Brand Strategy

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Inclusive Branding: How to Reach Diverse Audiences with Purpose

What is inclusive branding? While the term might be new and buzzing, the sentiments aren’t. It is all about businesses that embrace and authentically represent diversity in their branding. It is not only to appeal to a broader audience but also to contribute positively to society.

Inclusive branding goes beyond just showcasing diversity; it involves creating a brand that respects, values and celebrates differences. It's about making every customer feel seen and heard. To achieve this, businesses need to adopt strategies that reflect their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In this article, we will explore the strategies for creating inclusive branding that resonates with a wide range of customers and communities.

Why Inclusive Branding Matters

In today's global marketplace, customers want to connect with brands that align with their values. Inclusive branding demonstrates that your business is aware of the diverse world we live in and is committed to making a positive impact. It builds trust and loyalty among customers.

Know Your Audience: Research and Empathy

Understanding your audience is the first step toward creating inclusive branding. Conduct thorough research to gain insights into the demographics, behaviours, and values of your target audience. Empathy plays a crucial role in connecting with diverse communities genuinely.

An excellent example of this is Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign, which truly understood the pressures that women have faced to look and be a certain way. So, they challenged conventional beauty standards by celebrating the natural beauty of women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.

Cultural Competence in Branding

To create an inclusive brand, you must be culturally competent. This means respecting cultural nuances, traditions, and customs. Avoid cultural appropriation and ensure that your branding is sensitive to the cultural diversity of your audience.

Google Doodles are a prime example. They pay tribute to icons, educate, and inspire, fostering cultural awareness. These doodles also celebrate global events and local traditions, bridging cultural divides. Most importantly, they localize the doodles to the region, further creating a connection with their audience.

Authenticity in Representation

Authenticity is key in inclusive branding. Represent diversity in your marketing materials honestly, and avoid tokenism. Ensure that your employees and spokespeople reflect the diversity you promote in your brand.

For example, Ben & Jerry's, not only showcases diversity in its advertisements but also actively supports social justice causes, including being involved in social activism for decades, having an in-house 20-person activist team, and reacting quickly to external events such as the death of George Floyd

Accessibility: A Crucial Aspect

Make your brand accessible to everyone. This includes considering physical accessibility in your stores or websites and ensuring your content is available in multiple formats, such as braille or audio for those with disabilities.

Microsoft stands as a shining example, with a commitment to creating products that level the playing field for people with diverse impairments. Microsoft's dedication to inclusivity extends beyond its products; it resonates in its marketing too. A prime illustration is their "We All Win" Super Bowl ad, spotlighting the Xbox Adaptive Controller for children with physical disabilities. This ad goes beyond promotion; it empowers young people by showcasing real kids using the controller.

Language and Communication Considerations

Be mindful of language use. Avoid exclusionary language and terminology that may offend or marginalize certain groups. Use language that is respectful and inclusive.

MasterCard's "True Name™" program exemplifies this. Allowing trans and non-binary individuals to use their chosen names on credit cards, offers affirmation of their true selves. This small change yields a profound impact, fostering inclusivity and enhancing safety by aligning language with identity. It's a testament to how language choices can reshape cultures.

Inclusive Visual Identity

Your brand's visual identity, including logos and imagery, should reflect diversity. Ensure that people of different backgrounds are represented in your visuals.

Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign is an excellent example, as it personalized its products with diverse names and encouraged people from various backgrounds to share moments of happiness. With hundreds of first names available ranging from Dan, Sophie and Tina to Sunita, Fatima and Li, it helped connect people from all ethnicities and heritages.

Collaboration and Partnerships

Collaborate with organizations and influencers who are champions of diversity and inclusion. These partnerships can enhance your brand's credibility and reach.

M∙A∙C's Viva Glam campaign stands as an inspiring example, spanning over two decades. From RuPaul to Rihanna, celebrities have joined forces to raise $500 million for the M·A·C Viva Glam Fund which was created in 1994 to support HIV/AIDS patients and the queer community. By aligning with influential figures committed to inclusivity, M∙A∙C exemplifies how partnerships can make a profound difference in supporting the health and rights of all.

Storytelling with Impact

Share stories that resonate with your audience. Highlight the experiences of diverse individuals who have benefited from your products or services. Stories are a powerful tool for creating an emotional connection.

Fenty Beauty, named Time magazine's Best Invention of 2017, revolutionized the beauty industry with its unapologetic celebration of inclusivity. Rihanna's genius lay not just in offering 40 shades of foundation but in her commitment to serving all skin tones. She used diverse models, and with the vision of “Beauty for All”,  made Fenty Beauty the "new generation of beauty."

Conclusion: Embrace Diversity in Branding

Inclusive branding is not just a trend; it's a commitment to creating a better, more inclusive world. By implementing these strategies, your brand can resonate with diverse audiences, foster inclusivity, and contribute to positive social change.

If you are ready to change the way you brand and reach a wider audience, drop me a note - I’d love to support you.


What is inclusive branding?

  • Inclusive branding is a marketing strategy that aims to authentically represent and celebrate diversity in a way that resonates with a wide range of customers and communities.

Why is inclusive branding important?

  • Inclusive branding is essential because it builds trust, loyalty, and positive brand perception among customers. It also demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility.

How can I make my brand more accessible?

  • To make your brand more accessible, consider physical accessibility, offer content in multiple formats, and ensure your marketing materials are inclusive in language and imagery.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in inclusive branding?

  • Common mistakes include tokenism, cultural insensitivity, and performative activism. Avoid these pitfalls to maintain the authenticity of your brand.

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