Inclusive creative is just one piece of the puzzle. Kick-start your work with a thoughtful brief, make sure it’s accessible to everyone, and conduct regular DE&I audits to see how it all measures up.
Briefing for inclusive creative
While some teams are already thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion when they create, others are just getting started. In all cases, the brief can be a big help. No need for a complete overhaul either. The classic brief structure offers a number of opportunities to guide your team toward more inclusive work.
Remind your team that they’re creating inclusive marketing for a diverse audience, as all audiences are. In addition to the standard demographics and psychographics, include breakdowns on gender, age, race, and more. If you don’t have specific stats for your audience, use general-population demographics—for example, 13.4% of Americans identify as Black or African American1—to help fill in the blanks. And if you have data on how specific communities perceive a brand or product differently, be sure to add that, too. If possible, solicit opinions on early rounds of work from members of your audience.
When reviewing what competitors are doing, look beyond the usual big players. Including brands and campaigns focused on smaller niche markets can give you a broader picture of how different audiences’ wants and needs are (or aren’t) being addressed.
Data and insights
With DE&I considerations relatively new to the marketing industry, it’s worth digging into the methodology behind any data and insights you’ve received. Here are a few questions you might want to ask:
- Who was recruited for the research and how were they selected? Did participants include marginalized groups in a meaningful way?
- Was the research done in a way that didn’t exclude participation on the basis of disability or access to technology?
- Were focus groups moderated in a way that all participants could feel safe to share their thoughts?
- Were surveys reviewed to reduce identity priming and written in a way that eliminated overly specific cultural references and examples?
You might not get all the answers you need in time for the brief, but at least you and your creative team will be aware of potential blind spots.
This is the place to explicitly state your commitment to creating inclusive marketing. First, offer a broad definition of what this means for all creative work. Second, communicate any specific needs for the project—for example, the creative concept should support casting for a range of body types. Finally, list any internal or external resources (like this guide) that can help your team deliver on these goals.
Reviewers and approvers
In some cases, reviewers can have as much of an influence on the work as the creative team. So pay attention to who’s on this list and how they might help—or hurt—the cause. If inclusive marketing is important to your reviewers, they’ll be your best champions. If not, you’ll want to create opportunities to educate them on your goals. Think about how you can use the brief to get their buy-in early and head off potential issues down the road. If it’s not a diverse group, you might also want to suggest early on that they bring in people with different backgrounds to add more perspectives to the mix.
Writing briefs with inclusive marketing in mind will take a little extra time at first, but it will pay dividends for everyone involved. With these small but important additions, you can set clear intentions for your team and get things off to the right start.