How effective are your communications activities? A huge number of organisations are so caught up in creating content for people like themselves that they haven’t noticed that there are a variety of audiences that they’re failing to reach or connect with entirely. Worse still, they might be actively alienating or offending these audiences.
So how can you broaden your appeal, tap into new markets and create a more positive reputation across communities? The key is inclusion.
Know Your Audience
The first step is to truly understand who you want to reach. Many marketing teams and agencies get caught up in demographic data, but this can be highly misleading. If you’re assuming that all men in their 30s are the same, you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities for your business. Instead, consider the psychographics of your audience. What really brings them all together? It’s not their age or their gender or any other arbitrary characteristic; it’s the things they care about, that they’re passionate about, the things that keep them up at night and that impact their lives. When you understand those details, then you can make sure your brand connects with potential customers across a far wider spectrum.
Bring in New Perspectives
If everyone on your comms and marketing team looks the same, they will only be creating messaging from one point of view. However much we think we can understand different audiences, we only ever live inside our own heads and can only look through our own eyes. Bringing in different types of people with different backgrounds and different experiences will enable your team to look at brand messaging from new angles and consider new approaches, as well as spotting potential pitfalls or problematic methods that your existing team weren’t aware of.
Take a Look at Yourself
If you’re from a typically dominant group, you might not be used to feeling unrepresented by organisations. You probably see marketing and communications messages that show people like you all the time. But for many people from non-dominant groups, looking at the messaging from a lot of brands simply tells them that this organisation is not for them. How many different types of people are shown in your imagery on your website, your social media and the documents you circulate? How many different lifestyles and life experiences are you reflecting? If you understand your audiences in the depth we’ve talked about, and you have different people with different perspectives on board to help shape your messaging, then you should be able to create communications that represent and connect with a much broader range of individuals.
We tend to only think about accessibility requirements in relation to physical places, but there are a huge range of ways that communications materials can be unusable for people with disabilities or neurodiversities. For example, in written documents, black text on white paper is the standard, but it is the hardest combination to read for people with dyslexia or visual impairments. Have you considered the colour combinations on your printed materials, your website and your online documents? How easy to identify are the call to action buttons on your site? Do you caption your videos? Do you offer large print and/or braille materials? Are you adding captions or alt text to your images on your website or social media? What different ways do you offer for people to contact your organisation? There are so many ways that you could be unwittingly preventing large numbers of people from engaging with your business, and so many easy fixes for including more people. If you’re interested in learning about more of these, get in touch.
Start with Your Values
Ultimately, it all comes down to what your business stands for. Whether you’re looking to attract a wider range of customers, or you want to unite and motivate your internal team, people are crying out for a sense of purpose. If your organisational values and mission are embedded in everything you do, then you will naturally attract and engage the people who share those values and care about that mission. When a company is built on a shared sense of meaning, no one feels excluded. By staying true to the values at the heart of your company, you can be sure that you will be including all the right people.
If you want to learn more about inclusive communications, download our free guide.