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In July, more than 200 companies paused their advertising on Facebook. These companies include Adidas, Clorox, Verizon, Unilever, Diageo and even Starbucks, Facebook’s sixth-largest advertiser.
The reasons for the pullback centered on Facebook’s policies about hate speech and racial injustice and the platform’s non-inclusive content.
Creating content and implementing digital marketing that’s not inclusive will affect your business’s reputation and directly impact your sales. Now is the time for entrepreneurs and business leaders to have the hard conversations about diversity because that’s what your consumers expect.
One of the best ways to make one of your casual social media followers into a paid customer is by creating content marketing that helps the consumer identify with your messaging. They read, listen or watch a piece of content that makes them say, “Yes, this business understands and speaks to me. I want what this business offers.”
Creating inclusive content is a modern and important strategy if you want your consumer to identify with your brand’s core values. It’s more than the color of their skin — it’s also about their age, gender and beliefs. They identity and connect when they see a brand’s messaging through content that’s progressive, open-minded and not afraid to acknowledge social issues.
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Several brands are practicing inclusive content marketing — and it’s making a difference in their impact and how they’re building their businesses. Here are three examples with lessons all entrepreneurs can use to implement inclusive content marketing.
Procter & Gamble
The brands of Procter & Gamble (P&G) include Tide, Dove, Gillette, Pringles, Kellogg’s and many others.
In 2018, P&G produced what would become an Emmy award-winning commercial called “The Talk.” The ad told the stories of mothers of color across generations teaching their children about racism.
At the end of the ad, this text appears in all caps: “Let’s all talk about ‘The Talk’ — so we can end the need to have it.”
Lesson: Powerful storytelling can offer opportunities to prompt difficult conversations.
Human beings feel uncertainty and frustration during difficult conversations. It’s not uncommon for emotions to take over. Using storytelling to create inclusive content is one way to take your consumers’ guards down. Stories can be opportunities to highlight different races, genders and beliefs in an understandable format.
Not to say you should take the Band-Aid approach of highlighting people of color so that it feels like you’re inclusive — your consumers know the difference.
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Instead, make a consistent effort to highlight inclusive examples and stories in your social media, blog, podcast, videos and newsletter content. Use inclusive storytelling to demonstrate the value of what your business does through the different forms of content you produce.
In 2013, Google launched an online platform called “Think With Google.” It’s a publication that teaches marketing and content trends to businesses. In a 2018 post, Google released data about diversity and inclusion in its marketing.
Google’s main finding was that their creative work didn’t reflect the real world and that diversity in marketing is a challenge more businesses need to embrace together.
Since then, Google has consistently launched thought-provoking campaigns inclusive of different races, genders and backgrounds. Here is an example.
Lesson: Inclusive content is more than a one-time box tick.
Content is one of the best ways for entrepreneurs to demonstrate expertise. While credentials are great, your customers want you to prove you know what you’re talking about before they invest their time and resources in you or what you’re offering. Your content talks first.
Creating inclusive content means you check, re-check and evaluate every piece of content you publish for inclusivity. Inclusive content marketing isn’t to meet a quota; it’s making sure every piece of content is inclusive of diverse genders, skin colors, ages, geographies and socio-economic statuses.
Regular evaluations such as Google’s can help you find diversity blind spots and learn ways to keep your content consistently effective. Your content is the front-facing representation of your brand, so make sure it’s the reflection you want.
As one of the world’s most recognizable brands, Coca-Cola has been at the forefront of embracing inclusive content marketing.
The company’s 1971 “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” is one example. The ad brought together people from different races and ethnicities over a shared love of its product.
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Since then, Coca-Cola has embraced inclusive content. From their “Share a Coke” campaign to its “A Coke for Everyone” ad to its website, you can see its values and mission as they relate to diversity and inclusion.
Lesson: Represent the values of your business through content that speaks to the full range of your audience.
The world is different than it was in 1971, but one sales principle is the same: people buy from someone they know, like and trust. Major brands such as Facebook lose their customers’ trust over their mishandling of inclusive content and marketing.
You’re building a business for a reason
That reason is probably bigger than generating revenue or being better than your competition. Your followers become customers and customers become evangelists when they understand and buy into the vision and mission at the core of your business.
Multicultural consumers account for 40% of the US population and $3.2 trillion of spending. To appeal to consumers today and remain relevant, entrepreneurs should embrace inclusive content marketing.
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