Have you ever felt out of place shopping online or scrolling on social media because you couldn’t relate to the people on the screen? If so, you are not alone.
One of the problems we constantly run into being in a same sex relationship is that we struggle to find inclusive products.
When getting married we noticed 99.9% of wedding decor and gifts are marketed towards the new Mr & Mrs Surname. But what about us? We were two brides keeping our own last names.
We felt totally out of place.
This experience inspired Midnight Lettering Co’s pride collection. Our aim as a small business is to create fun and inclusive products for everyone to enjoy.
But did you know the LGBTQ+ community is just one of many unrepresented communities in marketing? Read on to find out why representation is so important in your small business.
Here’s 5 Reasons Why Representation Matters in Your Small Business
1. THE FULL STORY NEEDS TO BE TOLD
Without representation we aren’t hearing the whole story. In recent years it has become more evident that marginalised voices aren’t being heard.
For example, have you ever thought about how many people shorten their names?
All too often people encounter coworkers, professors and even friends who don’t take the time to learn the correct pronunciation of their full names.
Jabar from Capco UK was even recommended to change their name by a career counsellor so that it wouldn’t hinder their job search.
This is just one example about how we lose part of the story when we aren’t culturally diverse.
2. PEOPLE RELATE TO SHARED EXPERIENCES
Showing representation and including diversity shouldn’t be ground breaking. Seriously, we’re in 2021. It should be the norm.
However, if you’re new to diverse and inclusive marketing here’s why it’s important. When your small business includes people from different backgrounds and stories you can reach a wider audience who relate to you. The most powerful ads and social media posts mirror consumers positively and authentically.
According to the 2019 consumer survey by Google and the Female Quotient, 64% of respondents took some sort of action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive.
3. MINORITIES FEEL VALIDATED
Do you own a small business? Are you using ALT text?
If you answered no to the second question we urge you to start using ALT text across all platforms ASAP. This is one of the easiest ways to start being an accessible brand.
Alt text refers to the invisible description of images which are read aloud to visually impaired users on a screen reader.
Did you know in the UK people with disabilities, their families and caregivers are collectively worth £249 billion.
So, let's move away from only using white, able bodied, and cis-het (cis gender and heterosexual) individuals in marketing.
More and more consumers are expecting equality.
4. PEOPLE FEEL SAFE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES
Sadly, not everyone feels safe to be their authentic selves. It is still common for people to conform to societal pressures by sidestepping their religion or ignoring their cultural background.
The LGBT charity Stonewall estimates that more than a third of LGBT staff hide they are a part of the community while at work for fear of discrimination.
This is why representation is a movement and not a trend. We are working towards equality and safety for everyone.
Your small business can help - by sharing your story, becoming an ally and emphasising marginalised voices.
5. FINDING A ROLE MODEL LIKE YOU CAN CHANGE YOU LIFE
Children’s early experiences shape what they imagine to be possible. This is why representation is so important in films, ads and even your small business.
However, no matter your age there is psychology backing the statement - if you see it, you can achieve it. Many people at the top of their fields use visualisation techniques as a part of their roadmap to success.
Seeing someone like you achieve great things is extremely powerful.
Have you heard of the Fenty Effect? That’s right, a whole social movement named after Rhianna’s brands Savage Fenty and Fenty Beauty.
If you haven’t here’s a little background - Rhianna launched her own makeup line which includes 50 shades of foundation that accurately represent her globally diverse audience. This move sent a shockwave through the makeup industry and put pressure on other companies to follow.
So, this is a call to all small business owners to be like Rhianna. You never know who is consuming your content or who you’ll inspire.
Just in case you need anymore convincing as to why representation matters in your small business - Check out the incredible customer feedback we’ve received since launching more inclusive campaigns.
‘Finally, a card for me! 😍👏🏻 It isn’t always blood that bonds. Love this so much! 💗🌵’ - @bloom_copywriting_and_design
‘Small things straight people take for granted #872: cute cards meant exactly for them❤️’ - @itsashleycatherine
‘Love this card so much ladies! Had to order a few 👌🏻💯 thanks for giving those of us without mums in our lives a way to still celebrate and honour other amazing women! 🌸❤️’ - @sincerelyjessig
Going forwards, will you be implementing an inclusive and diverse marketing strategy to your small business? Let us know in the comments below!