A welcome bit of change
By: Jack DeManche, Associate Director of Digital Strategy
Forget the pandemic – in the past year, we have witnessed overdue and historical shifts in awareness and action on social justice, inclusion, and accessibility. As a digital native, I can’t help but believe the internet and social media have been critical agents of the change.
Some brands have used the medium to further the conversation and make genuine connections with their audience.
Bitmoji recently stepped up and transformed the face and facts of inclusion.
Building for Inclusivity
Bitmoij (A Snap company) announced they were taking steps to make their platform more inclusive by introducing new wheelchair animations to their suite of characters.
In a statement made by the Snap team, the group said, “Bitmoji’s mission has always been to create avatars that reflect and represent the diversity of our community. And while we recognize that we have more work to do today, we hope to become one step closer to reaching our greater goal of making inclusivity a fundamental part of our Bitmoji avatar platform. In the first phase of this effort, we’ll be introducing a selection of our most popular Bitmoji stickers… featuring the avatar in a manual wheelchair for Snapchatters and Bitmoji users to choose from.”
Going on further to say, “Over the past year, the Snap team has been in touch with community members (PRECISIONeffect included) to explore opportunities to introduce different personal mobility options to their Bitmoji characters. This is a great first step, and Snap went on to say, “[in] this first round of designs, we gathered… feedback, and worked closely with our disability rights advisor… guiding us in their design, specifically around the manual wheelchair’s details: the arm guard, the footrest, the fabric of the seat, and how the spokes are positioned.”
The thoughtfulness and transparency in this decision-making are aspirational, and we hope that more brands take notice.
So Why Does This Matter?
I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but when brands step up to the plate to foster more diverse and inclusive products and experiences, consumers take notice.
A 2019 study from Google found that 64% of all respondents took some action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive.
We still have a long way to go, and it won’t happen overnight, but small changes, like the ones from Bitmoji, have a considerable impact well beyond just ‘adding a feature.’
As business leaders and marketers, we have a responsibility to work and support these communities. We can deliver on this promise through our business choices, creative executions, and how we make decisions.
Rita Mitjans, ADP’s Chief Diversity, and Social Responsibility Officer, recently said, “Diversity is the ‘what’; inclusion is the ‘how,'” which I think is a very elegant way of approaching this responsibility.
Want More? We Got More!
If you’re interested in reading more about diversity and inclusion, here are some of our favorite reads on the subject:
- Readings for Diversity and Social Justice by Maurianne Adams
- Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji
- Race, Class, & Gender: An Anthology by Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins
- Why do inclusive design? from Cambridge University
What brands and organizations have you noticed taking a proactive step to evolve their diversity and inclusion efforts? Let us know by tagging us on Twitter!