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The Game-Changing Power of Allyship in Marketing: A How-To Guide

As a woman+ working in the advertising industry, you know all too well the importance of diversity and inclusion in marketing. You’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that inclusive and diverse marketing campaigns can have on a brand’s image and bottom line. Think about the positive brand associations that people have with companies like Nike and Dove as a result of their compelling, inclusive marketing strategies. 

In this article, we’ll explore the role of allyship in promoting diversity and inclusion in marketing, as well as provide practical tips on how to be an effective ally. From real-life examples to stats and data, we’ll dive into the world of inclusive marketing and learn why it’s essential for your career and the industry as a whole.

Unleashing the Power of Allyship for Diverse and Inclusive Marketing

As an ally, your role is to support and uplift marginalized voices in the advertising industry. It is not to speak on behalf of these groups; it is to be an active, engaged presence for change. This can mean amplifying the work of colleagues from diverse backgrounds, advocating for more inclusive policies, or educating yourself about the issues faced by underrepresented groups. Here are a few reasons why allyship is crucial in marketing:

It leads to more diverse and inclusive campaigns: When you foster an environment that encourages diversity and inclusion, you’re more likely to create marketing campaigns that seem authentic, unique, and resonate with a broader audience. This can lead to increased brand loyalty and higher customer engagement rates.

It helps to break down stereotypes: By actively promoting diversity and inclusion in marketing, you can help challenge and break down the stereotypes that often plague the industry. In doing so, you’ll contribute to creating a more equitable and representative advertising landscape. 

It drives innovation: Studies show that diverse teams are more innovative and better at problem-solving. As an ally, you can help create an environment that allows for a free exchange of ideas, which can result in groundbreaking marketing campaigns. When you utilize the different creative experiences and skills of team members, advertising becomes an art form, which can significantly improve retention and overall happiness. 

Diversity and Inclusion Wins: Marketing Campaigns That Nailed It

Now that you understand the importance of allyship, let’s take a look at some successful marketing campaigns that have embraced diversity and inclusion.

Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign: Launched in 2004, Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign challenged conventional beauty standards by featuring women of different ages, sizes, and ethnicities. This groundbreaking campaign received widespread praise and helped to change the conversation around beauty in advertising—and the country.

Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” campaign: In 2019, Gillette took a stand against toxic masculinity with their “The Best Men Can Be” campaign. By addressing issues like bullying, harassment, and the #MeToo movement, this campaign encouraged men to be better allies and role models.

Airbnb’s “We Accept” campaign: In response to the global refugee crisis and the rise of xenophobia, Airbnb launched their “We Accept” campaign in 2017. This initiative highlighted the company’s commitment to providing temporary housing for displaced people and promoted a message of acceptance and inclusivity. It also led to hundreds of families opening up their homes to refugees from around the world. 

The Inclusion Advantage: Stats That Prove Its Worth in Marketing

If you need more convincing on the importance of diversity and inclusion in marketing, here are some stats and data that highlight its value:

A survey conducted by Adobe revealed that the perception of a brand’s products or services is influenced by its diversity, or lack thereof, for 62% of the respondents. 

According to a recent Unilever study, progressive (aka inclusive) advertising is 25% more powerful in resonating with consumers, boosts purchase intent by 18%, and enhances a brand’s credibility by 21%.

Research from McKinsey & Company reveals that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

The Allyship Playbook: Tips for Rocking Your Role in Marketing

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of why allyship is important and have seen successful examples of diverse and inclusive marketing campaigns, it’s time to discuss how you can be an effective ally in your day-to-day work. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

Educate yourself: Make an effort to learn about the experiences and challenges faced by marginalized communities. Read books and articles and attend workshops to expand your understanding of different perspectives. This will help you better empathize with your colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds. It will also keep you up to date on the challenges and needs of your potential audience. 

Challenge biases and stereotypes: Be aware of your own biases and work to overcome them. When you notice stereotypes being perpetuated in marketing campaigns or workplace discussions, speak up and address them. Encourage your colleagues to do the same. This is an ongoing, lifelong process that should be approached with self compassion and understanding. 

