From a customer experience perspective, you aren’t only competing with other companies in your industry. Your customers’ frame of reference is all other brands they’ve interacted with and the experiences they’ve delivered along the way.
That’s why as more brands begin to embrace inclusive marketing, consumers, particularly those with differences that make them not so neatly fit into what is considered to be “mainstream,” are recognizing their power. Seeing that it is possible for some brands to serve their unique needs, fuels their expectation that brands will do so in other industries.
That’s just one reason why inclusive marketing is the future of marketing. Consumers expect it. And as we start to look at shifts in the population that break up the notion of “mainstream,” consumers are growing even more comfortable leaning into what makes them different, rather than hiding them.
This changing landscape means it is even more important than ever for you to ensure they are baking inclusion into every aspect of your marketing — especially with the products you create.
Inclusive products sell more because they serve more
Brands that design their products with inclusion in mind sell more. It’s simple to understand why, the products work for a broader group of people.
Fenty Beauty was able to sell out of their makeup when they launched, because they launched with 40 shades of foundation, to accommodate women with a broad range of skin complexions.
When Apple and Samsung launch new smartphones or watches, they do so with interfaces that are easily configured to work with multiple languages.
And Sprinkles Bakery thought about inclusivity, by designing both gluten-free and vegan versions of their cupcakes, so consumers with those dietary restrictions and or preferences could still enjoy their goodies.
How to build an inclusivity into your design process
The challenge is that many brands don’t build their products with inclusion in mind. And as a result, they often have to go back and try to rework elements of their product, so they can serve a broader range of customers.
One of the primary reasons why products aren’t inclusive, is because those designing the products had a limited view of who their product was for. Sabrina Meherally is the founder of Pause & Effect, an inclusive product design consultancy. She has seen this limited thinking play out again and again with the customers she serves, and has a lot of insight into why it occurs. She explains:
“What we see are organizations that say, ‘well, our product is for all children, between the ages of this and this.’ And so we’d say, “All children? What kind of children? Is that product for children with varying physical disabilities? Is that product for children that are Black? Is that product for Indigenous children? Is that product for queer children?”
As Meherally digs deeper into helping brands define more specifically who they are designing their products for, she helps them think beyond a common default of designing with only privileged identities in mind.
When you start to expand your thinking of all the different types of people who have the problem your product solves, then it helps you start to go down the process of identifying ways you can address the unique needs of those customer groups into the product you are building, so nobody who you intend to serve, feels left out or like they don’t belong.
To be clear, inclusive marketing does not mean that you have to serve everyone. Where many brands get into trouble is when they are not intentional about who they are serving, and who they are not, resulting in many people with less privileged identities being left out.
Be intentional about who you serve. Be inclusive of the ways consumers are different. Be the brand that makes more consumers feel like they belong. Be the brand that grows as a result.