Diversity Council Australia defines diversity as “the differences between people in how they identify in relation to their: age, caring responsibilities, cultural background, disability, gender, Indigenous background, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background”.
Inclusion occurs when a diversity of people (e.g. of different ages, cultural backgrounds or genders) feel valued and respected, have access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute their perspectives and talents to improve their organisation.
Although Diversity and Inclusion are spoken about in the workplace as a single concept, it’s important to remember that they are two very different things; diversity without inclusion is mostly meaningless. Verna Meyers, who was recently hired as Netflix’s Head of “Inclusion Strategy”, used a great analogy for this:
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
In other words, it’s only through inclusion that organisations can make the most out of diversity.
For brands and advertisers to succeed in today’s consumer-focused marketplace, we need to demonstrate that we understand and empathise with our audiences’ wants, needs and desires. Until recently, many brands and agencies still defaulted to using broad stereotypes, which is often the fastest way to demonstrate to users that we don’t understand them.
Consider, for example, the fact that only 37% of people who appear in ads are women – and when they do, they’re often seen in stereotypical roles, such as cooking dinner or looking after children. While this might sound perfectly reasonable (i.e. the “women control the spending” argument), a recent study showed that 85% of women said ads didn’t represent their real-world selves.
As much as advertising should strive to represent its intended audience, it’s also a reflection of the people that create it. This means that the planners, creators, strategists and “ideas people” behind the ads should also be diverse and inclusive enough to reflect the marketplace in which they’re operating.
This “Inclusive Marketing” approach allows us to nurture a workplace culture that is more representative of our surrounding ecosystem, which in turn leads to better advertising and better results.
At iProspect, we do our best to ensure everyone is valued, heard, respected and empowered. When hiring new people, we embrace not only each applicant’s technical skills but also how their individual backgrounds and different viewpoints could benefit us as a team. In meetings, we encourage inclusive dialogue, open conversations and information sharing, encouraging all voices to speak and be heard.
The content we produce and language we use does not stereotype our audiences. The images on our website don’t just feature one gender or one age group; they represent the diversity of our workplace, both locally and internationally. We strive to depict families, people, and culture in a way which is indicative of what is reality.
When a business is committed to diversity and inclusion as we at iProspect are, team members feel a true sense of belonging, which makes us all better equipped to innovate, and to understand and empathise with all manner of audiences – and ultimately, to drive stronger business performance for our clients.