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Marketing inclusivity–afterthought or aspirational thinking?

We all want to be seen and heard. We all have a strong need for acceptance. That’s true in life and it surely is true in business. Genuine recognition goes a long way to making people feel involved. Conversely, treating inclusivity as a marketing afterthought not only makes people feel excluded, it’s just not smart business.

Take people living with disabilities as an example of the importance of incorporating the practice of inclusivity in the planning process. People living with disabilities make up 20% of the U.S. population. They’re voracious users of the internet because…well, it makes their lives easier. They’re recognized as the largest minority group in our nation and account for about $220 billion in buying power. Think of the money left on the table if people with disabilities are not included in marketing plans. If that doesn’t make someone stand up and take notice, consider the fact that not every disability is visible.

Unseen disabilities refer to hundreds of conditions, including mental illness, learning disabilities, medical issues and much more. That’s a lot of untapped inclusion. We salute the brands who have made extraordinary strides to incorporate inclusivity at the very beginning of their marketing process. The Wells Fargo Commercial: Learning Sign Language is a goose-bump-worthy spot featuring two gay women learning sign language before they adopted their beautiful new (deaf) daughter. The premise didn’t gratuitously add minorities and people with disabilities as an afterthought. The entire premise, helping people “prepare financially for life’s biggest moments,” revolved around real-life situations in today’s real-life world. It is aspirational, authentic and awesome.

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