Now more than ever, being inclusive as a brand is considered a non-negotiable, and Gen Z are the driving force behind it with 76% saying they feel diversity and inclusivity is an important topic for brands to address. Being inclusive not only presents your brand in a positive light, but it allows you to connect with a bigger audience.
However, it is not as easy as just jumping on the latest trend, as consumers will see right through it. In a survey conducted by Unidays last year, it was revealed that 57% of Gen Z believe brands act in tokenistic and opportunistic ways when it comes to inclusivity.
We look at how a joint PR and social media strategy can help brands be more authentic.
Identify the right trends to jump on
We all understand the power of a timely Tweet, IG story or TikTok video – but there is nothing worse than seeing brands jumping on social media trends when the fit isn’t right, especially with the sole aim of appearing inclusive. Gen-Z in particular are quick at spotting thinly veiled attempts at inclusivity and are not afraid to call brands out for it.
Social media specialists can help you to identify the right trends to jump on, and which ones to avoid, showing consumers that you understand their humour, attitudes, and interests. As such, any trend-led content you do put out will be far more authentic and further your consumer appeal.
Share your founder story
Telling your founder story is a great way to engage with consumers on a human level. Sharing your own experiences and highlighting how these play into your brand’s identity and purpose, allows audiences to feel more connected to your products or services. Small but poignant details about your personal background, education, passions, and challenges you’ve faced make you relatable and memorable – allowing consumers to trust that your aims around inclusivity are genuine.
Regular slots including Sheerluxe’s My Interesting Job and The Times’ How I Made It provide business founders with a platform to talk about their business journey in a way that directly resonates with target audiences.
Comment on the issues that matter
To be authentic is to be consistent – but a lot of brands will disappear when it matters most. Whilst it’s not fair to expect consumer brands to weigh in on every real-world issue, there is an expectation to acknowledge what’s happening in the space you operate in. Anyone can call themselves inclusive in passing, but contributing well-researched, considered thought leadership articles and opinion pieces to the national and consumer media will further demonstrates your commitment to authenticity.
The PHA Group regularly secures opportunities across the likes of Indy Voices (The Independent) and Metro Opinion for business founders in this capacity; working closely with individuals to pinpoint their unique perspective and gather insights on the current issues that matter within their industries.
Act on feedback
Social media provides consumers with a platform to both compliment and call out brands – but it’s vital that when feedback is shared, in any capacity, businesses respond appropriately. Dedicated social media teams can implement Community Management strategies that both create and maintain brand identity – working in conjunction with the business to advise on which feedback needs to be actioned in a more substantial way. Through acting on feedback rather than glossing over it, consumers feel heard and respected – further contributing to an authentic brand identity.
Understand the nuances of your customer base
Inclusivity isn’t just a buzz word – it’s a basic standard for every business to meet. However, it’s clear that not every business comprehends what it means to be inclusive on a tangible, practical level. The ‘umbrella’ of inclusivity covers everything from gender identity to sexuality, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background and more.
For this reason, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely ever works when targeting prospective and existing customers – but by using tools such as GWI, Google Analytics and SEMRush, you can better understand the nuances of your consumer demographic and adapt your approach accordingly. Relevancy is such an important point when working out who your target audience is and where they consume content. And crucially, by being able to understand what resonates with your audience, you are able to build a genuine brand love and trust amongst these audiences.
Implementing a Paid social strategy
When advertising on social media it’s important to align your creative and copy to your audience and their values. As Gen Z and younger millennials become the main consumers within the digital space brands and marketers need to become ever more aware of inclusivity within their marketing activities.
When content for your campaign it’s important to ensure as much of your audience base is represented as possible. By taking active choices such as ensuring you are casting a diverse range of models in your content and keeping ad copy is as gender neutral as possible, brands can ensure a wide range of users are represented in their activity.
Inclusivity, however, doesn’t stop at what the user can see. As targeting becomes more limited due to tracking opt-outs and the rollback of third-party cookies brands need to look to platform-held interest targeting to reach new users. When considering what interests to target it’s important to first identify what interests your audience; who are the other brands they engage with? What other media do they consume? Once this is undefined, brands can then create informed target audiences that work with inclusive creative to ensure all are represented in your digital marketing.
If your brand is looking for a PR and social strategy, get in touch with our team of experts today.