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The Inclusivity Revolution: Lessons from TOKE

The Inclusivity Revolution: Lessons from TOKE

When our team met in person in Miami back in January, we had a goal: to dial in on our brand awareness. We initially recognized the need to create a tool to actively draw people in and highlight The TOKE Agency’s existence. Enter our Brand Archetype Quiz. At first, it was just a spark of an idea. This was new territory for us, completely outside our comfort zone, but girl power. We were ready for the challenge. 

When we got back from Miami, we hit the ground running. Despite being spread across different parts of the country, our team wasted no time diving into the project. We got in touch with the right people, mapped out our questions, and picked engaging images—all while aligning with our brand archetype, the Girl Next Door. We worked hard to create something easy and enjoyable for people to take, and after a month or so, we got it done. Here’s where it got interesting.

We stumbled into a social experiment. Working with some leading cannabis companies, we decided to trial our quiz with them, and luckily, they were on board. Eager to share our quiz with the world, we sent it out to our partners, both men and women, and the feedback we received was surprising. 

The Reaction

In our journey to capture The TOKE Agency’s Girl Next Door archetype, we designed the quiz to mirror our archetype. We carefully chose pictures of women and used language that females would appreciate. It seemed like an obvious choice as we’re women-owned, but it unintentionally narrowed our quiz’s appeal.

Male participants found they couldn’t vibe with the quiz, and the reason was clear: it was geared towards females. It made many male respondents feel disconnected, noting that the content was designed exclusively for women. Their feedback highlighted a significant oversight: while our focus on female identities aligned with our brand’s authenticity, it needed to engage a broader audience.

As women,  we’re used to feeling unrepresented in almost every aspect of our lives. Think about it. Women just earned the right to vote a hundred years ago. It was only in 1974 that women were granted the right to apply for credit cards without their husband’s sign-off or regardless of their marital status. You see, women have been fighting an uphill battle for our entire existence—vying for a place in modern society that was built by men. 

We’re gaining traction, but we’re still paid less than men and have less access to resources. Despite having to claw our way to the top, we’re still rational and understand that representation matters, so we’re not offended by the feedback from our quiz—we turned it into an opportunity to learn more and do better. Men, take note!

Getting in Good With Inclusivity

Don’t get us wrong, we’ve always been on board with inclusivity—but just how important is it? The insights from our Brand Archetype Quiz opened our eyes, dramatically highlighting the powerful effect of genuine representation on brand interactions. And the conversation doesn’t stop at gender. Inclusivity extends across all dimensions of diversity, significantly impacting how consumers from all backgrounds perceive and engage with brands.

Here’s why inclusivity isn’t just good ethics—it’s smart business. According to Numerator, about half of all consumers are more inclined to recommend a brand when its advertising reflects diversity. This effect is even more apparent among younger consumers, with approximately 70% of Gen Z showing increased trust in brands championing diversity in their advertisements. 

Additionally, a significant majority of Black and LGBTQIA+ consumers, 69% and 71%, respectively, vibe more with brands that positively represent their communities. These numbers really groove to the tune of embracing inclusivity, highlighting how it pumps up building a brand that’s not only resilient but also totally relatable.

Groovy Gains: The Tangible Impact of Inclusivity in Marketing

  • Brand Engagement: Brands that showcase diverse and inclusive elements in their marketing strategies see increased engagement and foster a stronger community around their products.
  • Consumer Support: People increasingly align with brands promoting diversity and actively participate in societal change.
  • Marketing Expansion: Expanding inclusivity across all areas, especially in underrepresented segments like disability representation, is essential. Brands embracing this broader inclusivity not only grow a more diverse consumer base but also enhance their overall market reach and impact.

Take a Seat

In marketing, “having a seat at the table” symbolizes jamming with a diverse mix of voices in crafting killer strategies. This means ensuring that campaigns reflect a broad spectrum of voices and that these diverse groups are actively involved in the creative process, making it relatable internally and externally. Such engagement fosters a sense of ownership among consumers and strengthens their bond with the brand.