Amplify marginalized voices: Use your platform to uplift and amplify the work of colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds. Share their achievements, support their ideas, and give them credit where it’s due. Doing so will ensure your colleagues trust you with their time and ideas. 

Advocate for diversity and inclusion: Push for more inclusive hiring practices and policies within your organization. Make the case for the value of diversity and inclusion by sharing stats, data, and real-life examples with your team and management. Education is a powerful form of advocacy. 

Practice active listening: When people from marginalized communities share their experiences or concerns, listen without judgment and validate their feelings. Being an effective ally means acknowledging and respecting the experiences of others, even if they differ from your own. Remember, you don’t have identical experiences to emphasize with someone. 

Collaborate with diverse teams: Seek out opportunities to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds. Embrace the unique perspectives and ideas that come from collaborating with people who have different experiences and viewpoints.

Be open to feedback: Remember that allyship is a journey, and you won’t always get it right. Be open to receiving feedback and learning from your mistakes. Apologize when necessary and commit to doing better in the future with tangible next steps. 

The Future of Marketing: Embracing Allyship for a Brighter Tomorrow

As a woman+ in the advertising industry, you have the power to make a positive impact by promoting diversity and inclusion through allyship. By embracing your role as an ally, you can help create marketing campaigns that truly resonate with a wider audience, break down harmful stereotypes, and foster a more inclusive and innovative industry.

Remember to educate yourself, challenge biases and stereotypes, amplify marginalized voices, advocate for diversity and inclusion, practice active listening, collaborate with diverse teams, and be open to feedback. By doing so, you’ll not only contribute to a more equitable advertising landscape but also enrich your own career and personal growth.

FAQ Bonus Round!

What does allyship actually mean, and why is it important in marketing?

Allyship is about actively supporting and advocating for marginalized communities, both within and outside the workplace. In marketing, being an ally means using your skills, resources, and influence to create a more inclusive industry, challenge biases, and amplify diverse voices. Embracing allyship can lead to more innovative, authentic, and impactful marketing campaigns that resonate with a wider audience.

How can I recognize and address my own unconscious biases in the workplace?

First, educate yourself about unconscious biases and how they can manifest in the workplace. Reflect on your own actions and decisions, and consider whether they may be influenced by biases. Actively seek feedback from colleagues and be open to recognizing your blind spots. Attend workshops or take online courses to further your understanding, and commit to continuous self-improvement.

How can I ensure that marketing campaigns I work on are inclusive and representative of diverse audiences?

Collaborate with diverse teams, research your target audience, and consider the perspectives of different communities when crafting marketing campaigns. Avoid perpetuating stereotypes, and instead, aim to create authentic representations of people from various backgrounds. Seek feedback from diverse colleagues and test your campaigns with different demographics to ensure they resonate positively.

What are some common mistakes allies make and how can they be avoided?

Common mistakes include speaking over marginalized voices, tokenizing individuals, making assumptions, or expecting praise for being an ally. To avoid these pitfalls, practice active listening, uplift and amplify diverse voices, be respectful of others’ experiences, and approach allyship with humility, understanding that it is an ongoing learning process. 

How can I approach conversations about diversity and inclusion with colleagues or managers who may not see its importance?

Approach these conversations with empathy and understanding. Share stats, data, and examples that highlight the benefits of diversity and inclusion in marketing. Be prepared to address common misconceptions and share your own experiences to help illustrate the value of an inclusive workplace. Remember that change takes time, and ongoing conversations will be necessary.

How can I measure the impact of diversity and inclusion initiatives in my organization or marketing campaigns?

Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as employee engagement, retention, and promotion rates, as well as the diversity of your workforce. For marketing campaigns, track metrics like audience engagement, sentiment analysis, and conversion rates to measure the effectiveness of inclusive campaigns. Regularly review and adjust your diversity and inclusion strategies based on the data you collect. And remember, when the data shows that diversity matters, share it with your team to create a positive feedback loop of change.


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