5 Ways to Create a More Inclusive Brand

Dur­ing this time of year, many brands are cre­at­ing and final­iz­ing their Her­itage Month campaigns.

While we love to see brands hon­or things like AAPI Her­itage Month, Black His­to­ry Month, His­pan­ic Her­itage Month, Native Amer­i­can Her­itage Month, Pride Month, and Wom­en’s His­to­ry Month, we just want to implore you to think beyond the month or day you are honoring.

Many brands amp up their inclu­sion focus dur­ing her­itage months, but their efforts dis­si­pate the rest of the year. Doing so can neg­a­tive­ly influ­ence your brand per­cep­tion and leave your audi­ence won­der­ing if you tru­ly care. To be tru­ly inclu­sive, inclu­sion should be rel­e­vant through­out the year.

How to Create a More Inclusive Brand. Develop a strategic plan outlining your goals and objectives regarding diversity and inclusion.

How do you do that? Here are 5 ways to cre­ate a more inclu­sive brand in 2024:

5 Ways to create a more inclusive brand

1. Create a Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion 

  1. Rather than plan a sin­gle month or day, devel­op a strate­gic plan out­lin­ing your goals and objec­tives regard­ing diver­si­ty and cul­tur­al inclu­sion for the entire year. This should be a clear plan with action steps every­one in your orga­ni­za­tion can fol­low. As you cre­ate this plan, remem­ber that a tru­ly inclu­sive brand con­sid­ers rep­re­sen­ta­tion beyond cul­tur­al back­ground. Con­sid­er com­mu­ni­ties that are often left out of the con­ver­sa­tion around diver­si­ty and inclu­sion. For exam­ple, our dis­abled com­mu­ni­ties are fre­quent­ly under­rep­re­sent­ed or for­got­ten about altogether. 

To get start­ed, con­sid­er some of these questions: 

  • What are the key areas you want to focus on? 

  • How do you want to reach out to diverse audiences? 

  • What com­mu­ni­ties are rep­re­sent­ed by our cus­tomers and audience? 

  • Do you need to con­sult with experts in the com­mu­ni­ty for cul­tur­al accuracy?

  • Do your visu­al assets make these com­mu­ni­ties feel seen, heard, and understood?

  • Are your visu­al assets inclu­sive to dis­abled com­mu­ni­ties with­out caus­ing ableism perceptions?

  • How do their cul­ture and her­itage influ­ence their experiences?

  • Do your brand col­ors hold a cul­tur­al significance? 

  • What is your imple­men­ta­tion time­line, and who is respon­si­ble for what?

Engag­ing with diverse com­mu­ni­ties isn’t a one-and-done thing. By cre­at­ing a strate­gic plan, you can focus on build­ing gen­uine con­nec­tions that last. 

5 Ways to Create a More Inclusive Brand - By creating a strategic plan, you can focus on building genuine connections that last.

2. Set Verification Procedures 

We have seen it time and time again, A well-known brand with a huge mar­ket­ing bud­get launch­es a cam­paign aimed at a diverse audi­ence that com­plete­ly miss­es the mark. Some­how in all their prep and plan­ning, they failed to val­i­date cul­tur­al or diver­si­ty accu­ra­cy. The result is neg­a­tive brand per­cep­tion and ulti­mate­ly lost sales.

Here’s what you can consider:

  • Where are you pulling your infor­ma­tion from? Is it a legit­i­mate web­site that pro­vides accu­rate information?
  • Are you cross-check­ing across oth­er infor­ma­tion to verify?
  • Do you have a team or trust­ed experts you can reach out to for verification?

3. Partner with Experts 

Before you even start plan­ning a Her­itage Day cam­paign, con­sid­er who you might need to part­ner with to ensure you are putting togeth­er some­thing that is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the cul­ture you want to hon­or. It might be an expert on your team or it might mean hir­ing an expert from out­side your orga­ni­za­tion. Col­lab­o­rat­ing with experts, cul­tur­al orga­ni­za­tions, and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, can ampli­fy your brand’s mes­sage, reach new audi­ences, and build trust. 

4. Get Intentional About Visual Communication 

The graph­ics you use to rep­re­sent your orga­ni­za­tion are just as impor­tant as the words you use when com­mu­ni­cat­ing your brand’s val­ues of diver­si­ty and inclu­sion. Work to incor­po­rate peo­ple of all ages, races, gen­ders, abil­i­ties, and body types in your images through­out the year. Diver­si­fy­ing your images only at cer­tain times a year feels disin­gen­u­ous and shows your audi­ence you don’t val­ue diversity. 

Many of our clients strug­gle with find­ing the right con­tent to use, espe­cial­ly when work­ing with stock con­tent. And while some images may appear to rep­re­sent a diverse com­mu­ni­ty, there are body lan­guage cues that are big red flags. 

In this YouTube video, we pro­vide deep insight into what to look for when you are work­ing with visuals. 

We’ll show you:

  • Prac­ti­cal ways to build an inclu­sive stock library
  • How to look for body lan­guage cues
  • Ways to check for key­word stuffing
  • How to avoid biased images that appear at the top of a search

5. Don’t Try to Do It All 

As you work through your strate­gic plan, remem­ber to con­sid­er your team’s capac­i­ty and what feels true to your brand voice. Per­haps you shouldn’t cre­ate con­tent for Black His­to­ry Month but instead, work with black busi­ness-owned com­pa­nies through­out the year and find ways to part­ner to give back to com­mu­ni­ties of color.

Cre­at­ing an inclu­sive brand takes hard work and a con­sis­tent invest­ment through­out the whole year, not just on her­itage month or days. And while build­ing a strat­e­gy for using inclu­sive con­tent is cru­cial, it’s equal­ly impor­tant that sup­port­ing these com­mu­ni­ties is built into your brand ethos. When inclu­siv­i­ty is the very nature of your brand, your efforts will feel nat­ur­al and authen­tic instead of forced. 

We’ve includ­ed some addi­tion­al resources to help you get start­ed: 

Lever­age the Pow­er of Col­or, Cul­ture, and Inclusivity 

5 Ways to Con­nect with the His­pan­ic Com­mu­ni­ty Year-Round 

How to prioritize diversity and inclusion for your brand - check out our Instagram post for more
How to Develop Cultural Relevancy For Your Brand - check out our instagram post for more
Better marketing strategies to connect with women - check out our instagram post for all the details
learn about Hispanic and Latino heritage - more on our Instagram page
The meaning behind the colors in Dia de Muertos - check our our instagram post for all the details

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