Have you ever felt invisible?
Can you remember a time when you wanted to be seen, but it felt like the people you were around either didn’t want to, weren’t equipped to, or couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to see you for who you really are?
It doesn’t feel good.
That feeling is one far too many diverse and niche consumers experience far too often. I’m talking about people who have differences that make them not so neatly fit into what is considered to be “mainstream.”
The challenge for brands is that the number of people who have differences, those who color outside the lines, are growing rapidly. Soon, the “mainstream” will be the minority.
There’s plenty of data to back this up. Here’s some interesting tidbits for the U.S.:
- Gen Z is 25% of the population, and 48% diverse
- The average size of a woman in the U.S. is between 16-18
- The U.S. has the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world
- Less than half of kids under 18 in the US live in what has long been thought of as the “traditional” family, with two heterosexual parents in the home
- 6 Out of 10 households in the US have at least one person who restricts a food from their diet
The customers you serve, especially those who have differences that cause them to be underserved, ignored, and in some cases mistreated, want you to see them.
That’s because business is about belonging.
And increasingly, consumers are engaging in credit card advocacy to make it clear that they will only buy from and engage with the brands that make the effort to see them and make them feel like they belong.
Where things get sticky is that many brands struggle with how to engage with diverse and niche consumers authentically. They have the desire to “see” more of their customers, but fumble with how to send the signals that make them feel like they belong.
Many have the right intentions. But intentions aren’t enough.
You have to actually send the signals along every part of your customer journey that makes diverse and niche consumers feel like they belong with you.
That means you need a team that feels like they belong with you.
You need people on your squad who are relentless about serving your customers. You need empathetic people who understand your customers well beyond a superficial level. You need a diverse team of people who know what to do and are empowered to take the needed action to create remarkable experiences that draw your ideal customers closer to you, rather than pushing them away from you.
Smart companies build a culture that is fertile ground for their teams to thrive in their quest to deliver unforgettable experiences that breed loyal customers.
When you create that type of culture within your business, you position your company to consistently deliver remarkable defining moments that woo all your customers at every touchpoint.
The culture and environment you create internally influences what you do externally.
Get these elements right, and you’ll enjoy the benefits that come along with building a fiercely loyal customer base, that is inclusive of those who have differences.
Struggle with any of these essential ingredients, and you’re likely to find yourself with a leaky bucket, where you invest a ton of your precious resources to get these customers, only to lose them when they don’t come back. No bueno.
My job, and that of those I partner with at Thompson Media Group, is to ensure that you have an inclusive brand that intentionally and consistently sends the right signals to the customers you serve, especially diverse and niche ones, that lets them know that you belong together.
Sonia Thompson + You: A powerful force in helping you win more loyal customers
I’m Sonia Thompson, a customer experience and inclusive marketing strategist and consultant who helps brands win customers by delivering inclusive and remarkable experiences that make them feel like they belong.
Before I started my own business, I spent nine years at Johnson & Johnson, helping grow various healthcare brands around the world. While there, I was a diversity and inclusion champion and employee resource group leader.
I’ve keynoted conferences where I’ve taught tens of thousands of people how to be more inclusive with their marketing. And I’ve worked with brands 1:1 to help them do the same.
Aside from all that on the business front, I’ve also got a number of differences on a personal level, that make me not fit so cleanly into what is considered to be the “mainstream.”
I’m a Black woman, I have a Spanish-speaking Argentine husband, and together we have a mixed-race bi-lingual daughter. I spent a number of years living in Argentina, I follow a gluten-free diet, and I’m left-handed. These aspects of my life have greatly impacted my experiences as a consumer.
And unfortunately, I’ve been frustrated by far too many brands who’ve ignored or underserved me and my unique needs, and ultimately sent me the signal “you don’t belong here.” I know I’m not the only one.
Everyone deserves to have a place where they belong.
I’ve made it my mission to help ensure people find those places, especially at work, and as a consumer.
I’m ready to help you build an inclusive brand.
Ready to prioritize belonging for your brand? Here’s a simple way to get started: