Diversity and inclusion are quickly becoming the most important elements of modern marketing. With consumers more interested in representation than style, brands are pivoting their messaging of fashion stars and perfectly shaped models to more accessible, human, and relatable people. Instead of doing away with less conventional appearances and styles, marketing companies are looking for ways to include—not hide—all people from all backgrounds.
There is a key difference between diversity and inclusion. Diversity refers to the representation of different types of people within marketing collateral. It spans across cultures, races, political stances, and many other demographics. Inclusion, on the other hand, is finding ways to meaningfully include diverse people within a brand’s work. Instead of flashing faces on a screen, brands are urged to include diverse people in a wide variety of industry positions.
Today, diversity and inclusion initiatives have taken the world by storm. Roughly 60% of global corporations have initiatives in place to track their diversity and inclusion efforts. Interestingly, companies that are identified by consumers to be more diverse or inclusive have a 35% higher success rate than those who are not. On the other end of the spectrum, inclusive companies are notably 1.7 times more innovative than any of their peers. It’s clear that diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords—they’re movements transforming brands, consumers, and the people they serve.
Many industry experts are looking at large corporate brands to set ongoing benchmarks for diversity and inclusion practices, particularly within marketing. However, many small to medium-sized brands are leading the charge toward celebration in increasingly public ways. Below, ten of the world’s most diverse and inclusive brands will highlight their strategies toward creating a more innovative, well represented consumer base.
10 Brands with Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
Not all brands are created equal, and not all diversity and inclusion goals make a measurable impact on a business or its consumers. The following ten brands not only surpass the diversity and inclusion goal but set an industry benchmark for celebrating all people from all backgrounds.
“Frankly, I believe in celebrating the beauty of all women, from every race, shape, size and color,” says a representative at Knotty Knickers, a top subscription box service that provides affordable, stylish underwear for all women. The company focuses on embracing the unique beauty of every woman and emphasizes inclusion in the fashion industry. “I think the best brands out there are the ones finding time to celebrate with everyone. It’s not about proving a point; it’s about tapping into real beauty in real people.”
Knotty Knickers made a bold move when it moved forward with marketing campaigns that profile authentic women with no airbrushing or touchups to their photos. In an industry that has previously touted the importance of small body types with specific features, Knotty Knickers chose to divert from the acceptable and put forth the exceptional by representing a myriad of women and body types in its ad campaigns. The brand was built on the idea of creating beautiful, affordable underwear for every woman, and their marketing initiatives embrace the very same tenet.
The popular diaper company made headlines around the world with its release of Stinky Booty Duty, a video ad about new fathers navigating the world of diaper changing. The company celebrates the fact that raising children is not a female-only task and says a big thank you to all the single dads making parenting work.
Never content to be left on the sidelines, MasterCard is a consistent contender on Top 50 List for Diversity and Inclusion. The company’s most notable contributions to the movement include their internal YoPros BRG program, helping older employees become familiarized and active on social media platforms.
Disability is only infrequently highlighted by the corporate world, and Urban Decay set out to change that. By creating a marketing campaign alongside Grace Key, an actress and entrepreneur with Down Syndrome, the company was able to celebrate how our differences bring us together.
Johnson & Johnson
The health and beauty company continues to lead in diversity and inclusion initiatives, gaining them dozens of awards over the past 28 years. The U.S. Veterans Magazine considers them to be the best of the best for their ongoing diversity efforts and remains one of two companies on the Working Mother 100 Most Diverse List.
Although the Sodexo brand is primarily known for its quality of life services, the company is also celebrated for its work in gender balancing and regular diversity efforts. The company maintains a steady balance of male and female employees and is committed to maintaining a certain percentage of female leadership within its upper ranks.
With more than 48 shades of concealer on the market, Rare Beauty is committed to making skin care accessible to all. The company is known for highlighting a wide variety of ages, genders, and skin colors in their marketing collateral and is currently partnered with nonprofit agencies on a mission to promote better mental health.
The influence of Rothy’s, the direct-to-consumer shoe brand, has earned something of a cult following in recent years. The company recently crowdsourced ideological solutions from a diverse people group suffering from the effects of COVID-19, among other important initiatives.
The greeting card company has recently stepped up its game to provide diverse representation throughout the holidays. Their most recent advertisement, Share More Merry this Season, is a great example of its renewed quest to highlight and celebrate diversity.
For the past few years, the Marriott hotel chain has been recognized as one of the best places to work for persons on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Keep an eye on these flagship brands in diversity and inclusion and consider supporting their brands and implementing their techniques in your own company. When we support brands celebrating diversity and inclusion, we become part of the important movement for change.