How to make sure your company is speaking to an all-inclusive audience with advice from Vaishali Shah, founder of Culturally Minded.
The internet has helped businesses to compete on the global stage. Building a brand which speaks to an all-inclusive audience is a realistic goal for more and more businesses, including the outdoor hospitality market.
Expanding your marketing efforts to an international audience can be an excellent opportunity to grow your company and reach potential customers that may not otherwise have discovered your products or services. Outdoor hospitality is a popular activity amongst North Americans, Europeans, Australians and New Zealanders, and more recently in Asia, including China and India.
Understand your reach
Research which cultures would work well for your business – both in your city or country as well as other countries. It’s helpful to have a deep understanding of your own and other cultures. It has been said that glamping is inspired by long-established African safari-style camps. Glamping is also popular in Denmark, Germany, Chile, Japan and Taiwan, to name a few countries. It is important to understand your ideal client and their needs.
Use inclusive imagery
Consumers want to see themselves in your communication, social media, adverts etc. and know that you relate to them and their needs. Consider positive gender portrayal, inclusive imagery and gender neutrality. For an international audience, show global representation in skin colour, features, hair styles, and overall look. If your website primarily uses Western models, it would have less appeal to Asian and African audiences.
- 88 per cent of marketers think using more diverse images can boost their reputation, according to a study by stock photography business Shutterstock
- 66 per cent of consumers would purchase goods and services from a business that features disabled people in its advertising
- 44 per cent of consumers say it’s important for a brand to align with their personal values
Choosing the right images is key to making you connect personally and at a deeper level with your various audiences. So, if you are looking for images to convey escape, social interaction, adventure, freedom and discovery, ensure that they are all-inclusive.
Successful companies are eliminating stereotypes. Connect with consumers regardless of their age, ethnicity, shape or gender identity.
Authenticity is key
Inclusivity is a process – a conscious decision. It takes concerted effort and investment to become truly representative of today’s society.
Create an environment where all consumers feel they are listened to and genuinely belong. Make diversity an ongoing goal, a way of conducting your business, at the heart of your brand, and not simply a box to be ticked off.
Around 70 per cent of millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion.
Examine your business name and logo
Choose a name for your business that is culturally sensitive. Make sure business names make sense to (and do not offend) customers from different cultures. Ensure your logo is respectful to different cultures; do not use any wording or symbols that could offend.
Colours and symbols
Colours and symbols are deep-rooted in cultures. Research meanings of colours and symbols relevant to your ideal client and adapt accordingly. In most of Europe and America, white is associated with purity and marriage. In Japan, China and parts of Africa, white is traditionally the colour of death and mourning.
Is your language inclusive? Will it resonate positively with different cultures? Are you using gender-neutral pronouns in your copy?
Slogans that work well in one culture may not work well in other cultures, and humour is often hard to translate across cultures.
Where many of your customers do not speak English, consider having your website translated into other languages for an international audience.
Does your website include a ‘diversity and inclusion’ section? Do you show how you are committed to making your business and products more inclusive?
Is your website global-friendly? Can customers purchase your services/products online? Consider a currency conversion facility where customers can convert their purchase into their currency to avoid confusion – for example a customer in Japan may find it easier to see the price in Yen rather than Pounds, when booking their UK glamping holiday or when enquiring about your venue for their function.
Give your customers several easy ways to contact you; via email address, WhatsApp or telephone with full dial code.
During these current unprecedented times, now is an ideal opportunity to review your imagery, language, website, promotional literature and brochures to check that your company is speaking to an all-inclusive audience.
Create business goals around customer inclusion outlining exactly how to measure and report on the impact and effectiveness of customer inclusion campaigns.
Being inclusive gives companies the edge to stand out, extend customer base, strengthen brand recognition and reputation and increase sales.
Spend time with people who represent your ideal client and target audiences to understand them better. A cultural consultant, with their experience and knowledge, will help to ensure that your marketing resonates and engages with your audiences.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Culturally Minded is a cultural consultancy helping businesses successfully overcome the challenges posed by cultural differences and sensitivities. Founder Vaishali Shah can help businesses communicate effectively, create a favourable impression, take advantage of opportunities, build trust and expand their brand reach nationally and internationally. She will help to ensure partnerships and collaborations transcend cultural boundaries and to make sure that nothing is lost in translation.