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Opinion by Jennifer Xu - March 3, 2022

Authentic brand activism: The value of diversity and inclusion

As consumers increasingly demand diversity, inclusion, and gender equality from companies, businesses that embody these values can gain a competitive edge. But how can businesses communicate these values in an authentic way and what benefits can they bring to the brand? Jennifer Xu, director, head of marketing at Brighten Home Loans, explores more.

Plenty of research and studies have demonstrated that diversity and inclusion are not just moral imperatives but also smart business decisions that can lead to increased brand loyalty and long-term success. For instance, the MFAA Opportunities for Women 2022 Report found that over 65 per cent of its members believed businesses that support greater diversity and inclusion will have an advantage with customers, team engagement, and referral partners.

Similarly, a 2020 study by Kantar found that 81 per cent of Australian consumers believe it is important for brands to show diversity in their advertising, while a 2019 study by Accenture found that companies with a culture of equality were more likely to have a higher brand value than companies that don’t.

However, in recent years, the term “woke-washing” has emerged to describe companies that use social and political issues to promote their products or services without actually taking substantive action to address those issues. This can have a detrimental effect on a brand’s reputation by creating a dissonance between its stated values and its actual behaviour. Such behaviour erodes trust and trust is essential for building a strong brand and fostering customer loyalty.

This article originally featured in Mortgage Business