In the Netrush creative studio, our team’s mission is to answer the shopper’s questions.
“What does this product do?”
“Why this product instead of another?”
“What’s this product made of?”
More and more, we’re trying to answer another kind of question: “Is this product made for someone like me, by a company that cares about me and my community?”
We’d like to make sure that question gets answered for every shopper—with content that is as diverse and inclusive as possible.
Who’s shopping? Reflecting a multicultural reality
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone: Consumers in the United States are increasingly diverse. “Millennials, now representing 30% of the population, are the most diverse generational cohort in US history, with roughly 44% consisting of ethnic and racial minorities,” according to recent research from Deloitte. And of course, diversity doesn’t end with ethnicity and race.
Consumers come from a spectrum of gender identities, ages, body types, cultures, sexual orientations, and physical abilities. The way people think of themselves is complex and intersectional, which means for us as marketers and creatives, we can’t make quick assumptions about our audience.
We know consumers want to see content from brands that reflect their own experience. We also know they want to see content that reflects a wide range of identities. They want to buy from brands that value diversity, equity, and inclusion. According to recent research conducted by Google and The Female Quotient, “People are more likely to consider, or even purchase, a product after seeing an ad they think is diverse or inclusive. This percentage is higher among specific consumer groups including Latinx+ (85%), Black (79%), Asian/Pacific Islander (79%), LGBTQ (85%), millennial (77%), and teen (76%) consumers.”
Consumers are paying attention to all the signals that a brand is sending, from the diversity of its employee base to standing with the Black Lives Matter movement. And we need to acknowledge that they are paying attention when shopping on Amazon too.
Who’s holding the product? Creating a welcoming experience
All that complexity and individuality seems kind of hard to address, especially when you have only so much space on a product listing page, banner ad, or video. And the truth is, it is a challenge, but it’s not one that we can shy away from.
Here are a few principles our team puts into action:
- We need to understand the shopper. The Netrush team is always looking at the data and for any insights we can glean about our audience. We also work with our brand partners to understand the trends they’re seeing, too. The more nuanced we can get about the people we’re talking to, the better we can create content that’s relevant to their lives.
- We need to choose imagery for inclusion. Genders, body types, ages, and diversity of appearances and abilities — we seek to represent lots of different kinds of people. That’s because we want the content we create and the products we represent to be relevant to all different kinds of people. Do the people who are pictured holding the product appear homogeneous? If so, we know we’re at risk of alienating a whole lot of shoppers.
- We need to be thoughtful about language. We recently spotted a review from a customer who was upset by a listing that characterized a product for women as “unconventional.” We appreciated the feedback. It gave us the opportunity to update the copy and re-learn our lesson: words matter.
- We need to help shoppers know who they’re buying from. More and more, consumers are looking to buy from businesses owned by Black, indigenous, and people of color, as well as LGBTQ-owned and women-owned businesses. For the brands that fall in those categories, it should be a prominent part of their brand story. And giving that story some space in a listing image or in the A+ content may give a shopper that extra nudge to make the purchase.
- We need a creative team that’s as diverse as our audience. I’m lucky to work with a diverse team of creatives that bring a wide variety of perspectives and experiences to inform the work we do. This variety is incredibly valuable as it not only helps us avoid insensitive missteps, but more importantly, helps us uncover opportunities to be more inclusive.
- We need to be authentic. Shoppers can sniff out brands that don’t walk the talk. Creating inclusive content doesn’t happen via a checklist or by formula. Above all else, we need to create content with sincerity and in alignment with a brand’s values and practices.