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We have all heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” However, when it comes to representation in marketing, images may not tell the whole story. 

Many companies neglect to consider diversity in their imagery, preventing them from connecting with potential clients and customers. Because our mission at My Code is to reshape the future of media to ensure authentic representation for everyone, we put together this post to show your brand how to be more inclusive through visual marketing. 

What does diversity in images mean?

If you are lacking diversity in your images, it’s probably not your fault. After all, stock photo libraries typically don’t have a wide selection of images with multicultural models. 

This presents a challenge for brands who want to make their marketing materials accurately reflect today’s culture. Diversity goes beyond race and gender and can include socioeconomic class, age and disability status. Without real diversity in images, advertisers miss the chance to connect with many potential clients and customers. By not providing true representation, brands are also reinforcing a false perception about the world we live in, which can indirectly perpetuate discrimination and other damaging behavior.

How to Choose Images that Reflect Diversity and Inclusion

Choosing the right images that reflect and promote diversity and inclusion is more than just putting as many different kinds of people as possible in your visual marketing. Brands still need to make sure that the people and faces in their campaigns match their audience and are relevant to the actual content of the materials. 

Diverse and inclusive imagery lets your consumers know that your content and products are for them. For example, some online clothing brands hire models of different sizes to showcase their garments. This practice helps potential buyers because they can see how the item appears on a range of body types.

Use Specific Search Terms

While some photo libraries have a good selection of diverse subjects, they may be difficult to surface through standard search results. 

By including keywords like “in a wheelchair” or prefixes like “black” in your search terms, you will likely get a much more specific and accurately diverse photo than when you just run general keywords.

Tap Into Specialized Image Libraries

Several specialized image libraries have recognized the need for more inclusive and diverse images in media and marketing. They’ve aimed to help companies effectively gain access to images not found in standard photo libraries. 

Representation Matters, for example, is the world’s first royalty-free image library focused on diverse pictures for commercial use. In addition, the innovative site Humaaans allows you to mix and match illustrations of diverse people from all walks of life for use in your advertising. Finally, Getty Images has launched a “Helping You Change the Narrative” campaign, where specific photo sets in its collections target diverse audiences ranging from disabled to young people. 

Avoid Stereotypes in Images

Different groups and ethnicities have long histories of being associated with activities or roles with negative characteristics. Be careful to avoid images that reinforce these stereotypes in your brand marketing efforts. 

Instead, use photos that show diverse audiences engaged in the same activities and employed in the same roles as any of the other members of your audience. For example, if your brand is an investment company, make sure your marketing imagery includes women across all demographics engaged in financial planning, as they are controlling an increasing share of total U.S. household financial assets.

Getting Started With Marketing to Diverse Audiences

We know that connecting with multicultural, multigenerational and multilingual audiences can be a challenge for companies. Reach out to My Code to integrate more diverse marketing practices into your next campaign.