Inclusive marketing not only amps up creativity but also widens a brand’s appeal. For example, a beauty brand involving people of all races, ages, and body types in its marketing initiatives will likely connect more deeply with a larger audience, boosting customer satisfaction and growing loyalty. 

Take Dove, for example. In 2004, Unilever launched the Dove Real Beauty campaign, a groundbreaking initiative three years in the making. Developed in partnership with three universities and led by Joah Santos with creative production by Ogilvy & Mather, the campaign initially hit the public eye with billboards featuring six curvy women. This bold move immediately sparked public interest, leading to the expansion of the campaign into TV spots showcasing women in their 70s. Within just six months, Dove witnessed a staggering 700% increase in sales, and the campaign quickly became a topic of global conversation, receiving media exposure estimated to be 30 times more valuable than the actual paid media. And it all started with a diverse group moving toward more inclusive marketing.

As you can see, this approach not just polishes a brand’s image but enhances business performance. Research, such as studies from McKinsey, indicates that companies with diverse teams outperform their peers financially, thanks to the richer insights these diverse perspectives provide. By aligning marketing strategies with their audience’s diverse values and needs, brands promote social equity and build robust loyalty and engagement, securing sustainable success.

Getting on Board

So, what did TOKE do? We rose to the challenge. Fired by our discoveries, we’re now laying down the tracks for phase two of our quiz, tuning it to be even more inclusive and groovy for everyone. This isn’t just a tweak—it’s a full-blown revolution, ensuring our vibe truly jives with every part of our target market.

Lessons Learned

  • Representation Matters: Our initial focus inadvertently highlighted the importance of representing all demographics in marketing tools.
  • Feedback is Gold: User feedback provided invaluable insights that have shaped our approach to inclusivity, showing us where we missed the mark.

Next Steps for TOKE

  • Revamp the Quiz: Energized by our findings, we’re now enhancing our quiz to better reflect gender equality and ensure that the content resonates more broadly.
  • Refine the Questions: We’re meticulously reviewing each question to ensure they are universally applicable and do not alienate any part of our audience.
  • Update the Copy: Our copy is getting a makeover to use language that is inclusive and welcoming to all, reinforcing our commitment to diversity and equity.

Want to Rock Inclusivity?

To truly rock your marketing strategies with inclusivity, do what we did. Kick off with some deep-dive audience research. Get to know your crowd—what ticks, what sticks, and what gets them talking—by bringing them into the development vibe from the get-go. 

Keep the groove going with continuous feedback loops; they’re your backstage pass to refining your ideas and tuning up your strategies to keep them fresh. And remember to mirror the mosaic of your market internally. Ensuring your team reflects the rich diversity of your audience deepens insights and amps up the authenticity of your campaigns, making every message hit just the right note.

Let’s TOKE

Come TOKE with us! As a proud women-owned agency, we’re deeply committed to the inclusivity revolution. But the journey doesn’t stop there. The feedback we’ve received has been a game-changer, transforming our quiz and how we engage with diversity. So, we’re inviting you to do the same. Take a look at your message. How inclusive are your practices? Could your strategies be even groovier? Reflect on these questions and join us in the movement towards more inclusive marketing. 

Don’t miss out—sign up for our newsletter to stay connected with the latest and most inclusive version of our Brand Archetype Quiz. Together, let’s ensure our marketing resonates with everyone who encounters it.

Key Takeaways

  • Inclusivity Matters: Our initial focus on female-centric imagery unintentionally limited our quiz’s appeal. This highlighted the crucial need for inclusivity in marketing tools to resonate with a broader audience and ensure no group feels excluded.
  • Feedback is Invaluable: The reactions from male participants who felt disconnected from the content underscored the importance of diverse representation. Listening to and incorporating feedback from all demographics is key to refining marketing strategies and making them truly inclusive.
  • Continuous Improvement: Lit up by our findings, we are actively enhancing our quiz to be more inclusive and relatable for everyone. This involves diversifying the imagery and content and continuously evaluating and adapting our approach based on audience feedback.