Diversity Marketing: Definition, Examples & Strategies

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Cheerios advertised with an interracial family. McDonald's tailors its message based on its geographic location. These are just two of the many advertisers embracing diversity marketing strategy, the subject of this lesson.

''The New Us''

When Chevrolet developed its ''Find New Roads'' tagline in 2013, it took its own message to heart. A year later, as the 2014 Winter Olympics were gearing up in Sochi, Russia, Chevrolet took a new approach to its traditional television advertising by pausing to remind viewers that what constitutes a family may have changed, but the meaning behind it has not. To press their message, Chevrolet used images of different types of family units, including gay and interracial couples. The theme of the messaging was ''The New Us,'' which was also chosen to recognize Chevrolet's own new way of thinking.

Chevrolet's Sochi example is just one of what is becoming an almost daily occurrence in marketing and advertising campaigns: the inclusion of different minorities, ethnicities, religions, and philosophies. It is a marketing concept known as diversity marketing, also sometimes called in-culture marketing.

What is Diversity Marketing?

Not so long ago, most companies' marketing involved a prototypical consumer: white, heterosexual, middle-class, white-collar Christians. Fast-forward a few years and the makeup of the consumer market, like the American population, has changed. We are increasingly more diverse, with different beliefs, preferences, and ideals.

Diversity marketing speaks to audiences of all races, ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, and philosophies, among other groups.
diversity marketing

Smart marketers have adapted to be more attentive, with a focus on diversity marketing. Diversity marketing is not so much a strategy as it is a new way of communicating that appeals to, and includes, diverse groups. This may include using different methods or marketing channels to appeal to various groups based on cultural differences, ethnicities, races, genders, religious beliefs, and more. Diversity marketing extends beyond the borders of the United States as well. Marketers who work for McDonald's know that a menu item and message that appeals to the American consumer will not work for the patrons of their restaurants in France or the Middle East, and vice versa.

Diversity Marketing Examples


Coca-Cola succeeds in so many areas of advertising that it's often easy to overlook one of its simplest messages. Its Super Bowl 2017 ad was designed to celebrate the idea that ''together, we are beautiful.'' It featured a cast of diverse individuals singing various lines of the patriotic tune ''America the Beautiful.'' The song, which started in English and included portions sung in Hindi and Arabic, also featured imagery of a gay couple, Latino family, women in traditional Middle Eastern attire, and Jewish men wearing yarmulkes.

Guinness' Wheelchair Basketball

Touching on another group that is often overlooked in traditional advertising, Guinness put the spotlight on individuals who need the assistance of mobility devices. The commercial was styled to look like a group of friends playing wheelchair basketball, only to reveal at the end of the ad that only one of the men actually needed the device. The spot, called ''Friendship,'' ended with the group finishing its game and heading out together for beer.

Diversity Marketing Strategy

Diversity marketing is less about strategizing to make the consumer market accept a one-size-fits-all message, and more about changing the marketing message to fit the group the business is trying to court. But, how does a business go about that?

1. Be genuinely multicultural. It's not enough to create a fast-food ad that simply changes the appearance of the actors hired for a commercial. Brands should be continually seeking talent from a variety of backgrounds that will appeal to multiple audiences. Businesses should also look for opportunities to invest in new communities so that their diversity marketing doesn't appear simply as a money-grab.

2. Understand your diverse audience. Just like all Caucasians don't share similar viewpoints, there are notable differences in other communities, like Hispanics. Avoid the urge to lump all people of Asian descent under the ''Asian'' label, and work to understand the various groups that exist inside of different cultures and ethnicities.

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