In our increasingly interconnected society, we must stop making assumptions about diversity and culture. When we fail to understand our audience, it creates a disconnect and ultimately affects our sales.
Thinking about diversity, culture, and inclusion can not be an afterthought. If you are ready to make a meaningful and more inclusive impact in the new year, you have come to the right place. Knowing where to start might feel overwhelming, but this blog post will share strategies you can implement in 2023 to better connect with your diverse audience.
Leverage the Power of Color, Culture, and Inclusivity in 2023
Create a Strategic Plan for Diversity & Cultural Inclusion
The first step in creating an inclusive brand is to develop a strategic plan that outlines your goals and objectives regarding diversity and cultural inclusion. Many brands amp up their inclusion focus during heritage months, but their efforts dissipate the rest of the year. To be truly inclusive, inclusion should be relevant throughout the year.
As you think about your goals, consider some of these questions to create a clear action plan that everyone in your organization can follow.
- What are the key areas you want to focus on?
- How do you want to reach out to diverse audiences?
- 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?
- 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?
Develop Culturally-Specific Content
Once you have established an overarching plan, it’s time to start creating culturally relevant content for your diverse audiences. This could mean writing articles or blog posts about topics related to their culture or experiences or creating visuals that represent different cultures authentically (without stereotypes). The key is not to fake culture for the sake of a sale.
You likely already know that color builds brand recognition, helps generate sales, and evokes certain emotions. However, only a few consider colors’ impact on culture and heritage. At NCD, we see this as a necessary step in branding and a crucial step for human connections!
Anytime we create a marketing campaign, a social media post, print, videos, or illustrations, we have to form an understanding of how our audience will connect with that content. Ensure that any elements used in your content reflect understanding and openness towards other cultures—this includes avoiding language that could be seen as exclusionary or insensitive.
We dig deeper into this topic in our LinkedIn Learning course: Color and Cultural Connections.
LINKEDIN LEARNING COURSE
Color and Cultural Connections
In this course, you will gain a powerful perspective on the relationship between color and cultural heritage, you’ll build a connection with communities that thrive on cultural diversity, and you’ll leave inspired to create conscious inclusion within your company culture and brand.
In this course, you will learn:
- The impact and meaning of color across cultures
- How color, emotion, and perception interconnect
- The connection between color and cultural heritage
- How to establish culturally conscious marketing and visuals
- Validating cultural accuracy
Get Intentional About Your 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. Incorporating people of all ages, races, genders, abilities, and body types in your images increases the likelihood that your audience will identify with and support your brand.
The visuals you use must reflect cultural understanding rather than appropriation—for example, using traditional cultural symbols without permission from the originators of those symbols may be seen as offensive by some people. Indigenous communities have suffered plagiarism and appropriation of their patterns for mass consumers. One example is Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera, who the Mexican government is accusing of cultural appropriation.
As you work with visual elements in your branding, consider the following:
- Does it reflect the diversity of your audience?
- Is it inclusive and void of bias?
- Are you verifying that the graphics you use are culturally correct?
- Does the body language set a positive tone?
- Does your team have an approved asset library where they can pull content?
Dedicating time to establishing and reviewing your images is crucial for any brand. We cover strategies to implement this in our LinkedIn Learning course, Working With Inclusive Images.
LINKEDIN LEARNING COURSE
Working with Inclusive Images
Discover brand communication and image design strategies that promote diversity and inclusion with your audience. Learn the importance in practicing empathy and promoting inclusion with diverse content.
In this course, you will learn:
- The power of visual language
- The importance of knowing your audience
- Ways to represent your internal brand culture
- How to show empathy in your visuals
- Effective ways to working with stock photos, brand photographers, and inclusion experts
Creating an inclusive brand doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to get it right. But by following these strategies, your brand will be well on its way toward becoming more culturally inclusive in 2023—and beyond!
Leveraging color and cultural connections with inclusive images is a powerful and underutilized strategy to create meaningful customer relationships. If done correctly, this strategy can build loyalty and attract new customers!
So don’t hesitate to start leveraging cultural connections today! You’ll become part of the solution, leading us to an era where brands are genuinely reflective of our increasingly diverse world!