Across all media, consumers are looking for consistency and credibility from the brands they engage with—not just in the products or services they offer, but in what they say and do.
Inclusion has become top of mind across the media industry, and it’s new terrain for many brands to navigate. Brands that are effective not only Send an emailThey show consumers that they are committed to equity by demonstrating their support for it. Taking actionIt is. With increasing population diversity and the importance of personalization, it is important for brands to encourage inclusion through sharing ownership with their consumers.
Representation matters to every identity group—male or female, Black or White, young or old. While mass media may sometimes be discounted in its ability to deliver personalized messaging, it’s still key to an effective long-term marketing strategy. Many identity groups are still not represented on screen. Women make up over half the U.S. population but are still far more visible than their male counterparts (38% to 62% respectively). A few segments of women, especially women older than 50 years, are significantly underrepresented on the screen. Women over 50 years old are actually 60% less likely than men to be seen in programming.
Representation shouldn’t only be a focus on-screen, but also a focus in advertising. In regards to advertising, brands trying to reach underrepresented identity groups such as women—particularly those over 50—have a true opportunity to seize. This group spent almost $800 million last year across 25 CPG category categories. That compares to $608 million for women aged 18-34, and $680 million in the 35-49 age range. SME has found that customers are more likely than others to buy products advertised by brands featuring people from their identities. Therefore, inclusion is crucial for effective advertising spending.
Diverse viewers are seeking representation that reflects their identities. SME, a survey of over 2,000 adults, found that 59%, 51.2%, and 25%, respectively, would engage more with content featuring members from their identities. In this way, people from underrepresented communities are moving to sites that offer more diverse content.
The 18.8% Hispanic population in the United States contributes more to total population growth than any other group. Hispanics account for only 5.5% of all television, and 10.1% in SVOD. Although that’s just over half of their representation in the population, Hispanic viewers have taken note—particularly younger generations. 40 percent of 15 most watched SVOD programs for Latinos aged 18 to 34 had strong or fair representation. Only 13% were Hispanics over 35.
Whether you’re trying to share your brand with women over 50, Hispanics or another underrepresented identity group, marketers have an enormous opportunity to capitalize if they understand where audiences are engaging and also take action to increase representation for diverse audiences.
While the primary challenge lies in creating messaging that looks like the audience it’s projected to, it’s equally important for brands to be mindful of how a message will be received, and adjust it to ensure it resonates. Unfortunately, when an underrepresented identity group does see itself represented in content, there aren’t always characters that mirror their multifaceted lives. For instance, women over 50 don’t necessarily relate to matriarchal and motherly characters, yet that tends to be the focus for programming and advertising—which doesn’t encourage engagement. Without feeling seen, an identity group can’t share ownership with a brand.
On-screen inclusion is a key component of any brand’s advertising strategy. Brands should also be aware of how content is received by those it reaches. There will be more opportunities to connect with audiences as their audiences become increasingly diverse. In the future, brands will become more involved in sharing brand ownership and will invest more advertising dollars into inclusive programs.
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