Develop an Inclusive Review Process
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Understand the five steps to conduct an inclusive review process.
- Explain why having a diverse review panel is important.
Now that we’ve defined inclusive marketing and broken it down into six principles, let’s take a look at how we can incorporate it into a comprehensive review process before our content goes out the door.
The first step in the final review process is to examine your content carefully through the lens of the inclusive marketing principles. Once you adapt this lens and flex this muscle, you’ll find it much easier to articulate that gut feeling you get when you look at a piece of content and realize something doesn’t feel right. These principles are designed to help you articulate what needs to be revised.
To truly create diverse marketing that reflects our communities, it’s important that our workplaces reflect society as well.
Before sharing content, ensure a diverse panel from different identities have both created and reviewed the material. Be aware of the intersectionality and complexity of the human experience. Intersectionality takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences in order to understand the complexity of prejudices they face.
However, it’s also important that we don’t burden minority groups with being the ones to speak up. Train and engage everyone in the inclusive marketing principles and encourage all to wear their “Equality glasses.”
It’s important that we listen to the voice within that tells us when something doesn’t feel right. In many of the examples we reviewed, these mistakes could have probably been avoided both if someone spoke up or if they were empowered to speak up. If you notice that any part of the content you are looking at or helping to create simply doesn’t feel right, speak up using the vehicles provided by your company and/or mentioning it to your leadership team.
As we mentioned earlier in this module, these conversations can be difficult to have. Especially if you are a team leader, it’s important to create a space where people feel safe to speak up and dissent. If you are a more senior person in the room, before you give your input, make sure you hear from everyone in the meeting, and make it clear that it is okay to disagree or point out something wrong.
Sometimes, even if we’ve created a truly inclusive and safe space to speak up, people will stay silent. For underrepresented minorities especially it can be intimidating and scary to speak up if you are one of few or the only one in the room. This is why it’s important to have a vehicle for anonymous feedback—it can be as simple as an anonymized survey people fill out after the meeting with their thoughts on the content. The more perspectives involved, the more powerful the content can be.
For more tips on how to create an inclusive workplace and have these brave conversations, see our Inclusive Leadership Practices module.
Creating marketing that is truly inclusive also means meeting accessibility standards and needs. With 15% of the world’s population having a disability, incorporating accessibility means reaching a broader audience. When it’s broken down, the word accessibility is the “ability” to “access.” It’s about thoughtfully designing your content with everyone in mind, including people with disabilities. When creating your branding message—whether it’s a website, a newsletter, a social media post, or more—there are many areas to consider when designing with accessibility in mind. Appropriate use of color, font type, descriptive text for images, animations, closed captioning, and more are all areas you should consider when planning content.
As a starting point, ensure your website is easy to navigate because it’s one of the most important forms of marketing for any company. Keep in mind that visitors to your website may be navigating with keyboard only or using an assistive technology such as a screen reader. Check that all informational images have alternative text (alt text) in the markup, add closed captions to videos, include transcripts for audio files, and ensure that your website uses semantic HTML markup and follows logical heading structure.
The Resources section lists helpful resources for creating content for websites, email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
All in all, we recognize that this is only the beginning and there is still much to learn to achieve inclusive marketing. However, with these first principles, we believe that we can all make progress in this journey. We have the power to both create deeper customer connections and influence society positively by elevating all aspects of humanity in the media around us. Let’s start now, together.