Branding your Website in Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
After this past year, there have been a lot more talks and discussions around diversity. Many companies have hopped on the train to preach their commitment to allyship, diversity, inclusion, and equity. By now we know it’s something we should do, but do we understand why?
Your business website needs content that embraces diversity, inclusion, and equity because the image of your company and digital footprint can make a significant difference in the employees you attract and how much market share you can obtain to help create a sustained competitive advantage, but most importantly, it is the right humanitarian thing to do.
Your website content is typically the first impression a person sees. This can be the determining factor for future business or opportunities, especially in the U.S. Your website content must reflect social responsibility and respect for culture. This includes how your graphics or pictures look and how your text is written to avoid stigma or anything that can be discriminating. Without the right approach and focus, the content on your website can alienate audiences.
More significantly, people who visit your website need to relate to your brand. If they don’t, they are unlikely to become actual customers. Moreover, brands are increasingly becoming aware to address recent trends and social cultures. This requires integrating audiences from different backgrounds, therefore, company branding that has themes of diversity, inclusion, and equity in their content plays a vital role in public communications strategies.
Ultimately, the key to showcasing diversity is to make sure you have people of different races, ages, genders, religions, and cultures, and promote equity in your website content that represents present-day societies. It is important to note that diversity in branding attracts customers and can benefit your company’s future.
The purpose of this article is for you to add an extra step into your content creation workflow and ask yourself: “Does the content I am about to post portray and balance diversity, equity, and inclusion?” If not, then it is your social responsibility to make the appropriate edits.
- Diversity: the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds
- Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial
- Inclusion: the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure
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Why Consider Branding Your Website Content for Equity and Inclusion?
Diversity, inclusion and equity in the digital world matter not only because of the consumers who want to be recognized as members of society but also for the brands who are constantly aiming for better representation to expand their market share regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or identity.
Customers Need to Relate to Your Company Branding
People work hard for their money and now more than ever, their purchases are influenced by a company’s values. They want to know that you respect them physically, demographically, and geographically, and respect diverse cultures not only in the products and services you provide but also in the workforce you hire. Kipnis et. al. writes:
“…multicultural marketplace well-being— “a positive emotional, mental, physical and social state of being experienced by culturally diverse market actors”—requires concerted efforts by marketing research, education, and practice to promote inclusion, we consider D&I-engaged marketing (DIEM) an important well-being-enhancing mechanism…” (2021).
Your efforts towards your website content and the way you brand your company must be proactively strategic. The main goal of content whether website, marketing campaigns, or ads is to generate audience engagement which increases conversions and reduces conversion time for selling services or products. The relatability between the website user audience and content plays an important role in capturing market share.
It is important to know that diversity, inclusion, and equity do not only come in race and gender, but also extend to characteristics of all shapes, ages, sizes, and abilities. Additionally, your website content should not come as forced upon or unnatural. Otherwise, there’s a high risk of losing traffic on the website. Welcoming diverse backgrounds should be authentic and natural.
Employer Attractiveness and Corporate Image
Writing content on a website that is rich in diversity and encourages the inclusion of people, caters to equity and is also significant for employer attractiveness. Employer attractiveness is when people want to work for a specific employer because their values match the company’s values.
“Your Employees are Your Best Marketers”
Hence, the image you portray of your brand will become of immense importance here. Jonsen et. al. writes:
“Given that a strong employer image has a positive influence on perceived employer attractiveness … companies seek to create an image of employers of choice that makes people want to work for them… For instance, companies often seek to portray themselves [as] attractive places to work…and for people from all ethnic backgrounds…” (2019, p. 5-6)
Employer attractiveness is significant as the current trends are changing. For example, socio-demographic changes, higher mobility of employees, internalization, and scarcity of skilled workers. Workers are likely to evaluate the company through its branding and image, making the company branding on your website more crucial than ever.
Rather than just writing about you as an employer, it will be better to write about how diversity, inclusion, and equity are played out in your company. Videos and images can reflect these ideas in real-time. Jonsen et. al. says:
“Given that diversity policy is often framed and justified using the language of the business case… corporate websites highlight this trend across a range of indicators, including better performance, added stakeholder value, enhanced corporate reputation, and a better environment.” (2019, p. 7).
This emphasizes the point that language as a source of diversity is no longer the only task needed to reflect inclusion and equity in a company. There needs to be a variety of content available on your website and in the company branding. Diversity, inclusion, and equity content should be abundant throughout your website and not only in a policy or a page dedication.
Gains Brand Recognition and Boosts Your Bottom Line
You can earn respect with your brand when your content portrays diversity, inclusion, and equity throughout your website and in your marketing campaigns. Through this, your audience notices that brands are increasingly recognizing these ideas and adopting them, making your business stand out from those that don’t. When you respect diverse cultures, you garner trust and customer loyalty. The factors of trust and respect can take your brand to the next level and reach a wider audience. In Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, they tapped into crowd culture by celebrating the physiques of women. Holt writes:
“… celebrating real women’s physiques in all their normal diversity—old, young, curvy, skinny, short, tall, wrinkled, smooth. Women all over the world pitched in to produce, circulate, and cheer for images of bodies that did not conform to the beauty myth. Throughout the past decade, Dove has continued to target cultural flashpoints—such as the use of heavily Photoshopped images in fashion magazines—to keep the brand at the center of this gender discourse.” (Holt, 2016, p. 50)
Dove tapped into the body-positive feminism movement and targeted women who felt marginalized by society. Similarly, when campaigns like this make their way on website content, it attracts a diverse range of customers to the brand. This altogether boosts your brand’s bottom line to reach a larger audience and gain brand respect.
Diversity and Inclusion Demonstrates a Real World Message
Diverse website content benefits society because the communities your brand serves are non-homogenous and company branding material should be an accurate reflection of the real world around you to grow and scale your company.