In this series, Rebecca Swift, VP Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images, examines the steps brands can take to make their visuals more inclusive.
As businesses grow more transparent, customers are placing increasingly high demands on the brands they buy from, including on how they represent themselves visually.
At Getty Images, our VisualGPS research has found that 72% of global consumers expect brands to support diversity and inclusion, with 80% loyal to brands whose business practices support their own values. These numbers are even higher among the younger generation.
My role as head of the Creative Insights team within Getty Images is to research how visual content is evolving, both in terms of how it is created but also what is represented within moving and still imagery. For the last 20 years, we have been tracking the need for authentic representation in commercial communication. What is clear is that there is a growing demand from both companies and consumers to visualize the world more authentically.
Our own data also shows that the world is shifting and that our customer base is looking for a more inclusive view of people. People have searched for diversity and inclusion themes on our website three times as much in the last two years than ever before. After specific news-related themes such as COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 and the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, we have seen companies searching for and using more inclusive content every year. This is a clear indication that companies are attempting to connect with their audiences in a way that is contemporary and meaningful.
In this series for I by IMD, I will be examining how organizations can build a roadmap for improving inclusion in imagery and video in the future. As a starting point, here are three tips for how to think about making your visual communication more representative.
Break diversity down into different identities
While our own customers do still use search terms such as “diversity” or “inclusive” or “diversity and inclusion”, in 2022 “diversity at work” has been trending for the first time. However, this does not solve the problem of what the visual looks like. For example, who should be featured in the image or video and how to represent “diversity” without showing a large group of people?