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Report: Anti-racist movements influence representations of diversity

New research finds marketers' content and creative asset choices have been impacted by racial protests such as Black Lives Matter

Anti-racist social movements have influenced Australian marketers since Covid arrived in early 2020, according to a report on diversity from Shutterstock. 

DE&I in Marketing: A Global Report found three quarters of local marketers say they consider people’s colour when choosing models and content, and nearly as many say their content decisions in the past year have been influenced by racial protests such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate.  

The report, which surveyed Australian marketers on their work in the past 18 months, found more than a third (37 per cent) were impacted by lockdown travel restrictions hampering their ability to source diverse content.  More than four fifths (81 per cent) expressed a wish they could access more diverse content and that there’s still room for improvement in the way marketing reflects communities. Still more marketers believe it’s important for them to use content created authentically by the same audience they intend to reach with that content. 

More than two thirds (68 per cent) told Shutterstock they believe older people are important in their targeting but only 31 per cent are doing anything about it by using more over-50s as models in the past year. Less than one third (27 per cent) have more often featured people with disabilities last year, up from 13 per cent in 2019. 

Gender equality is important for targeting for nearly three quarters (72 per cent), and 73 per cent agree LGBTQ-plus is also vital. Yet only about one fifth have begun featuring transgender, gender-fluid, non-binary and androgynous models. This is still an increase of 10 per cent from 2019. Content featuring same-sex couples and non-traditional families in campaigns has increased more, from 13 per cent in 2019 to 25 per cent.  

Read more: Multicultural marketing

With an increasingly crowded online marketing  space, marketers aim to create better connection with customers though with better audience representation. Shutterstock country manager A/NZ, Garth Williamson,said relevance is built by reflecting your audience and values. 

 “Key to this are diversity and equity in content,” said Williamson. “When companies look at content, it’s important that they are looking not at stereotypes, but at imagery that feels authentic and resonates with the community.”  

Shutterstock global head of diversity, equity and inclusion, Meeckel Beecher, said the report showed creativity prevailed despite lockdowns.  

“There is no denying the world’s media has paid more attention than ever before to cultural movements and raising awareness,” said Beecher. “However, we wanted to understand to what extent this has been truly mirrored in content choices.” 

The research was conducted by Censuswide among 2723 marketers in the UK, US, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Brazil, Australia and South Korea between 13 April and 27 April 2021.   

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