The importance of Diversity and Inclusivity in Influencer Marketing


The world is a diverse place with people of all different colours, sizes, ethnicity and ages. It always has been like this, but when looking at influencer marketing it hasn’t always been the case. However, now more than ever, brands are embracing diversity and inclusivity into their campaigns. Why is it so important to do so? And why does it matter?

In Influentials’ latest ClubHouse: Influentials Talks, we discussed this topic with Youssra Benaya, senior account and creative director at Mooi the Agency and Nicky Ruisch, communications manager at the Body Shop. Both strong women who’ve been incorporating inclusivity and diversity in their campaigns for years and years. In this article, you can read more about what we discussed during the Talks and share tips on how you can imply diversity and inclusivity correctly into your campaigns to reach a greater audience.

Why is it so important to be more inclusive?

It’s no secret that Influencer marketing faces some diversity issues. There have been cases of brands offering different payments to influencers of different skin colours for the same campaign. This shows that we still have a lot to learn about the importance of inclusivity and diversity and how to correctly imply it in your influencer marketing strategies.

It’s important to be more inclusive and diverse as a brand because it will help you to increase your brand awareness, brand loyalty and ultimately a higher conversion rate and ROI. In other words, common goals you want to reach as an influencer marketer.

In order to be inclusive, you need to add diversity to the journey of your influencer campaign. Your campaign will reach a wider, more defined audience and will cut through all the noise and create more authenticity and reliability within the campaign. That’s why The Body Shop chooses content creators who are a reflection of society and their target audience. As they would like to state, they choose ‘real people’ who present a diverse group instead of ‘typical content creators’ who may have a big reach and audience, but not always represent your audience in a direct way.

In the end, if you want to get your product or service out there, it’s important that it appeals to the greatest audience possible. To be able to, you need a diverse group of creators who represent your diverse target audience. It increases the level of authenticity, the recognisability of the target audience and makes them feel like they’re more listened to and believe your product is the right fit for them! If you’re not being inclusive enough, segments of your target audience may feel left out.

Tip: Your target audience, strategy and brand identity align closely with each other. In order to be more inclusive, take a close look at your brand identity. Does your brand speak to a diverse group of people with all different kinds of backgrounds? If it doesn’t, be aware of it and think of ways to make your brand more inclusive as it opens up many more chances for you. It’s such a loss not to take this opportunity to reach a greater and diverse audience. Think for example about visuals you use on social media, the content creators you’ve been collaborating with within the past.

Start the conversation and listen

It’s no secret that Gen Z and millennials are much more open about current affairs and activism. They are more outspoken than any other generation and care more for a good representation. Making them active brands more to be open about it too. As these generations are your (future) target audiences, it’s critical to listen to them and think about what they’re trying to point out regarding inclusivity and diversity as well.

More and more influencers feel more comfortable speaking out for themselves too. Some even have an activism undertone to it and are not afraid to share their statements around affairs like black lives matter or body positivity. However, others still feel scared to speak out loud. They often think that by having a strong opinion about diversity, it may result that brands don’t want to associate with them and therefore no longer want to collaborate. On the contrary, some influencers don’t want to be related to a specific brand as it doesn't reflect their values and beliefs.

So as a brand, start by educating yourself about these topics in order to raise awareness of diversity and inclusivity. Not only will it help you reach a greater and diverse audience, but opens up a lot more possibilities regarding awareness, making people feel more included and doing what it’s right.

How to start and avoid mistakes in your campaign

See it as an active mission and ensure that one of the goals is that you set up a campaign around inclusivity. Look for creators with different backgrounds that fit your brand. If you’re still a little daunted on how to approach creators in an appropriate way or the construction of your campaign, Youssra Benaya advises starting the conversation about doing what’s appropriate and the right thing to do in order to be more inclusive and be open with these creators. Try to understand the movement they’re behind and where it’s coming from. The challenge is to understand the deeper meaning of movements like black lives matter, body positivity, LGBTQIA+ or other affairs where they care about. If you want creators to connect with your brand, do it for the right reasons where it’s not just about the damage it may cause to your brand or the profit or awareness you’re trying to increase.

If you start to think based on your personal needs, it can become the same campaign as you are used to, so try to think outside the box. Avoid taking advantage of certain hypes or national Holiday for the sake of your brand awareness. Instead, carefully search for the right creator and have a great understanding of these topics. Together you can create awareness for these cultural subjects and reach your target audience. Social studies have proven that people, especially minorities, feel that they don’t always feel heard or listened to. And if they can’t identify themselves in your marketing campaigns, it technically means that you as a brand are already skipping out on a big potential audience. In most cases, this isn't even initiated by the brand.  It’s therefore the challenge to dig up that underlying idea behind that movement and why they feel non-inclusive and play around there to make them feel heard.

Finding the match

Brands often think finding the right creators is a difficult mission, but if you take a closer look at it, it may surprise you how easy it can go. If you can’t find them immediately it means you’re still in your own bubble where you naturally end up with the same profiles that you’re interested in at first sight. How to break this bubble? Look up a few large creators who are more diverse and start looking from there, who are their followers? Who are they collaborating with? Who’s commenting on their statements and opinions?

Dove’s devotion

Try to step away from this certain image you have of how things should be looking and what you’re used to doing when constructing your campaign and embrace how a diverse image can be even better.  

Take the example of Dove, they have been committed to spreading the message of body positivity for the longest time ever. By collaborating with creators like Vivian Hoorn to create awareness of self-love and how their products strengthen this journey.  

Creators have the power to make brands more human and relatable.
And Dove knows exactly how to play on elements like identification, relatability and inclusivity through creators spreading positive messages on how everyone should accept and love themselves for who they are.

The personal message Vivian shares for the campaign makes her vulnerable. Pointing out the insecurities we all have, shows how relatable we can be to one another. But the bigger result is the love and positive messages she receives from her followers instead.

Dove’s taken diversity high into its identity. It shows how collaborating with creators like Vivian, they can make their brand inclusive for everyone, no matter what size, colour or age.

Are you wondering how you can make your influencer marketing campaign more inclusive? We understand how it can be a challenge, especially if it’s the first time. Therefore we’re more than willing to help you out by constructing your next campaign. Please contact your customer success manager and we’ll get to it straight away!