Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in Modern Advertising

Statistics show that America is becoming increasingly more diverse, as recent data reveals that growth among racial and ethnic minority populations outpaces that of Caucasians. It’s vital for modern marketers to know their audience, but they should also remember that diversity extends beyond race alone. Today, promoting revenue and brand image means defining and communicating with audiences as individuals, including people of all ages, socio-economic classes, and genders. Ultimately, the key to staying competitive lies in providing diversified content for diversified audiences, in a way that actually represents present-day society.

Visit the resources in this guide to understand the need to shift advertising execution efforts toward diversity and inclusion.  

diverse group of young adults standing arm in arm

The State of Diversity in Advertising

A recent Newscred survey of U.S. marketers found that more than 91% of U.S. marketers agree with the statement “there is still room for growth in using more diverse images by marketers.” It’s clear that most American companies have a diversity blindspot that may be impacting business growth potential.

Diversity in the U.S. Population

U.S. Census Bureau data revealed that the racial and ethnic minority population grew faster than the Caucasian population from 2015 to 2016. The following resources describe the existing diversity landscape in America.

A more diverse America: This is a numbers-heavy report about diversity in the United States.

U.S population by ethnicities: This report breaks up the changes in population by ethnicity.

10 demographic trends that are shaping the U.S.: This comprehensive Pew report examines a variety of factors, including race, that contribute to the changes in America’s population.

The Importance of Diversity in Marketing Campaigns

When people recognize themselves in messages, they’re more likely to respond. Up to 83% of people pointed to better representing modern society as the reason marketing campaigns were impactful in a positive way.

Lessons from Failings: This piece looks into historical examples of failed diversity marketing campaigns.

Minority groups and advertising messages: This piece reinforces the need to know one’s audience.

Targeting Ethnic Groups: This page offers statistics for marketers hoping to diversify their messaging.

Examples of Strong Diversity in Advertising

Discover these examples of major brands embracing diversity in national advertising campaigns.
Coca Cola



Diversity and Revenue

Penetrating new markets makes it more possible to generate new revenue. Not only does more diversity and inclusion contribute to a more aligned society, it allows companies to target new populations and increase response rates with relatable messaging, helping boost their bottom lines.

Why diversity in advertising is important for revenue: This article examines the positive and negative effects of marketing to diverse audiences, from a revenue perspective.

Diversity and the bottom line: Written by the Leadership Insiders Network, this provides value for businesses hoping to have metrics from advertising.

The CEO’s perspective on diversity and revenue: This is a first-person account about the revenue-producing results.

Tips on Embracing Diversity

Embracing diversity means redefining it within the organization and perceiving it as an essential element to innovation.  Diverse thoughts are contagious, and add significant value to the ideation process.

Today, successful businesses create an environment that includes diverse ways of thinking. Diverse ideas often stem from diverse minds, and these resources describe the impact on marketing campaigns.

Diverse ideas and millennials: This piece focuses specifically on diversity, from a generational perspective.

How to cultivate diversity of thought: This offers ways to create a more diverse creative environment.

Signs of lack of diverse thought: This offers examples of the consequences organizations endure when diversity is an oversight.

Outside Perspective Matters

When it comes to true diversity and inclusion, geography plays a major role. Experiences differ from environment to environment, depending on a variety of factors. Read on to learn about the impact of remote workers on diversity and inclusion.

Benefits of hiring remote workers: This lists the advantages organizations gain when contracting remote workers.

Remote workers in America’s heartland: Since much of the advertising in America is headquartered on the east and west coasts, this piece provides insight into the value of midwestern perspective.

Freelancers as a workplace trend: Remote workers on the payroll, or as contractors, is a valuable option for organizations looking to enhance diversity of thought.

No Ideation Without Variation

Generating new ideas is more successful when diverse, cross-cultural and cross-functional team members are invited to the brainstorm. Teams bring varied experiences and perspectives when they are made up of diverse people.

Cross-cultural brainstorming: It’s not only valuable to include people with different perspectives, but different ethnicities in ideation processes.

Brainstorming for innovation (podcast): This podcast offers tips for a diverse brainstorm.

Building a Mindful CultureThis piece examines the need for mindfulness in creating messages, starting with diversity.

The Role of Influencers in Diverse Content

Influencers have their own dedicated followers and can be useful in helping companies connect with new groups outside of their usual reach. These resources look at how influencers can help extend an organization’s message to a more varied range of people, because of the ability to relate to their interests and needs.

How influencers help engage audiences: This is an opinion piece about the role of influencers on audiences and how they can help engage them.

Attracting the right audiences: This article offers information from a “what you need to know” perspective.

Diversity matters in social media: This piece examines diversity messaging in social media, specifically.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

Content isn’t effective if audiences aren’t connecting with the message. It’s important to keep empathy, not sympathy, as the ultimate goal.

Winning customers with empathy: This article examines the need for empathy to connect, and provides examples of successful campaigns.

Empathy and effective content marketing: This article looks at not only advertising but content marketing, as a whole.

Emotional Advertising: This post makes a case for tapping into feelings to sell products and services.

smiling group of professionals in a huddle

Resources for Driving Diversity & Inclusion

It’s one thing to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion, but another to create a diverse culture. Even the most successful companies can find ways to improve upon driving diversity internally and in branding efforts.

Developing a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

As the political and social landscape shifts in America, companies are redefining internal diversity initiatives. What can companies do to make diversity and inclusion part of the mission?

6 Tactics for driving diversity, inclusion and integrity: This piece offers tips to start incorporating diversity into the workplace.

How to create one in your organization: This is a how-to article about driving diversity and inclusion as a mission statement.

5 Strategies to Build a Diverse Company: This looks at ways diversity can impact every corner of an organization.

Diversity and Marketing Communications

It’s difficult to create and execute a marketing communications strategy to reach diverse audiences without diverse marketing teams. Both are equally important.

The Diverse Marketing Strategy: This article acknowledges the existing template marketers use as a strategy, and why it needs to change.

Women and DiversityThis piece looks at the lack of diversity and, specifically, women in marketing communications.

Higher Education Communications: This piece offers advice about incorporating more diversity in brochures for educational institutions.

How to Avoid Diversity Pitfalls

Regardless of the intention, some campaigns that focus on diversity miss the mark. Here’s how to avoid the pitfalls.

Diversity Best Practices: This article offers practical tips to incorporate diversity into messaging.

Examples of advertising missteps: Just as articles offer tips on what to do, this helps to understand what not to do, by example.

Mistakes to Avoid: This article offers four major marketing mistakes, in regards to diversity.