After a week of listening and reflecting I’ve thought long and hard about what I can share with my audience to keep the message of equality among race and gender alive. I think as business owners and entrepreneurs, we have the ability to empower everyone around us. My husband always jokes and says I should go into politics and my response is always the same. I can do more for equality by being a business that empowers people - because there are so few that do.
I cannot speak to the black experience, however, as a WOC I know how it feels to be underrepresented in every aspect of life. It makes you feel unworthy, like you don’t belong, consistently questioning if you’re doing the right thing. It’s also very frustrating seeing aspects of my culture appropriated and then resold to me because now it’s considered cool or beautiful. It is rare to see faces from BIPOC community on panels at conferences, podcasts, advertising, and online marketing. I’ve made a conscious effort to do so with my marketing because I know firsthand the importance of representation. It’s not easy, but then again, nothing beautiful and worthwhile is. Take time, show up and take action every day to create an inclusive business strategy and branding.
Here’s how you can get started today, think about:
What you’re writing. This is something that can so easily be done because it’s not visual. Review the way you write content both on and offline in your marketing. Learn what works and what could potentially come across as offensive. Even if that isn’t your intent. Every time you post ask yourself are you using language that may be considered cultural appropriation and offensive? For example, using words like tribe or guru. Ask yourself am I misrepresenting someone’s narrative?
Images you are using (or not using). Scroll through social, check your website and even look at your blog posts. Are you seeing images from all communities? If not take time to do research on how you can incorporate more inclusive images that are diverse BUT NOT adding to the problem of tokenism. Adjust where you are getting your images from, whether you’re taking them yourself, using subscription styled stock or hiring a photographer. Invest in a photo library that will allow you to showcase POC throughout your marketing.
Who’s speaking? Are you the visionary behind a podcast, a course or an event. Find experts from diverse platforms to come on board. We are out here - you just have to find us and the first step may just be looking. This not only helps you be an ally to BIPOC but also brings a new perspective to the content you’re sharing by amplifying voices that can represent different communities!
These are three very simple steps that you can take to help your business be inclusive in your marketing and help fight the fight against racism by making representation normal. If you’re a BIPOC and have more tips please use this as an open platform and share them with me and I’ll be sure to find a way to help represent you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.