The Importance of Diversity in Marketing

By Maurice Hughes, Diversity Outreach

October 16, 2023

One trend that has taken 2023 by surprise is the increase in diversity in overall marketing campaigns.

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (formerly the International Advertising Festival), the global gold standard of advertising awards, has put Community and Inclusion first. From their site:

Inclusion, collaboration and communities are three powerful themes running through successful creative work. We examine how smart brands are pinpointing the communities they want to engage with, prioritising inclusion and working with creators.

Diversity in Marketing extends long past Cultural Heritage Month

It’s shown this year in prevalent campaigns and has even extended past a cultural heritage month. One notable example is Target making its Pride Collection a staple for shopping.

And recently Dunkin Donuts featured Ice Spice in their newest collection of ads.

Consumers demand diversity and representation from companies

While this has been on the trend upward this year, marketing has been slowly becoming more diverse since the 1980s according to Forbes. This also correlates to increased sales. According to a 2020 study, consumers want to support companies they feel have diversity in their marketing according to this Forbes’s article.

6 out of 10 Americans believe that diversity in advertising is critical.

Diversity and Inclusion Teams are becoming the norm in today’s companies

An easy way to help increase diversity in marketing is by having a diverse team working on projects from all different cultures. Having more voices in a creative space allows a melting pot of ideas to shine and nearly eliminates the potential of coming off as tone-deaf. Kohl’s has a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Team which is led by Michelle A. Banks, Kohl's Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office. In a statement, she writes,

At Kohl’s, we are dedicated to championing diversity and inclusion through our actions and the commitments we have made to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for our people, our customers and our communities. Advancing DEI is an imperative for our long-term business success.

Banks’ statement continues to elaborate on Kohl’s commitment:

We are committed to progress. Our Pledge for Progress demonstrates our unwavering long-term commitment to make meaningful change and drive impactful results.

We have a passion for diversity and elevating diverse voices. During my time at Kohl’s, I have been deeply moved by some of the stories I've heard about valuing people and their individual experiences, and celebrating differences. We thoughtfully amplify these stories so our customers and associates can see themselves reflected in Kohl’s.

We champion inclusivity in our workforce. Ensuring an equitable and inclusive environment for Kohl’s associates is a top priority, and that’s why we’ve completed DEI sensitivity training and are providing several leadership and associate trainings centered around fostering an inclusive workplace. In addition, we’re prioritizing diverse recruiting and talent development practices.

We celebrate individuality. We help customers see themselves reflected in our brands and experiences by celebrating cultural moments, empowering diverse-owned brands and creating culturally-relevant products in partnership with our Diversity Design Council.

We have a wealth of ideas. We have a Task Force, Business Resource Groups (BRGs), and teams all across the company that are actively exploring ideas for change. We nourish the best ideas by giving them the time and talent they deserve.

We continue to build resources. To continue our ongoing progress against our DEI goals, I am committed to ensuring we have the right resources in place to do the job — such as building out our DEI team and Task Force for these groups to work across our business and deliver on our goals.

We help strengthen our communities. Kohl’s gives back to our communities with investments, resources, talent, and time, and partners with organizations to make a difference in the communities we share. We are also working toward our goal to double spend with diverse suppliers to create more economic empowerment.

Michelle A. Banks  | Kohl's Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

To learn about 3 companies dedicated to DEI all year, check out, 3 Companies Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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