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5 Lessons From E-Commerce Brands Prioritizing Inclusive Marketing

Inclusive marketing phone image
Posted In
All Access
Published
May 5, 2021
Written by
Elodie Huston
Elodie is a Senior Content Marketing Strategist on the Content Team. She spends her logged off hours cycling, scouting out soft serve, and yelling about really good books.

Inclusive marketing embraces more personalized experiences and builds brand love.

Consumers no longer think of inclusive marketing as a “nice to have.” We want to see ourselves reflected in the marketing and values of the brands we support. And the brands who are prioritizing more tailored experiences for their customers are gaining and retaining them.

71% of consumers say they prefer to shop from companies that reflect their values. 85% of Millennials think supporting brands whose values align with their own is important. 

Inclusive marketing is no longer a "nice to have"—it needs to be at the core of your marketing messaging and business.

What is inclusive marketing? 

Inclusive marketing considers and reflects the multifaceted identities of a brand’s audience—including ethnicity, gender identity, body type, age, sexual orientation, culture, physical and mental ability, and more. Nobody thinks about their identity as just one thing. Marketing that’s inclusive reflects the way our identities intersect and shape our experiences. 

By celebrating the diversity of your audience and investing in personalizing your marketing efforts, you’ll ultimately deepen your connection and increase your positive impact on the world (win-win!). 

Below are five brands who are telling stories that reflect real-world diversity and creating authentic relationships with their audience. 

ThirdLove: inclusive sizing and imagery

ThirdLove is the first lingerie company to offer half-cup bra sizes for people who don’t fit into standard sizes. The brand bases their sizing on millions of measurements from real women with diverse body types.

thirdlove inclusive marketing website

To help customers find their perfect fit, ThirdLove launched a digital fitting room that recommends styles that will complement and support their unique bodies. 

ThirdLove’s inclusive e-commerce website features photos of models of different body types, ethnicities, and ages on each product page. As shoppers browse styles, they can select the size closest to theirs to see how a bra would look on their own body. 

thirdlove inclusive text messaging

ThirdLove extends this approach to their SMS marketing strategy. The brand uses personalized text messaging to share new collections, offers, and product spotlights with their audience. To ensure their subscribers see themselves reflected in their brand, ThirdLove sends texts with inclusive imagery with models who represent a wide range of body types, ethnicities, and ages. 

Sharing imagery that represents and celebrates the diversity of their audience, ThirdLove is able to make subscribers feel included in their mission of helping consumers feel confident, stylish, and comfortable. 

Girlfriend Collective: celebrating body diversity 

Activewear brand Girlfriend Collective uses their platform to help make a positive social impact—from creating environmentally and ethically sourced products to mobilizing support for movements like Black Lives Matter. The brand also prioritizes inclusivity in their product imagery. They work with models from diverse backgrounds, body types, skin tones, and gender identities to showcase their products. 

Girlfriend Collective’s audience is deeply engaged with the brand’s environmental and social missions. To educate consumers about the impact of their purchase, the brand shares Instagram posts and stories about the ways their products were sustainably crafted and the organizations each purchase supports. Each post features the brand’s inclusive group of models, ensuring every consumer can see themselves represented in their feed. Girlfriend Collective also uses their Instagram to spotlight BIPOC and women founders, entrepreneurs, and activists. These features help the brand’s followers get more involved in causes they care about and make an impact.  

The celebration of inclusivity helps shape Girlfriend Collective’s SMS marketing program, too. They include GIFs showcasing products on different models for subscribers to understand how they could look on them. Girlfriend Collective texts subscribers in their signature empowering voice, positioning themselves as the supportive friend you love to take shopping. 

By communicating 1:1 with subscribers and sending GIFs that are inclusive of their audience’s identities, Girlfriend Collective helps subscribers find items that make them look—and feel—great while making a positive social impact. 

Very Good Light: breaking through the beauty binary

Skincare and beauty publication Very Good Light champions a more inclusive definition of beauty through community and content. Alongside their brand Good Light, the publication moves beyond the gender binary to help everyone feel confident and excited in their own skin. 

very good light livestream

Very Good Light regularly hosts live interviews and forums with celebrities, entrepreneurs, and activists. Each event is hosted on NEWNESS, a beauty livestreaming community, by Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and GLAAD Award-winner David Yi. These livestreams allow the brand to learn alongside their audience, answer questions on topics ranging from beauty to gender, and help the brand and their community push culture forward. 

To help further spread awareness, Good Light texted subscribers inviting them to join their first open forum and ask Yi their questions in a safe space. The direct and instantaneous nature of text messaging meant that Good Light’s subscribers saw the invitation right away and could immediately start watching. 

Revel Nail: taking a sensitive approach to holidays

Nail dip powder brand Revel Nail is committed to supporting families—including the customers that invest their trust in the brand. Founded by two families, Revel Nail is hyper-focused on ensuring their customers are delighted by their experience with the brand. 

revel nail inclusive mother's day email

Revel Nail recognizes that some holidays can be a sensitive time for people. To honor the experiences of consumers who may have strained relationships with their family, are missing loved ones, or who have struggled with infertility, Revel Nail offered the opportunity for their email and text messaging subscribers to opt out of content related to holidays like Mother’s Day. 

revel nail inclusive marketing text message mother's day

The nail care brand personalized their email with subscribers’ names and included a link to easily opt out of holiday-related messages, while SMS subscribers could simply reply “PAUSE” to be added to a segment that would be excluded from Mother’s Day-related text messages. Both the email and text message response let subscribers know that they’d still receive other updates from the brand.

The approach may seem counterintuitive, but it actually strengthens their relationship with their audience, and humanizes their brand.

Buttah Skin: making skincare accessible

Beyonce-endorsed Skincare brand Buttah Skin aims to give melanin-rich skin the attention it deserves so that every person can look in the mirror with confidence and love the skin they’re in. The brand offers a range of face and body-care products crafted for people of color.

Buttah Skin is also passionate about making their products as accessible as possible. Founder Dorión Renaud grew up in a small southern town where access to luxury beauty was rare. Instead, he and countless others relied on products that weren't created specifically for people of color to hydrate dry skin.

The shea butter-based skincare brand is not only focused on creating nourishing products, but ensuring consumers can find and test them at their nearest stores—an important part of helping consumers feel supported and confident in their purchase. The skincare brand has partnered with Macy’s and HSN to help raise brand awareness and make its products more accessible to consumers across the country. Shoppers can now purchase Buttah Skin products at their nearest locations. 

Buttah skin phone mock

Buttah Skin also uses the personal nature of text messaging to further their mission of helping people of color find their perfect skincare routine. The brand regularly sends skincare tips, including seasonal recommendations and how-tos aimed at helping their audience love the skin they’re in. 

Whether getting your subscribers involved in the causes your brand cares about or ensuring they see themselves reflected in your imagery and marketing, inclusivity is no longer an added bonus. It’s further proof that marketing simply can’t be one-size-fits-all. As you’re building out your marketing calendar, think about ways you can tap into and align your brand’s mission and values with your audience’s—and how your campaigns and seasonal touchpoints can be even more personalized.

Interested in how other innovative brands are using personalized text messaging to reach consumers and build loyalty? Browse Texts We Love to discover impactful SMS marketing examples. 

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