June 19, 2023
Merriam-Webster defines inclusivity as the act of “including everyone”, especially those who have “historically been excluded due to race, gender, sexuality, or ability.” Inclusivity is important in so many areas of life, such as the workplace or school. It’s equally important in event marketing.
If you’re not considering inclusivity in event marketing, you’re making a mistake. A brand can suffer incredible damage if they fail to be inclusive. Word will spread and turn what was meant to be a memorable, happy event into one that becomes a notorious example of what not to do.
Three Benefits of Inclusivity in a Marketing Event
Why spend your time and money focusing on being diverse and inclusive? There are three benefits you gain when you plan and hold an inclusive event.
- It increases your reach and awareness.
When you ensure your events carefully weigh diversity, equity, and inclusion, you increase your brand’s reach. Consumers will talk about you, and that expands awareness and draws new interest. If you have people sharing with their friends and family, who also share with their friends and family, word-of-mouth marketing increases.
You might also catch the attention of the media. If your event is highlighted as being exactly what a diverse marketing experience should be, it’s beneficial publicity. Standing out for positivity, inclusivity, and diversity is valuable.
- It establishes a welcoming, enjoyable atmosphere for everyone, not just one or two groups.
Your attendees, staff, and presenters, performers, or speakers all have a good time because you carefully planned it out and didn’t accidentally exclude anyone. It’s a positive day that welcomes everyone, and that makes it enjoyable. It’s not just one gender, ethnicity, race, or age group having a good time.
The happier the audience, performers, speakers, volunteers, and staff members are, the better feedback and social media shares will be. People will look forward to future events from your brand.
- Your consumers become loyal, dedicated followers.
Finally, when your customer base is happy and has nothing but high praise for how well you planned and handled the event, they’ll keep coming back. Fully satisfied consumers and followers won’t leave. They’ll continue to purchase and that brings in the revenue needed to help your brand thrive.
Our Top Tips for Creating Inclusive Events
With any event marketing plan, you need to make sure you consider all of the angles. Creating an inclusive event isn’t something to rush or come up with on a whim. It takes careful planning, consideration, and rethinking to get everything right.
- Make sure you choose a diverse event marketing team.
Before you begin, you need a team who is the picture of diversity. If they’re not a diverse group, they may not have the insight needed to be fully inclusive. With people from all cultures, you get different visions of what would make someone feel included and not ostracized.
As an example, imagine you’re hosting an international dinner where two dozen people were asked to bring their dish, but 15 of those people were from the same country. It lessens the diversity of the entrees, sides, and desserts being served. If you ask one person from each of 24 different countries, you get the diversity you need.
- Choose and Set-Up the Event Space to Be Fully ADA-Compliant
To be inclusive, you need to make sure the event space is accessible to all. Someone with mobility issues won’t be able to climb up and down stairs. A person with vision loss is going to need text-to-speech options at displays so that visual marketing information isn’t unavailable to them. Someone with hearing loss may need an ASL interpreter or captioning on screens during spoken presentations.
As you set up the event space, make sure posters, images, and signs are inclusive and visible to everyone, including people who are color blind. Adding braille to signs for food stands, bathroom markers, menus, and other vital information is important if you want to make sure those with vision impairments can access necessary information.
- Select panelists, models, performers, presenters, and speakers from different backgrounds.
One of the biggest mistakes brands make is by ignoring the nationality, gender, race, etc. of the people speakers or musicians performing. If you are hosting a marketing event and only hire men to speak and perform, women will wonder why they were excluded. If you only hire Caucasian performers, people of other nationalities, colors, etc. will wonder why they weren’t represented.
For years, the fashion industry has continually chosen tall, thin women and men for seasonal fashion shows. Meanwhile, they try to market clothing and accessories in a wide range of sizes, including big and tall, petite, etc. The fashion shows are not representative of the different backgrounds. It’s a misstep that your brand wants to avoid.
- Make sure you use inclusive images and language
When you’re creating posts, ads, social media posts, and other marketing materials, use inclusive images and language. Your marketing event celebrates retirees, so why are all of your images in marketing materials focused on Gen Z workers? Why are all of the retirees in pamphlets the same general height, color, and weight?
Have you ever seen the Dove marketing campaign where a black woman lifted the t-shirt over her head and turned into a white woman? It was an attempt at inclusion and diversity that went wrong. It’s a good lesson to learn that you have to carefully think through how others
- Consider Different Dietary and Beverage Options
What foods are you offering? Your audience is going to be diverse, so you also need a diverse menu. There’s a lot to consider. A vegan cannot have eggs or cheese, so vegetarian options are not enough. Not all vegetarians and vegans eat lettuce and other standard salad fixings, so adding one salad to the menu won’t always meet their needs.
You might have audience members who cannot have dairy, gluten, or non-Kosher meats. If you cannot find a catering company that can cover all of this, it can be beneficial to hire several food trucks to cover all possible dietary needs.
Cultural sensitivity is just as important. Someone who is Muslim cannot have pork or pork products, so a salad with bacon isn’t acceptable. Gelatin usually contains pork, too.
Beverages are also something to consider. Imagine hosting an open house to introduce consumers and media to your new business. You’ve set up a buffet with finger sandwiches, salads, chips, snack bars, and many other foods that should cover every person’s needs. You also have a variety of diet and full-sugar sodas. You’ve done well, you think.
The problem is that not everyone drinks sugary drinks. You need to also consider water bottles or reusable water bottles that consumers can refill at water stations.
We agree that there is a lot to consider when it comes to creating a diverse, inclusive marketing event. That’s why it’s best to work with an expert in DEI marketing. Factory 360 specializes in diversity in event marketing and has a diverse team.
Over half of the team at Factory 360 speak multiple languages, and over half have also spent time in 10 or more countries. Talk to us about forming true connections with consumers and how we can help you plan a diverse, inclusive marketing event.