An advertising agency is known to have the power to shape public opinion through various campaigns and drives. A successful advertising agency can inspire new ideas and portray a positive image of a brand or a service, all in all, it holds the power to impact the entire world. From the purchase of a milk packet to the campaign against child labor we are highly influenced by the advertisement. The advertisement industry can use its mending sword towards driving people to question their regressive thoughts. Whether it's challenging stereotypes or encouraging people to embrace the full gender spectrum, advertising campaigns can contribute significantly to acceptance.
Although much improved, biasness is still a part of our world. In the last few years, every industry has taken baby steps toward contributing to a more equal and inclusive society. In the year 2022 and beyond, many advertisement agencies will surely dedicate more attention to inculcating a more diverse and inclusive environment. Today, the advertisement industry has a lot of women, but by the time they reach mid-management levels, many have exited due to the lack of flexible hours, or the inability to work from home. For this reason, advertising agencies are training more women to be able to take on leadership roles. Furthermore, they are launching special programs to attract queer people to the advertising industry.
In what ways do ad agencies encourage inclusivity?
- Hiring a diversity/inclusion officer: In order to maintain a smooth functioning and diverse environment within the organization, hiring a diversity/inclusion officer is being carried out. This individual helps in developing strategies to ensure hiring practices encourage diversity while cultivating a work environment and incorporating inclusion initiatives to support diversity.
- It is important to practice inclusive image selection and authentic representation in advertising. It drives trust and brand support - so make sure your images reflect who you are. After trust has been established as the baseline, a brand can begin to build love and loyalty. To accomplish this, brands have to go the extra mile to make people feel understood through inclusion, and authentic imagery is key. The inclusion of customers was identified as a key brand attribute that creates loyalty.
- Practicing inclusive and authentic image selection: Building an inclusive keyword library: Including their lived experience and mapping the unique keywords they might use to find your product. In order to develop an inclusive keyword strategy for your business, you must understand the consumer's decision journey from their perspective. A comprehensive keyword strategy can inform not only your search engine marketing (SEM) but also your content marketing.
- Showcasing human diversity in campaigns: Inclusive advertising means portraying diversity through your advertisement and campaigns. Furthermore, it means considering the many dimensions of human diversity, including (but not limited to) age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography, language preference, and gender expression. In the end, inclusive advertising is about understanding who your customers are, representing them accurately, and most importantly, recognizing those you're excluding from your marketing efforts.
- Aiming to root out biases in ads and data: Our job as marketers is to identify and understand the biases that may be present in our datasets and marketing models. Data bias produces biased models, which can be discriminatory and harmful. Bias in marketing can result in missed opportunities, or even damage your brand's reputation.
With the ongoing pandemic, technological advancements, and a drastic change in consumer behavior, advertising agencies are going through a series of changes. The only sensible thing to do is to adapt to these changes to maintain the competitive advantage and establish an inclusive Ad world. Inclusive marketing is the reflection of shifting workplace culture, for ages marketers have been fixated on giving the audience what they like and desire. Inclusive marketing is merely an extension of this. To get started with inclusive marketing one needs to think beyond the restrictions of race and caste whilst using diverse visuals. Today's consumer looks and acts differently from how they did in the past, and as more businesses recognize this in their marketing and operations, inclusivity will become a natural part of what they do.
Our industry has learned that we need to do better for our people as a result of the pandemic. Whether it's promoting work-life balance, supporting and propagating equal parenting, valuing women's talent in leadership, rewarding leaders who are responsible for building diverse and inclusive teams, or partnering with clients to better represent women and other underrepresented groups in our work - there is so much more to do as an industry.