How Diversity and Inclusion Campaigns Drive Brand Outcomes

September 15, 2020

By Jason Wiese

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In today’s business environment and economic climate, where every dollar counts and brand results are scrutinized more than ever, it is important for marketers to develop strategies and create advertising campaigns that drive greater business outcomes.

Brands specifically embracing diversity and inclusion and making it a core part of their DNA and messaging are seeing increased business results across each stage of the purchase funnel — awareness, consideration, intent and sales — and VAB has developed the case studies to prove it.

VAB recently released a marketer’s guide featuring over 20 real-world case studies highlighting not only why a multicultural approach is essential in today’s modern society, but also illustrating the bottom-line brand benefits of inclusivity. No matter what goals or KPIs you need to deliver, there is a clear correlation between doing the right thing and business success.

In fact, brands that have launched inclusivity campaigns have seen double- and triple-digit increases in website traffic as well as sustained, and in some cases record-breaking, sales growth during and after the run of their campaign.

Through our analysis, utilizing third-party measurement services such as iSpot.tv and Comscore, along with publicly-available company sales data, we developed four valuable takeaways for marketers across the purchase funnel stages and have highlighted one case study for each stage in support of these insights.

  1. Inclusive campaigns break through the advertising clutter, which in turn drives stronger awareness and outsized attention for brands.

    Case Study: Earlier in 2020, Target released an ad entitled “Entrepreneur: The Honey Pot,” as part of its “Founders We Believe In” series featuring The Honey Pot owner Beatrice Dixon, in support of minority female-owned businesses.

    The ad had one of the highest attention scores of all Target ads among viewers (in the 97th percentile) while The Honey Pot’s sales increased 20-30 percent a month after the campaign launched.
  2. When marketers embrace topics that sharply resonate with consumers it yields significant dividends in terms of engagement like more social conversation, online video views, and search queries.

    Case Study: In 2016, Johnnie Walker released an ad in both English and Spanish entitled “This Land,” as part of its “Keep America Walking” campaign designed to spread a message of unity and inclusion, which offered distinct visualizations presenting an authentic representation of America’s rich cultural diversity.

    Viewer sentiment for the ad was overwhelmingly positive (90 percent) which helped spur high digital interactions relative to brand spend — the ad drove two-thirds of the brands total earned digital interactions over the last five years.
  3. Regardless of your brand’s target consumer, category or business model, embracing diversity can inspire deeper engagement, consideration and interaction while bringing many more potential customers onto your digital platforms.

    Case Study: In 2019, Denny’s launched its “See You At Denny’s” campaign in both English and Spanish with a message of inclusiveness inspired by the diversity of Denny’s guests’ gatherings of modern, multicultural families and friends dining together.

    There was an immediate surge in Denny’s website visitation upon launch, especially by Black/African Americans which continued through the duration of the campaign. In the final month of the campaign, unique website traffic was up +85 percent among persons 18 and older and +135 percent among Black/African American viewers 18 and older compared to the month prior to the campaign launch.
  4. Doing the right thing by taking a stand on societal issues while developing and investing in diverse, inclusive campaigns grows the bottom line.

    Case Study: In September 2018, Nike released its first in a series of “Dream” spots celebrating the rich diversity found in sports for its ongoing “Just Do It” campaign. The first ad (“Dream Crazy”) featured controversial NFL star-turned-activist, Colin Kaepernick declaring, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

    Nike launched the ad at the beginning of its third quarter and proceeded to see its highest third quarter revenues ever up to that point in time. In fact, record-breaking sales have been achieved in each quarter since the launch of the “Dream Crazy” Kaepernick spot through early 2020.

In summary, brands should embrace diversity and inclusion as a core part of their DNA not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it also yields better business results.

To learn more about how diversity and inclusion campaigns drive brand outcomes including the eight strategies that resonate most with consumers and to read all 20-plus case studies, click here to download our marketer’s guide.

Jason Wiese is SVP and director of strategic insights at VAB.


The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


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