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Inclusive Planning for Pride and Beyond

During Pride Month, we’ll see many brands showing their support for LGBTQIA+ communities. We’re also likely to see much discussion around ‘rainbow-washing’; the practice of brands signalling support without actually doing substantive work that helps the community. All of this raises a wider question about how brands can be truly inclusive in both their messaging and media.

It is well-established that truly inclusive work leads to better business results. Yet, as it stands, 39% of global consumers believe that brands are not doing a good job of representing people ‘similar to me or my community’ (Kantar). There’s clearly work to be done. At the7stars, inclusive planning is vital to the work of every team and at each stage of planning and buying.

Inclusive Insight

Upon receiving a brief, we seek to uncover and resolve gaps in knowledge that risk excluding groups in society. This is often where the tension between the binary language used in marketing and the complexity and diversity of the real world can lead to game-changing perspectives.

An example of such tension was highlighted in our whitepaper The Misdefined Majority. Here we challenge the use of archaic socioeconomic grading in targeting definitions and instead champion a multi-layered approach, considering factors such as affordability, attitudes, and values.

At the7stars, we consistently enrich our understanding of audiences with bespoke research. Since becoming a founding partner of Voices4All in 2020, all nationally representative research conducted by the7stars includes ethnicity, disability/impairment, and sexual orientation within quotas. To add further depth, specially trained moderators in our team conduct qualitative research with marginalised and under-represented audiences where appropriate.

Inclusive Activation

When building a plan that puts into action the audience nuances uncovered earlier, it’s essential to consider the full breadth of media brands, including those catering to specific audience groups. Such media brands can sometimes unjustly fall foul of brand safety guidelines that deem them ‘unsafe’ due to size, a lack of understanding of their content, or measurement difficulties. We support inclusive publishers within the mix on a media plan wherever appropriate, recognising the power of advertising to support marginalised voices and spaces.

Equally, when creating content with partners, we ensure the authentic representation of all audiences vital to the brief, both within the content and across the production process.

A More Inclusive Future for Advertising

A proactive approach to inclusion is not only vital to producing the best work for our clients but also for the future of our industry. Diverse teams develop the strongest ideas thanks to their breadth of viewpoints and experiences. To attract a truly representative pool of talent to the industry, everyone should feel that advertising not only reflects them but welcomes them.