The past year has brought diversity and representation to the forefront of conversations, and consumer’s expectations of brands. But diversity is not just a tick box exercise for your visual identity and campaigns, it’s the acknowledgment of the necessity to represent people from varied social and ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation, body types and more.
But diversity is not just a tick box exercise for your visual identity and campaigns, it’s the acknowledgment of the necessity to represent people from varied social and ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation, body types and more.
Bumble was created as a women-first app to rebalance gender inequality - our initial focus was on better representing women and their experiences. From this, we looked at how we can best represent dating and relationships in a diverse and inclusive way. We take this responsibility seriously as we’re aware that we have a role in how we represent love externally.
As part of MG Empower’s focus on diversity this month, they have invited me to share some of the ways that we look to embed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into our culture at Bumble. I’ll start by acknowledging that no one is perfect - I am still learning - but I hope that in sharing some starters, I might help others think about how they can approach DEI in their marketing work.
Read, listen and look outside your box
Often, without realising, we’re excluding perspectives from our day to day through the social media, news and culture that we engage with. To ensure we have a diversity of thought in our lives, we need to seek out varied perspectives - through social media, publications, books and podcasts that provide us with a wider understanding of what is relevant and important. Some of my favourites right now are Harnaam Kaur, Bimini, Chloe Pierre, Yellowzine, Asian Boss Girl, Growing up with Gal-dem and Millennial Love.
Encourage employee engagement
Build a community that will help inform not only your external efforts but also your
internal education. At Bumble, we have an employee run group called the ‘Diversibees’ designed to share, support and celebrate diversity initiatives. The group is always sharing interesting articles, documentaries and podcasts to broaden people's perspectives. It’s an approachable resource that’s helped people feel more connected with colleagues (particularly over the past year) and increased their awareness around issues they may not have understood before.
Combine data with experiences and expertise
Data can be helpful to guide decision making but it lacks emotion, so we always look to merge data with qualitative experiences from our community, focus groups or experts. For our My Love Is Black Love campaign, it was important for us to understand the historical representation of the Black community in depictions of love and romance. To do this we brought in a cultural historian who ran a session with our team about the representation of Black Love (or lack of) in US and UK history and popular culture which informed our campaign. We now try to use this approach for all of our planning, always looking to bring in outside resources to help guide us to ensure we’re aware of the historical and cultural contexts that sit beyond our own experience.
Create space for better representation
Research for My Love Is Black Love showed that more than half of Black people across the UK did not see themselves represented in images of love in mainstream online spaces. At Bumble, we saw that we could help change that by using our platform to amplify the breadth of Black love in the UK across social and ethnic backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations.
Together with leading British artists, actors, athletes, entrepreneurs and activists, we shared real, unscripted reflections of their experiences of love.
This commitment to better reflecting and representing love continues in how we approach campaigns and social strategies. As you look to plan your marketing, look for opportunities to take an active role in shaping more diverse narratives.
Build your bench with strong partners
Campaigns are not done alone and it’s important that our agency partners not only understand but prioritise DEI in their own work. We select agency partners, such as Metallic Inc, Platform 13 and MG Empower, because their commitment to representation and inclusion mirrors our own. We’ve also created ‘Cultural Panels’ made up of experts, cultural voices and journalists who review our campaigns throughout the creative and production process to make sure we’re hitting the mark.
DEI is a constant conversation
It’s important to be present in diversity conversations all year round, not just when the conversation is topical. One of the key initiatives at Bumble has been to better understand cultural calendars for different communities and think about Black History or Pride not as a defined month but as an ongoing conversation, whether that’s through Bumble success stories, influencer partnerships, conversations we centre or the moments we celebrate.
As we continue these conversations, taking on a learning mindset will allow us to play an active role in making our marketing more reflective of the diversity in real life. I hope that by providing insights into how Bumble is taking action, we can motivate you to do the same.
Collaboration with Alex Buckland, Senior Marketing Manager at Bumble, working on brand and marketing campaigns across the UK and Ireland. She is also an active member of the Global DEI Council for Bumble and a mentor for the Bloom Network.
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