Why Brands Need Diversity in Marketing

Diversity in Marketing

Diversity. It’s what we’ve been crying out for, for so long. You know it, I know it, and the brands know it.

Yet, when a lot of brands do try and diversify their marketing strategies or their social media feeds, it almost seems forced.

Now though, because of the largest civil rights movement in history, every brand is scurrying to their social media feeds to make their stance on racism and equality known, sometimes not doing it the right way.

Brands are quick to include some people of colour (POC) on their social feeds when there have been none for months previous. Why now? Because they’ve realized that they haven’t been very diverse at all and are finally realizing that they should have been all along.

EVERYONE SHOULD FEEL REPRESENTED

It wasn’t that long ago that we started to represent plus-sized women in advertising and in stores. More sizes were introduced to brands, plus-size mannequins were made and Tess Holliday appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Related: Is Controversial Cosmopolitan Cover Star Tess Holliday Glorifying Obesity or Portraying a New Idea of Beauty?

So why are we so reluctant to represent POC in our advertising and our brand social feeds? Where are their images? Where are their voices? Why are they not being seen or heard?

No matter who we are, we all want to feel represented in some way. We want to feel seen and to feel heard.

It’s 2020. Why has it taken us this long to wake up and realize this? Everyone deserves to be represented in the media, in the paper, online and in the influencer marketing industry.

So many times I’ve seen social media campaigns and press trips full of girls, slim, good-looking and all White. Where is the representation in the influencer marketing industry as well as the marketing industry itself?

Related: Dealing with Diversity in Influencer Marketing

SOME EXAMPLES TO LOOK AT

L’OREAL AND MUNROE BERGDORF

You may be familiar with this already, as it was all over my Twitter and Instagram feeds last week and this week.

Last week, L’Oreal posted an image to their Instagram feed that read ‘Speaking out is worth it’. Sounds very much like their ‘Because you’re worth it’ slogan, doesn’t it?

However, the post was met with huge backlash as influencer Munroe Bergdorf took to Instagram and Twitter to express her outrage at the message.

A few years ago, Munroe was an ambassador for L’Oreal on a beauty campaign and then dropped and left because of her statements about racism and for standing with the Black community. Munroe definitely wasn’t ‘worth it’ to them at that time, so why now, is L’Oreal ok with standing up against racism?

Since all of the anger and tweets and posts, Munroe has spoken with L’Oreal and been given a seat at the table to join L’Oreal’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.

OH POLLY SEPARATE INSTAGRAM

Fashion brand Oh Polly had two Instagram accounts. Their main account for White and slim models and another, second account, for People of Colour and plus-size models. Yes, this is real and yes, it is 2020.

The second Instagram named ‘Oh Polly Inclusive’ has since been deleted and removed, as you can imagine, as it should never have been created in the first place.

Of course Oh Polly are now trying to make up for this by including more Black and POC on their main Instagram feed. But what they are failing to do is fully airbrush their White models to make them appear Black, like the example below – if you click through, you’ll notice the model’s hand is very White, unlike the rest of her body.

Shame on you, Oh Polly.

DO WE HAVE TO BE THE BRAND POLICE?

Why does it take calling out a brand before they realize the errors of their ways? Why isn’t diversity one of their top values as a company? It shouldn’t take Twitter police to make something viral before a company realizes that they are doing wrong.

Munroe Bergdorf created a social media shit-storm for L’Oreal and everyone bore witness to it. These brands must do better.

We must do better.

If this is what it’s going to take, then so be it. If it must be we, the consumer, who opens a brands’ eyes to their wrong-doings or their misjudgments then so be it.

Related: When Will We Finally Be Fully Inclusive?

WHY A DIVERSE FEED IS SO IMPORTANT

I see a lot of people sharing ’10 Black content creators to follow,’ ’20 POC to follow on Instagram,’ or ‘Here are my favourite Black influencers to follow,’ but is it too little too late? Why weren’t we following these amazing content creators before?

Is it because we’re racist? Is it because we live in our bubble and don’t like to go outside of it? Or is it because we’re uneducated?

Our social feeds should be diverse and they should be showing us all walks of life, not just our own. We need to hear the voices of other people, the lives of other people and witness what they go through.

We miss out on so much and stay closed-minded if we just continue to think and act like those around us. There’s a whole world out there and there are also 7 billion other people out there, not just your White friends and White influencers.

Educate. Listen. Watch. Read. Think. Act.

Embrace diversity.

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