posted by Amanda Ciccatelli
Millennials are the most diverse generation in history – only 59% are Caucasian and 27% have an immigrant background (Deloitte, 2015). Therefore, it’s no surprise that this demographic expects brands to embrace and reflect the diversity of their lives – a trend previously highlighted by Stylus Life in our report No normal: Post-diversity marketing. If brands are to do this successfully, they must move beyond crude stereotyping to represent a broad spectrum of race, gender and sexuality.
For instance, Muslim millennials offer growing opportunities for brands – the Muslim consumer lifestyle market is predicted to reach $2.6tn by 2020. The modern yet faith-driven outlook of this group, along with a growing disposable income, will see them buy into brands that reflect or understand their values. Make-up brand CoverGirl is already tapping into this lucrative demographic with its latest brand ambassador –beauty blogger and hijab wearer Nura Afia. One of a growing number of Muslim beauty bloggers, her new role demonstrates the importance and appeal of diverse representation.
Beauty brands are working particularly hard to cater to often forgotten demographics. A new initiative from L’Oreal offers free step-by-step audio tutorials to give visually impaired women more independence. The usability has been carefully considered to fit the needs of this consumer group – the cosmetic and skincare tutorials are concise to fit into everyday habits, while the app’s customisable user interface features a monochrome palette and large text.
Also targeting a currently under-catered market, UnBeweavable Hair is an on-demand hair service specifically for women of colour. On-demand beauty services, which provide a stylist straight to your home or workplace, have been rising in popularity for some time now – yet UnBeweavable Hair is the first tailored to the specific needs of this demographic.
Created by Zina Alfa, it was inspired by her own difficulties in finding hairdressers who understood her needs. Made by a woman of colour for other women of colour, this case study shows that if brands want to provide products and services that appeal to all, they must improve the diversity of their workforce.
Rebecca Minkoff recently highlighted the need for diverse workforces, citing the lack of female employees in technology companies (and STEM fields in general) as a key reason why wearables are not currently capturing female consumers. The fashion designer also mentions examples of having to explain female expectations and behaviours – such as taking jewellery off at night – that were missed by an all-male team.
There’s a popular saying promoting better gender and race representation that suggests ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’ – but this could easily be extended to ‘you cannot create for audiences you don’t represent and understand’. Which is why companies with diverse workforces are more likely to financially outperform those that are not (McKinsey, 2015). So if you want to ensure your products appeal to an increasingly diverse consumer landscape, you’d better start with your job adverts.