Take a moment to think of all the traditional stereotypes you have come across in your lifetime. However horrible and incorrect they may be. Ask yourself, “Do I want to continue reinforcing this bullshit?” We aren’t implying that you’re trying to or even are. But it’s much easier to avoid seeing the big picture, seeing reality for what it is, than you think. Especially, when you’re trying to grow a brand. That’s when inclusive marketing comes in.
This week, Google’s chief marketer, Lorraine Twohill shares her approach toward creating a more inclusive marketing environment. Twohill realized early on that there was something wrong with the fact that most of the images shown in creative reviews depicted “perfect, young hipsters in beautiful houses, living in cool cities.” I still notice this myself while perusing free imaging sites. Searching “office meeting” usually involves photos of young bearded men looking at their laptops through horn-rimmed glasses.
Twohill was concerned that the images she saw weren’t telling the story of many of their users. That’s when Google began seeking out inclusive marketing strategies. They wanted to make sure people of all kinds could see themselves reflected in Google’s creative work. Let’s look at what they learned:
1. Who’s on your creative team?
Twohill’s first major advice for markers is to increase the diversity in teams that produce creative work. To ensure an inclusive perspective, Google’s creative marketing department now hires someone amidst a diverse set of candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. Twohill describes a meeting at Google where a Latino agency lead spoke on a possible feature for Hispanic users that no one had previously considered. It made a massive impact.
By instilling these practices now, Twohill also hopes to inspire creatives in the next generation. At Cannes Lion this year, Google will launch Google Creative Campus. It’s a program that will introduce students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to California for training and mentoring.
2. Diverse marketing takes practice
Twohill makes it clear that diversity isn’t some simple thing. It has layers: age, gender, skin color, geography, socioeconomic diversity, relatable jobs, abilities, sexuality, etc. As a forerunner in inclusive marketing, Google had ninety percent of its marketing team plus 200 key agency partners take a half-day training course. There, they learned how to think about inclusion when defining a target audience, recruiting underrepresented groups for audience research, and more. Inspired, they plan on releasing an e-learning course on the same subject matter.
3. Stereotypes don’t drive brands
Google quickly acknowledged that stereotypes are the best way to show your users you don’t understand them. According to a recent study, “85% of women said ads do not represent their real-world selves.” So, do you mean not all women are constantly smiling whilst eating a bowl of salad? Weird.
Twohill says that authentic characters matter. In creative marketing, it is crucial that one’s culture is portrayed correctly. Last year, the Chromebook campaign spoke in great length to Hispanic consumers, resulting in “Lo Tuyo es Chromebook.”
4. It’s up to you and your team to be accountable
Google decided they needed to track their progress toward attaining true multicultural marketing. They partnered with the Greena Davis Institute and USC to better understand representation in video. By applying similar tech to their creative, Google uncovered some stats. 54% of their images featured men, 10% featured black or Hispanic people, and the average age of image subjects was 26.
It’s a healthy example of accountability. To produce truly inclusive work, you must be able to face the music. Inclusive marketing isn’t just morally just, it also helps marketing teams and brands see the whole picture. That way, they can see through the cracks and attract a consumer base that’s gone unnoticed or been neglected. So, how inclusive is your marketing team?
Do you want to boost your brand awareness? Find out how Makeup Forever used inclusive marketing to do just that. It’s time to find a gap in the market!