Building an inclusive business is about more than just your brand
Whether this is the very first article you’ve read on the WeddingPro blog or the hundredth, it’s important to us that you know inclusion is a driving force around here and that you see it in everything we do. That’s not because diversity and inclusion has been a part of the national conversation in the past year, rather it is simply that important. And, we’re not the only ones who feel that way. In the coming years, couples across the country will be looking to hire wedding vendors who align with their values and that doesn’t just mean in ways that affect them. Inclusive values are something people expect to see and if you’re not including those values in how you approach marketing your business—you are losing out. But, we know that sometimes figuring out how to get started with something new is the hardest part and we aren’t going to leave you hanging if building a more inclusive business is something you want to do! So, we asked members of our Fellowship for Change Advisory Board for their thoughts and advice to help you take your first (or hundredth) step. Read on for their guidance, inspiration, and marketing tips!
“It always surprises me—how many wedding pros are not paying attention to the great financial opportunity of reaching out to a diverse audience. Because, although the United States is already a very diverse country, 20 years from now we will have no clear racial or ethnic majority. More than half of the population would be people of color (half of them Latinx), and the population of people who identify as multiracial will sharply increase as well. This means that those that do decide to create content and market their businesses to a diverse community can win big.
People of color currently constitute the majority of the population in many states, so it is especially important for wedding pros to know their state’s demographics and to have both a business and a marketing plan that reflects the community they serve.
My advice to start reaching a more diverse audience is to first test your idea and strategize with POC in the industry—from your team and your colleagues to diversity experts, turn to the people who can help you identify and resolve communication issues as well as regional, religious, and cultural differences. Secondly, leverage the authenticity of influencers and publications. Leveraging POC-owned media in your marketing plan is like having a mutual friend introduce you to the group. Besides their reach, minority influencers can help give your brand a more authentic voice and gain the trust of your audience. A friend of theirs is a friend of yours!” – Alejandra Baca of Belle the Magazine
“We are in the business of love. Yes, we love pretty things and we may be skilled organizers. But, at the core of what we do is celebrating love. So with that central principle, we should practice our business with love and open up our hearts to all love—not just love that looks like ours. We need to consider how each and every person, no matter what segment of the community they come from, might feel when they look at our social media feed, our website, our marketing materials spread out at wedding expos or our vendor directory listings. Do they see themselves in the story we’re telling? Can they see how we would treat them based on our current messaging? Our smiling photos in our about section and our avatars are simply not enough to convey inclusivity. If we truly value equality for all, we must work hard at making sure our values—our appreciation of people different than ourselves and an understanding of the difficulties and challenges that underrepresented communities face—are front and center at what we communicate about ourselves. When businesses convey their commitment to diversity and inclusion—and are willing to do the continued, necessary work to progress our industry forward—they send a message to their potential customers that they are a safe and welcoming place for marriers to partner with, be their authentic selves and celebrate their love.”—Kirsten Palladino of Equally Wed + Equally Wed Pro
“Connecting people and businesses is an art form that starts with storytelling. These stories are often sensory based (not always blaring) but always convey a message. This could be a color story that connects with a nostalgic piece of clothing you cherish. It may be a fragrance that reminds you of a moment from your childhood. Regardless of the connection you are making, we are all identifying with businesses and hoping to relate with their storytelling. Now, the question you have to ask yourself is, “What story are you telling?”
As wedding pros, we all have a responsibility to our beloved industry, local wedding markets, and (ultimately) to ourselves to tell stories of radical inclusion. This message will resonate with all clients in the market for your services. When couples see themselves in your marketing, they will be far more likely to consider hiring you.” – Bron Hanboro of The Flower Guy Bron
“When thinking of your marketing, it’s important to consider your local community. If you are looking to diversify your client and creative partner network, think not just about who books you but those with whom you work. Their extended network and audience becomes yours as well. Showcase your brand as a creative that welcomes all and is willing to learn and immerse themselves in different communities and cultures.” Terrica of Cocktails & Details
“Diversity in the wedding industry is paramount for business growth. Couples are paying more attention to the actions and values behind the businesses they are considering buying from or hiring. You can have a ton of followers and create beautiful experiences, but if couples don’t see people who look like them or styles that reflect variation—you miss that opportunity.
How we ensure our business embraces the notion of including people from a range of social and ethnic backgrounds, genders and sexual orientation, is to make sure inclusiveness is included within your business strategy. It’s looking at your team, reviewing the language and pictures used in your marketing materials, and stepping outside of your circle by working with other professionals who could present you with ideas and flavor you never even considered.” – Jasmine Smith
Ready to start marketing your business to a more diverse audience? This article with ways to build a more authentic brand is a great next step!
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