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Back in 2014, Coca-Cola created an updated campaign of the 1980’s version, “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke.” The brand once again setting itself apart from the usual prominently white commercial’s developed in the industry, Coca-Cola took the time to create an extremely successful inclusion and diversity campaign titled, “Share A Coke”. Through beverage labeling, the brand printed individual names on each bottle inspired by names from around the world. This campaign’s reach traveled across the globe with consumers heading to social media to post photos of people either finding their name on a bottle or giving a bottle to a friend with their name on it.
Now in the year 2020, the world still faces many of the same issues that companies to help change. In response, industries have been adapting and working on diversifying and inclusion marketing, which has subsequently led to changes in consumer behavior.
As time goes on, marketers will continue to work on different methods of marketing in an inclusive manner; meaning that consumer behavior will continue to shift in response to these changes. This post will cover the marketing standards adapting and the shifting behavior in response.
Not all consumers fit one specific profile, which is why your marketing strategies need to reflect this. While marketers may have a particular target audience in mind, this should not disclude any race, ethnicity, age group, gender, or any other characteristic that sets people apart. What may confuse some businesses is that this does not mean marketers aren’t allowed to have a defined target audience. Just because a brand is targeting a specific group of people does not mean any person outside of the desired audience can’t be interested in a company’s products or services.
Diversity is even more important in the wake of the ongoing pandemic that has created uncertainty for consumers. Simple necessities are now a customers main priority as is looking for a sense of belonging and trust from the brands they’re shopping with. With your own company needing to take this into consideration, there are many consumer trends in 2021 that can be followed to better include all people in a welcoming, safe environment.
First things first, your brand will need to understand the question: what is the difference between inclusivity and diversity? Defined by ADP’s chief diversity and social responsibility officer Rita Mitjans, “Diversity is the ‘what’; inclusion is the ‘how’”. This means that inclusivity is defined by brands creating an environment where their content reflects the diverse identity that a company is serving, while diversity marketing is the actual makeup of the group being represented.
When your brand first goes about creating a diversity and inclusion strategy, your company should define its audience and the people that make up the group, followed by creating a voice for this specific group of people. This method is becoming highly successful amongst consumers and below is a compiled list of consumer behavior trends to look out for in 2021 that help to facilitate this:
1. Empathizing: Consumers are looking for brands that relate to their values and beliefs. Companies that empathize with their target audience are likely to develop loyal customers and potentially generate more conversions. Back-end management restaurant assistant Resy took to an email campaign to help consumers empathize with their restaurant clientele. The email included a statement about all NYC restaurants suffering due to the pandemic and how Resy was setting up a delivery service to help keep these businesses alive. This example can be considered a good use of inclusivity and diversity as Resy defined its clientele clearly and used their platform to extend their clientele’s voice to the intended audience.
2. Value Spending: The pandemic has brought on new behaviors when it comes to consumers deciding whether or not purchases will be valuable to them. In 2021, brands will need to emphasize this value and learn how to persuade consumers regarding the importance of their products. An example of this was when luxury clothing brand Burberry put out a statement of how they were donating masks and gowns to healthcare workers during the Coronavirus. Burberry reaching out to their audience, illustrating that they are helping others during the pandemic brings value to the brand itself. Being compassionate to the crisis at hand helps consumers debating whether to buy from the brand due to the feeling of helping towards a cause.
3. Inclusion: A large trend growing in popularity is companies including their audience in their content. Consumers are looking to build relationships, so it’s important for businesses to find engaging ways to communicate and include their audience in their marketing strategies. Makeup brand Glossier has worked at incorporating a diverse range of their consumers into their Instagram posts. Scrolling through Glossier’s feed, consumers are likely to stumble on a post with a woman that not only resembles herself, but shows how Glossier’s makeup is made for everyone.
4. Personalization: People are looking for personalized experiences, like the aforementioned Coke bottle, while they are shopping and this trend will continue to grow with consumers’ needs. Cosmetics company Sephora recently started offering quizzes to their customers with personalized results, meaning that no matter what someone’s skin type could possibly be, Sephora would produce a customized solution for any person that wanted it.
5. Trust In Others: Any consumer with an online presence is likely to research products, read reviews, and look up to influencers that may have an opinion on a brand. Companies putting part of their budget into influencer marketing is likely to become more prevalent in 2021 as this market becomes more important. Brands who are collaborating with a diverse range of influencers will help themselves reach an extended group of consumers, who already trust the messenger. People are looking to influencers as reliable sources of information as they are becoming increasingly untrusting of companies, and conventional methods of advertising.
As 2021 approaches, businesses will be studying consumer behavior closely to provide consumers with the best possible shopping experience. People are looking for a more “human” touch when it comes to shopping online, also a concept only set to keep growing, and businesses will need to evolve and better create a voice for themselves, as well as emphasize the need for diversity and inclusive marketing methods. It will be the companies that adapt and define their audience, who create a voice that represents their consumers that will be the ones leading industries in the years to come.
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