STRIVE FOR AUTHENTIC, RELATABLE STORYTELLING.
Tell real stories as much as possible. If you fictionalize, base it in deep user and cultural insight. Your mission is to tell stories that ring true with all users. Authenticity and relatability are key, so lean on insights and testing to help you get it right.
Pursue positive portrayals that directly challenge common preconceptions and stereotypes. As Lorraine puts it, “No more women in the kitchen, please!” Bring diverse perspectives to the table that challenge stereotypes. Then, move beyond stereotypes to authentic, multidimensional portrayals. One of the best ways to do this is to use real footage filmed by everyday people.
THINK BEYOND CASTING.
Casting underrepresented groups isn’t enough. Make sure every aspect of the creative represents their experience. Consider story, setting, music, voiceover, family dynamics, wardrobe, food, product portrayal, etc. And don’t forget about the people behind the camera: the editors, producers, directors, and collaborators. They often make all the difference.
UNDERSTAND YOUR BRAND’S ROLE.
Know the cultural and brand context around those whose stories you’re telling, and make sure the brand can credibly and positively participate in the conversation. Inclusive marketing is a fundamental brand commitment, not a PR opportunity, so the brand shouldn’t be the hero.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE.
Track and audit your work over time to understand where you are making progress and where you may be falling short. Google uses a combination of machine learning and manual reviews to track progress. This approach has uncovered new learnings that continue to shape how our teams think about inclusion. For example, a recent audit showed 23% of the people in our U.S. ads were Black but that we were casting a disproportionate number of interracial couples, mostly light-skinned individuals, and putting people in stereotypical roles, such as dancing and playing music and sports. Having that insight helped us develop a plan to improve going forward.
These guidelines help to frame how all marketers should think about and approach their work.