What do you represent?
At 90octane, we often take on projects with lots of images of people. People using products, people working, people living their lives. And many times, we look at different audience personas developed with the goal of closely envisioning a potential customer based on a ton of factors: Age, job title, interests, etc. Though most of the time, we get fully fleshed out personas featuring people of all colors and experiences, other times we get a generic persona meant to stretch across all audiences. That person is usually Caucasian, usually financially stable, and generally without much diversity of outlook and lifestyle.
And that has to change. We here at 90 consult with companies every day and the one thing we will always advocate for is this:
When we handle your campaign, it will feature a diverse group of people from a variety of backgrounds and orientations. Even from a practical perspective, widening your audience can only help your bottom line. But that isn’t the reason we encourage clients to be more diverse in their representation. It’s because it’s the right thing to do. It’s 2022, and it is physically painful to still see companies cater to some, and not all. We all should be driving the work of equality forward.
Because equal representation in all walks of life is essential not just for the people represented, but for everyone. Recently, the animated film “Encanto” came out and children of Latinx families cheered at finally being seen and represented on the big screen.1 Moreover, audiences loved seeing the character of Luisa—muscular and protective—as an embodiment of strength, rather than a fixation on body type ideals. If you can look at these examples and not consider how representation blows open the doors of possibility when it comes to marketing and advertising, you’ve missed a step.
Expressions of equality at the intersection of art and commerce—such as advertising—are critically important. They let your audience know that your product/service/solution is for them. It acknowledges our beautifully changing world and all its differences, rather than staying the course. But at the deepest level, representing a diverse audience in marketing and advertising collateral doesn’t save the world, or end racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, or ageism. But it is an important step in the process of making it clear that your brand is for everyone.
We all want to see and be seen, and to have ourselves truly known. If you can’t commit to giving that respect to a diverse audience, you aren’t just limiting yourself—you’re on the wrong side of history.
“We all want to see and be seen, and to have ourselves truly known. If you can’t commit to giving that respect to a diverse audience, you aren’t just limiting yourself—you’re on the wrong side of history.”