Our world is in a state of social change. As historically marginalized groups become increasingly heard, language is evolving to be more inclusive of these groups and eliminate words and expressions that reflect bias or may cause offense. But sometimes, it feels as if these changes are happening at rapid-fire speed. How to avoid accidentally giving offense when communicating with a diverse audience?
Do Your Research
It’s the golden rule of marketing: know your target audience. Whether you’re worried about causing offense or not, a key part of your marketing strategy should be monitoring the voice of each segment of your audience. How do they interact online? What words and language do they use? What is their tone? If you aren’t sure, that’s a sign that you need to engage with your audience more. Try doing a live chat on the social media channel they frequent most or conduct a customer poll or survey that allows you to hear them better. You can also reach out to specific groups to get their feedback.
Your brand’s voice should stay authentic and consistent even as social rules change. Use more inclusive language if needed, but don’t shift your brand’s voice to pander to your audience–you won’t be fooling anyone, and it will only turn consumers off. Instead, think about how your brand’s values and voice align with your audience’s and communicate in that sweet spot.
Genuinely Connect with Relevant Groups
The best way to avoid giving offense is to build trust and develop sincere relationships with diverse groups in your audience. This means ensuring that your brand genuinely embraces inclusiveness. Using the “right” language or a stock photo that checks off all the diversity boxes isn’t enough. Your content will only emotionally resonate with target groups if it shows the brand has actual knowledge and understanding of the group and depicts audience members realistically. Having a diverse marketing team can bring perspectives and insights that help you stay abreast of shifting rules and use more authentic messaging.
At Ebony Marketing Systems, we are experts at designing and conducting multicultural research that meets your company’s unique needs. We tailor our work to best suit you, the communities you serve, and those you want to serve. For more information, call us at (718) 742-0006 or send us a message today.