D&I in PR: Why startups should care about inclusive marketing?

D&I in PR

D&I in PR: Should startups care? The short answer is, yes.

With 86% of consumers increasingly discerning about the brands they support, authenticity has become a defining factor in brand loyalty. These consumers look beyond the product and choose to invest in brands that align with their values and beliefs. One way where brands can bring out their authenticity is by showcasing their efforts towards diversity & inclusion (D&I), yet many brands struggle to authentically portray these qualities. All too often, efforts to appear inclusive come across as superficial or ingenuine.

Hence, for startups seeking to carve out their niche in competitive markets, embracing D&I must not be just about ticking boxes, but focus on building credibility and fostering meaningful connections with customers.

In this article, we will dive into why startups should prioritise D&I in PR strategies and provide insights into launching genuine inclusive marketing campaigns that resonate with diverse audiences. In turn, startups can not only enhance their brand reputation but also make a positive impact on society while driving business growth.

Why should startups care about D&I in PR?

Diversity and inclusion are pivotal for startups seeking to establish a strong market presence and build meaningful connections with their audience. As aforementioned, embracing D&I aligns with evolving consumer expectations. Today’s consumers are more conscious of social issues and actively seek out brands that demonstrate inclusivity and authenticity. 

D&I in PR

Additionally, D&I enhances innovation and creativity within the organisation by promoting diverse perspectives and experiences. Startups that practise D&I in PR not only in their offerings but also through their internal brand values also attract and retain top talent, as employees increasingly prioritise working for inclusive organisations. It is not just about compliance, but a strategic imperative to foster innovation and drive business growth.

Consumer trends are encouraging brands to be more inclusive

In Southeast Asia, consumers in this region are increasingly expecting brands to align with their values of diversity and inclusion, to accurately reflect the multicultural and diverse societies in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Southeast Asian startups have recognised this trend and leveraged inclusive marketing strategies to resonate with their audiences effectively.

Take Grab for example. This Malaysian company first launched back in 2012, driven by the goal of making a ride-hailing business a force for good and helping drivers earn a livelihood. It has grown now to be Southeast Asia’s largest startup, with a platform that supports over 70 million SMEs. Recently, Grab Thailand has launched a #WelcomeWomen campaign to encourage women drivers, providing equitable access to finding jobs in more male-dominated roles such as ride-hailing or ride-delivery, with enhanced safety features on the Grab app and a community feature for knowledge exchange.

Singapore-based multicurrency e-wallet YouTrip was also launched in 2018, to focus on eliminating foreign transactions and other “hidden” fees, especially among Southeast Asians travelling within the region. Being consumer-focused, YouTrip serves to target Singapore companies, looking to launch localised marketing strategies to cater for their regional expansions.

The role of D&I in PR and inclusive marketing

Expanding market reach and building brand loyalty

Inclusive marketing enables startups to reach a broader and more diverse audience, tapping into untapped market segments that are often neglected. Inclusive marketing campaigns allow startups to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity that resonates with the larger consumer demographic who increasingly value representation and authenticity. This approach not only attracts new customers from different backgrounds but also fosters long-term brand loyalty among existing customers who appreciate the company’s inclusive approach. 

Enhancing brand reputation and trust

Inclusive marketing contributes to building a positive reputation for startups by showcasing their genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion. When startups authentically represent diverse communities in their PR campaigns, they earn trust and credibility from consumers who perceive them as socially responsible brands. For instance, cosmetic startup Rollover Reaction in Indonesia has gained positive PR traction by promoting inclusive beauty standards through its diverse range of models and influencers. This authenticity not only strengthens the startup’s reputation positively but also encourages favourable word-of-mouth and endorsements from influencers and advocates of diversity.

Tips and tricks on how to execute D&I in PR

Implementing an effective inclusive marketing strategy requires deliberate planning and execution. We’ve gone ahead and listed some key tips for startups looking to embrace inclusivity in their PR efforts:

  • Identify diverse target audiences: Research to understand the diverse demographics and preferences of your target audience. Understand what their values, beliefs and motivations are for staying brand loyal and curate key messages around them.
  • Ensure diversity in visuals and messaging: Incorporate diverse representation in your brand imagery, advertisements, and social media content. This coherence and consistency build a stronger image of trustworthiness.
  • Create inclusive phygital experiences: Design accessible digital platforms and physical spaces that cater to diverse audiences to tap into wider markets beyond the target group.
  • Collaborate with diverse creators and key opinion leaders: Partner with content creators and influencers from various backgrounds to amplify inclusivity in your marketing campaigns.
  • Educate and empower your team: Consistency doesn’t just lie in what the business shows, but also through how it is practised within the company. Foster a culture of inclusivity within your startup by educating and empowering employees to champion D&I initiatives.

D&I in PR is the future

To stay competitive and relevant, startups need to acknowledge the importance of D&I in the overall PR strategy. By adopting inclusive marketing practices, startups can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility while also unlocking opportunities for sustainable growth. 

In particular, Southeast Asian startups can leverage inclusive marketing campaigns to connect more meaningfully with their diverse consumer base in the region. D&I is no longer just a passing trend but rather a must-have that will ultimately define the success of startups in the evolving business environment.

If you are unsure about how to curate impactful inclusive marketing campaigns or are curious to learn about PR’s relevance to the business strategy, drop us an email at hello(a)syncpr.co to find out more.

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