Driving Equity and Inclusion through Marketing

November 17, 2021

Cherise Bernard, Spotify

Session Recording and Slide Deck


Cherise Bernard shares the importance of equity and inclusion through marketing in her presentation “Equity And Inclusion Through Marketing.”


Let’s Talk About Millennials (5:05)

Now that we are in the 2020s, 70% of millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if it demonstrates inclusive marketing and advertising. This is something that is a non-negotiable for people my age; if we see that a brand is not inclusive or does not have inclusive imagery, we will literally go to their competitor. That is a fact.

Secondly, 78% of millennials will tell other people to buy from a purpose-driven brand and inclusive company, so it’s not just them. They’ll go tell their parents, their siblings, their spouses, their partners, their friends, “Don’t buy from them,” “That campaign had no inclusiveness, it was not purpose driven.” 

Finally, this is a big one. This is a kicker.

Experts predict by 2044 that groups formerly seen as minorities in the U.S. are going to collectively reach majority status. There will be no more minorities. We might still be labeled minorities, but we won’t technically be the minority. So if you want your brand to be sustainable over time, which I’m sure all of you do, you have to begin now. You can’t wait until the minority is the majority to begin creating inclusive and equitable brand strategies.

It’s a business imperative for your campaigns to be inclusive and to be equitable. This starts with you: the marketing team, the PR team. This is how your consumers view your organization. This is a first line of defense. If you value inclusion and equity, it has to come through your marketing.


Key Terms (8:44)

  • Diversity: Diversity is simply who sits in the seats. It’s the presence of different identities within a given setting, from different ages, genders, sexual identities, races, working styles, and job titles.
  • Equity: Equity means we want the same outcome instead of being given the same opportunity. We need the same outcomes and for that, we need equity. So equity means fairness. It means ensuring transparency in your processes, objectivity and systems policy in practice, and in your organization. You have to have a foundation of equity in order for you to even drive an inclusive campaign. 
  • Inclusion: A cultural state in which different identities are authentically, empowered valued leveraged, and experience a feeling of belonging.
  • Inclusive marketing: Inclusive marketing looks at the messaging. It’s messaging people, processes and technologies that enable marginalized or underrepresented groups to fully connect with and experience your brand.


10 Steps (13:05)

  • You have to have a diverse team first in order to build an inclusive marketing campaign. 
  • Dig into your audience – all of them! Understanding ALL of your audiences requires empathy.
  • Be considerate of all gender identities. Think about pronouns. We do that to be inclusive of people who are non-binary.
  • Ensure that your content is accessible. 
  • Deliver content that includes inclusive imagery. People are not a monolith. It’s not enough to state your values as a company. Be reflective of the consumer you are trying to attract.
  • Avoid Tokenism! Have a really diverse team.
  • Be mindful and sensitive to cultural moments. It’s an environment that is personalized and created for marketers to drive home the product. 
  • Consider the social impact of your campaign. How is your brand now being elevated because of its reputation?
  • What about language and tone? We want to really go towards inclusive language. Coming into a room, half women half men and saying, “Hey guys!” is actually not inclusive. 
  • Be careful not to perpetuate historical stereotypes. 


What Campaigns Did Well? (28:40)

Dove: Celebrate your #RealBeauty

HomeDepot: Choose To Serve Our Veterans

Etsy: Give Like You Mean It

Neutrogena: Hindu Color Run

Mastercard: Introducing True Name