle called veganism 10 years ago, I couldn’t have imagined how it would transform and give meaning to my life 🍠 Thank you for joining me for the ride! If you haven’t already purchased my cookbook, do it (link in my bio). It’s a great intro to my recipes and philosophy. Also, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, Sweet Potato Soul, and watch my videos! Visit my blog sweetpotatosoul.com for even more recipes! If you are a non-black person trying to follow more black creators, that’s awesome. Please engage with our content if you enjoy it, don’t just be silent followers. LIKE our posts, BUY our books/creations, and SHARE with your friends! #amplifymelanatedvoices #sweetpotatosoul https://amzn.to/2JRUVYv
Fashion: Elaine Welteroth
Eliane is the former Editor-In-Chief of Teen Vogue, and a NY Times best selling author.
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Fam! Today at 1p ET / 10a PT on IG Live I’ll be attempting my first virtual #quarantinecooking class with the homies @ghettogastro. They’re the REAL cooks but this one’s for the beginners like me—no judgement zone! Who’s coming through? What do you want to see us make? (P.S. I was serving you a pre-quarantine head-to-toe @prabalgurung lewk in this photo but today I will be serving you a struggle sweats lewk a la day 127374 of house arrest. Do not judge me.)⚡️#gastronomicalcribs
Yoga: Jessamyn Stanley
Jessamyn runs her own yoga channel @theunderbellyyoga, and a body-positive advocate. She has collaborated with brands including Adidas, Starbucks, and ThredUp.
Travel: Erick Prince
Erick is a travel journalist and photographer. He is currently traveling around the world and has already been to 95 countries.
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For better or worse, travel is about to start again. And yup, I’m hitting the road. Spending the last few days planning my next adventures around the world. And while I’ve planned hundreds of trips at this point, this feels different. The world is different. And never before have there been so many unknowns when planning travel. Which makes this even more exciting for someone like myself. But there’s another feeling that I didn’t expect to creep in during my planning phase. Regret. Ya’ll know I’m not a fast traveler anymore. I tend to spend a bit of time in places and get to know the people, culture, and energy of a given destination. Resulting in me making some wonderful friends around the world. It’s also meant that I have a deep emotional connection to places. And seeing the devastation that Covid-19 has caused is heartbreaking. The global impact of this virus will send shockwaves for years to come, but I want to make a small difference. I plan to get back on the road late August or early September until April 2021. During this time, I plan to revisit places that I love and show my love and support to local businesses, fellow content creators, and communities. Places like Trentino Italy, Transylvania Romania, Tamil Nadu India, and Northeastern Europe. Not to mention some new destinations to knock off my country counting list, looking at you Cyprus. And I hope to show you how we can all change the travel industry by being a bit more responsible and supporting places that need a boost in the coming years. We’ve taken travel freedom for granted a long time now. What I’ve learned these last few months is we need to savor and embrace every moment of freedom we have to explore and discover. Smelling every scent. Tasting every treat. Returning every smile. And being present in every moment. Rediscovering our love for the unknown. Where’s a place you would like to return and show some love? Do you think 2020 is too soon to start traveling again?
Beauty: Tavaris Jefferson
Travis is a make-up guru who offers amazing tutorials. He is also an LGBTQ+ activist.
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I have contemplated whether or not I wanted to post content and I decided to because the world needs to continue to see black people showing themselves and accepting every part of themselves. It’s also the first day of pride month and I have pride in been who I am. Makeup is so therapeutic to me it’s like a drug at calms me and in these times we definitely need that. I urge all of you to love yourself first so then you can understand what it’s like to love others. Continue to stand strong my brothers and sisters ✊🏾 #blacklivesmatter #pride
Creating Impactful Influencer Campaigns
There are many ways your influencer campaigns can drive impact. The impressions your content drives, the number of link clicks, and conversions, are all tangible ways to measure your impact. But, don’t forget, brand exposure. The most positive exposure your brand gets the more it will benefit your tangible metrics, hence you will be able to understand the impact.
More inclusivity means more people will connect with your brand and have an affinity towards your message. Your positive impact on your audience and society will also positively impact your brand. What’s better than that?
If you’d like to learn more about how you can support diversity and inclusivity through influencer marketing, please schedule a session with one of our influencer experts.