How Culturally Relevant Marketing Can Impact Your Brand Through the Lens of Media

Media has long held the ability to shape perceptions, politics, and as a result, our culture. Inclusivity can convey a much-needed understanding of diversity within our communities. If we do not see it, then we are less likely to appreciate it. But how can implementing culturally relevant marketing impact your organization? Let’s explore.

Our world is in a constant state of change. The media’s role is to effectively and honestly depict the world around us. We either evolve with it or regress from it. Honoring and reflecting on what is happening within our culture affords us a broader understanding of both its growth and development. Moreover, it can help depict a successful marketing campaign trajectory.

When organizations follow suit, consumers feel seen, heard and respected. Moreover, they are more likely to have trust in your brand and be loyal to you.  

Historically, long-term clientele has resulted in generational consumers. Once grandparents, parents and their children have made your brand a household name, it’s likely to remain. And that can have a very positive impact on your bottom line. However, younger generations are proving that they expect higher standards for their commitment.

How DE&I Representation Impacts Brand Acceptance

Although Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has gained momentum over the last decade it’s still considered a bit of a conundrum to many. According to a recent study released by the World Economic Forum, While this issue is often hard to define, it is extremely important for businesses to understand the potential impact of DE&I.

New research from the World Economic Forum and Accenture shows that 59% of people who identify with a racial and ethnic minority tend to engage with brands more frequently if they are inclusive of diverse perspectives. Just over half, (51%) of women are more likely to trust brands that represent a diverse range of people.”

In the same study, racial and ethnic minority group participants value diverse representation even more highly: 67% of Black respondents in the US engage with brands more frequently if they are inclusive of diversity. Likewise, in the US, 65% of Asian respondents and 60% of Hispanic respondents say they are more likely to trust brands that represent a diverse range of individuals.

Approximately 48% of ethnic and racial minorities and 38% of all participants would stop using a brand they felt was not representing and being inclusive of different groups in society. Furthermore, 52% of ethnic and racial minorities recommend brands that they feel both represent and are inclusive of different groups.

Younger generations, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, are hyper-aware of the disparity regarding cultural representation. The following quote is one of many included in the article, “The Importance of Representation in Media”. It was taken by a high school student. She responds to the absence of all minorities in various forms of media. And her thoughts are echoed throughout the article by her peers.


“I feel like the groups that really need to be represented in the film, television, and the entertainment industry are minorities such as Black, Asian, Brown, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities. Especially people with disabilities because I hardly ever see them represented in the industry.

- Lemuela, Grade 10


Findings from the Forum study also conveyed that LGBTQ+ audiences struggle to see themselves in media content.

Over half of this community said they would stop using a product or service they deemed to be non-inclusive. 

They believe in buying from and supporting brands that embrace DE&I. Moreover, they will act accordingly.

Audiences are Evolving and Their Expectations are Changing

The World Economic Forum’s Power of Media Taskforce on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Media, identified audience behaviors and sentiment as critical arbiters of progress on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

 They polled over 7,000 individuals in the US, UK and France across ability, age, gender, heritage, race and ethnicity, as well as sexual orientation. In addition, they explored the intersections between these groups. It was an extensive study. Their findings revealed:

  • None of the media outlets fell into the leadership category (necessary score of 75-100)
  • Immense room for improvement
  • Average composite score for all four frameworks was 54.6
  • Film and TV were in the lead with a 58.5
  • Gaming industry score averaged the lowest at 49.1

Ultimately, it was concluded that improving these scores can have a powerfully positive impact. For example, a 10-point increase in the audience representation index makes it 30% more likely that consumers will trust a brand.

Brand confidence often equates to a broader audience base and greater long-term growth. It’s important to note that biases can do more damage to your brand than having a quality product or service can provide.

Participants across all sectors ranked societal impact as the most important when considering brand trust. This includes brand behaviors. In other words, your organization can do everything right, including DE&I campaigns—but if you don’t have representation via employees, including executives, as well as content that depicts underrepresented groups in a positive way, you can expect to lose followers and support. To ensure long-term success and growth, organizations must do more. 

Greater Diversity in Marketing Has Long-term Impact

Diversity in media has led the way for cultural adaptation. Representation in media includes TV, film, the newsroom, digital, and traditional paper. Studies show this also extends to brand messaging and advertising.

Ultimately, the societal impact is one of unification. We can trace the progress in media and apply it accordingly to brands, particularly as media has always fueled marketing.

Moving forward, consumer loyalty will be won, at least in part, by embracing broader cultural representation. This includes both marketing and employment. By implementing diversity representation, corporations and businesses can ensure their brand has a loyal following for generations to come.

To learn more about the latest in marketing, download our free ebook, Public Media Marketing 101. We have some trade secrets you may be interested in!

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