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Diversity & Inclusion in Influencer Marketing

Representation matters! In today’s media environment, there has been a lot of discussion about how content can (and should) reflect a wider range of people. This doesn’t just apply to entertainment like movies and television. Diversity matters in every aspect of life, especially in representing your brand. This doesn’t stop with your paid media advertisements, either; it continues to be important in influencer representations as well.

Choose Diversity
There is a lot to consider when selecting influencers to represent your brand. Does their content mesh with your product, how many followers do they have, do they have strong engagement and do they have the bandwidth to properly showcase your brand? Another facet to consider is diversity. It’s vital that today’s brands lead the charge for inclusivity and diversity.   

A Long Way to Go
With recent scandals, such as the Dote shopping app and Sephora incidents, showing solidarity and ensuring your brand represents a wide variety of people is more important than ever. If you haven’t heard about these incidents, here’s a recap below.

Dote Shopping App – Influencers are used to being given product and sometimes even trips as part of their promotional agreements with a company. Promoting products or experiences through photos and social media posts is how they do their job. This year, Dote took influencers to Coachella, but something wasn’t quite in tune. Influencers of color were separated on another side of the shared house from white influencers. Their side of the home reportedly had fewer amenities and required several influencers to share one bathroom, while the white influencers on the other side of the home had larger rooms with nicer beds, bathrooms and amenities. Additionally, the influencers of color were rarely included in photos and, when they were, their photos were not taken with the same level of direction or care as those of the white influencers.

While Dote did respond and started posting images including people of color and various sizes, followers and shoppers felt that the posts were solely damage control and not a genuine attempt to address the company culture issues underscored on the Coachella trip.

Sephora – The beauty retailer has been struggling to address concerns of racial profiling voiced by Grammy-nominated singer SZA. The artist went to shop at the Calabasas store when an employee called security to investigate if she was preparing to shoplift. Referred to as “Shopping While Black” (SWB), the incident gained quite a bit of attention with SZA posting about her experience on social media. Additionally, comedian Leslie Jones took to social media to voice concern and anger on behalf of her makeup artist, who also experienced racial profiling while shopping at Sephora.

As stories began to pour in, Sephora’s parent company, LVMH, closed all U.S.-based stores for an “inclusivity workshop” in order to address the concerns.   

Diversity Starts With Your Brand
As your brand prepares to undertake the huge task of selecting influencers, ask yourself if they are representing all the people who use your products. Employing a diverse group of influencers that represent a wide range of people will not only provide much-desired diversity, but will also show your customers that your brand is serious about inclusion and supports a culture that welcomes all.

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